Justin Verlander claimed his third career Cy Young Award on Wednesday night, as Major League Baseball and the BBWAA announced the voting results. It was unanimous. Verlander, formerly a member of the Houston Astros but currently a free agent, was one of three finalists, alongside Dylan Cease (White Sox) and Alek Manoah (Blue Jays).

Verlander is the 11th pitcher to win at least three Cy Youngs, joining Roger Clemens (seven), Randy Johnson (five), Steve Carlton (four), Greg Maddux (four), Clayton Kershaw (three), Sandy Koufax (three), Pedro Martinez (three), Jim Palmer (three), Tom Seaver (three), and Max Scherzer (three). All except Clemens, Kershaw, and Scherzer are in the Hall of Fame (Kershaw and Scherzer are still active).  

Sandy Alcantara won the NL Cy Young unanimously. This is only the second time the two Cy Youngs were unanimous, joining Denny McLain and Bob Gibson in 1968, the year of the pitcher. Here are the top five voting points totals. For all intents and purposes, the AL Cy Young was a four-man race (full voting results available at the BBWAA’s site):

  1. Justin Verlander, Astros: 210
  2. Dylan Cease, White Sox: 97
  3. Alek Manoah, Blue Jays: 87
  4. Shohei Ohtani, Angels: 82
  5. Framber Valdez, Astros: 14

At age 39, Verlander is the tied with Gaylord Perry (1978) and Early Wynn (1959) as the second oldest pitcher to win a Cy Young. Only Clemens was older. He was 41 when he won the 2004 NL Cy Young, coincidentally also with the Astros.

Verlander started 28 times this season and amassed a 1.75 ERA (220 ERA+) and a 6.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His efforts were worth an estimated 5.9 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference’s calculations. His effort was made all the more impressive by the fact that he had barely pitched since the 2019 season, felled by Tommy John surgery that kept him out for all but one appearance in 2020 and the entire 2021 campaign.

Nevertheless, Verlander was able to post the highest ERA+ of his career. He subsequently won the first World Series game of his career, and come next spring he’ll be rewarded with his second championship ring. 

Cease and Manoah were both in the running for the Cy Young Award for the first time in their respective young careers.

Cease, 26, posted a 2.20 ERA (180 ERA+) and a 2.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 32 starts. He was particularly dominant midseason, going on an 11-start run where he allowed one run or fewer each time out. His season was good for 6.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference.

Manoah, 24, notched a 2.24 ERA (174 ERA+) and a 3.53 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He made the All-Star Game for the first time. Just last fall, he finished eighth in AL Rookie of the Year Award voting, meaning he’s made a quick ascent to this level. He notched 5.9 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference.

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