Justin Verlander, as expected (and yet…you never know how these things will go, do you?) won the 2011 American League Cy Young Award.
Yesterday Justin Verlander was announced as the first unanimous AL Cy Young award winner since Johan Santana did the same in 2006, the year Verlander won the AL Rookie of the Year award. Verlander had already won the oddly named Players Choice Player of the Year award on November 3rd, and the unofficial Pitching Triple Crown (leading the league in wins, strikeouts, and ERA). Now he joins Willie Hernandez and Denny McLain in the three-man Tiger Cy Young club.
Jered Weaver finished a distant 2nd in the voting, followed by James Shields (who pulled down half a million for finishing in the top 5) and CC Sabathia. Tiger Jose Valverde finished 5th (with one 2nd place vote). CJ Wilson, Dan Haren, Mariano Rivera, Josh Beckett, Ricky Romero, and David Robertson also received votes.
Some 2011 Verlander statistical highlights:
ERA: .240 (1st)
Wins: 24 (1st)
Win/Loss %: .828 (1st)
Strikeouts: 250 (1st)
WHIP: .920 (1st)
WAR: 8.5 (1st)
Innings: 251 (1st)
Starts: 34 (1st)
Hits/9 inn: 6.2 (1st)
Not to mention a no-hitter.
Unlike with many awards, reaction around Cy-berspace is a big thumbs-up for the vote.
With the Cy Young under his belt, the question now becomes whether Verlander has a shot at the MVP vote, and whether any pitcher should. Don Newcome of the Brooklyn Dodgers won an MVP, a Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year; no one else has won all three before.
So other than a possible MVP vote, what’s next for Justin Verlander? Winning another Cy Young next year, JV tells Michael Rosenberg.
In other awards news, Dave Dombrowski was co-winner of Sporting News’ Executive of the Year Award, sharing the vote with Brewers GM (and former Tiger) Bob Melvin. The award is based on a poll of general managers, assistant general managers, and the like. Dombrowski joins a short list of Tiger GMs to win the award: Jim Campbell, who won in 1968, and good ol’ Walter Briggs, Sr. in 1940. (There is no truth to the rumor that they are planning a Lifetime Achievement Award for Randy Smith).
Dombrowski’s offseason moves (signing Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit), and midseason moves (Doug Fister and Delmon Young) all worked, and it’s hard to think of any serious missteps he made. One other Dombrowski move worth mentioning: signing Justin Verlander to a 5-yr, 80MM contract before the 2010 season. If he hadn’t, Verlander would be a free agent after this season. Anyone want to hazard a guess how much he would cost to sign right now?
And Old Smokey himself, Jim Leyland, finished 2nd to Joe Maddon for the AL Manager of the Year Award, and ahead of Ron Washington, getting 13 first place votes. The NL winner: Kirk Gibson.