The Baseball Writers Association of America bestowed Max Scherzer and Corey Kluber with the 2017 Cy Young awards on Wednesday. This is the third of Scherzer’s stellar career, while Kluber picks up his second Cy Young. With the Managers of the Year already announced, the Most Valuable Player awards are the final piece of the offseason awards puzzle. The MVP winners will be announced on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.
As for the Cy Young voting, what felt like some tough decisions actually turned out to be rather one-sided in Kluber and Scherzer’s favor. Kluber received 28 of 30 first place votes in the American League, easily beating out Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox, and Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber finished with 204 points, while Sale, the runner-up, managed 126 votes. Sale actually finished with better numbers and a higher fWAR than Kluber, but his late season struggles allowed Kluber’s consistency to win out. Meanwhile, Justin Verlander’s traditional monster second half was enough to nab him the fifth spot.
Kluber was overcome with emotion at the news.
For his part, Scherzer received 27 of 30 first place votes. He finished with 201 points from the voters. Clayton Kershaw was second with 126 points, while Stephen Strasburg finished third in the voting.
Scherzer joins some really elite company here. After a six year run of dominance, the Nationals’ ace is now one of only 10 pitchers to have won three Cy Young Awards [Ed.: Should be 11, though]. In a National League patrolled by Clayton Kershaw, Scherzer is now the sheriff on the senior circuit.
In the same season, we’ve reached the point where both he and Justin Verlander seem to have tipped their scales into near certain induction into Cooperstown. Hundreds of years from now, scientists will conduct research trying to understand how the 2012-2014 Detroit Tigers couldn’t manage to win a World Series.
Complete list of pitchers who have won 3+ Cy Young Awards:— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) November 16, 2017
Tom Seaver pic.twitter.com/7HF4lo7LEW
Scherzer on why pitchers should go to college
There’s an interesting article on Scherzer by Bill Shaikin at the Los Angeles Times. The Mad One expounds on the virtues of the college schedule over the minor leagues’ version in developing as a pitcher, among other topics. He contends that longer rest allows college pitchers to pitch deep into games and learn to handle a lineup the third time through the order. It’s worth a read, as Scherzer talks about his own development into one of the most durable aces in the game.
Tigers need arms this offseason
The relative silence from the Tigers as the free agent rumors start flying lays bare the team’s current predicament by comparison after so many free-spending, fast-dealing years. While the Stantons, Hosmers and Darvishes of the baseball world light up the internet, the Tigers will play the part of remora to the biggest sharks in the tank. According to general manager Al Avila, you can expect that the the team’s interests will lie in bolstering a badly depleted pitching staff. Let Chris Bosio call his shot, Al.
Trouble in Atlanta
The fallout from improper conduct in the international market seems likely to involve fines and the loss of prospects, according to Ken Rosenthal writing for The Athletic. The Atlanta Braves stand to be hurt pretty substantially if the punishment includes the loss of prize prospects like Kevin Maitan. Stripping those prospects, who will keep their signing bonuses from the Braves and then be free to sign anywhere they choose, will also inject a little chaos into the international free agent market next year.
With the Shohei Otani frenzy primed to begin — but once again delayed — teams who have the most bonus pool money available are going to be well positioned if an extra pair of good prospects are returned to the market.
Around the horn
Eno Sarris at FanGraphs evaluates the surplus value in Giancarlo Stanton’s contract. Jeff Sullivan investigates Aaron Judge’s incredible raw power, and why it’s an outlier to the point of redefining what is possible in hitting a baseball.
Jerry Dipoto was the first GM to pull the trigger on a deal, because of course he was. Matt Snyder breaks down his ballot for NL Manager of the Year. He voted Lovullo. Mike Axisa looked at the ramifications of Mike Trout signing his contract extension several years ago, speculating that he might command $600 million had he hit free agency this offeason.