As expected, Justin Verlander did not take home the hardware this year despite his stellar season. He finished a close second place, behind former teammate Rick Porcello, who won the American League Cy Young Award.
Verlander actually finished with 14 first-place votes, as opposed to eight for Porcello. But by overall points awarded, Verlander fell just six points shy of winning. He wasn’t even on the ballot for two voters.
Barring the first month of the year, Justin Verlander was the best starter in the American League. But because of injury issues for the last two seasons, the supposition was that his best days were behind him. So, when he became unstoppable, his efforts didn’t garner the attention deserving of a Cy Young. The lack of a playoff appearance didn’t help, either, even if he’s a big reason the team nearly made the postseason.
Verlander’s 2016 season was a Renaissance year, a return to his prime regardless of whether his performance garnered national attention. Since his tweet on May 3 after he got rocked for seven runs on eight hits in five innings, he pitched to the tune of a 2.42 ERA and held opposing batters to a .193 average.
Out of his 28 remaining starts, only four saw Verlander give up more than three runs (earned or otherwise) and two of those were for four runs. The slider was filthy again and his curveball was devastating to hitters. The fastball blew hitters away with speed long thought to be a distant memory.
But as it goes in baseball, traditional stats and the all-important Pitcher Wins trumps all. Logically, Verlander should’ve won based on advanced stats, but in the end it was Porcello and his 22 wins who took home the award.
Despite falling shy of winning what would’ve been the second Cy Young of his career, the fact that Verlander is back on track and one of the best pitchers in the game again is reassuring for fans. Even if rumors of him being traded are popping up.