Justin Verlander Wins Third AL Cy Young by Unanimity

Justin Verlander was unanimously voted the winner of the American League’s Cy Young Award on Wednesday, capping a brilliant rebounding season that saw him reach all-time highs for the Houston Astros.

Verlander beaten Dylan Quit of the Chicago White Sox and Alec Manoah of the Toronto Blue Jays.

With Miami Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara also winning the NL Cy Young by unanimous decision, this is only the second time that both Cy Young winners have been unanimous. Bob Gibson and Denny McLain also won unanimity in 1968, a year after the award began being given to both leagues.

Verlander’s Cy Young, the third of his career, came after spending most of the past two years recovering from Tommy John surgery. At 39 years and 227 days on the final day of the regular season, Verlander becomes the fourth-oldest Cy Young winner.

Verlander led the AL in wins (18) and led the majors in both ERA (1.75) and WHIP (0.83), facing a deep Astros pitching staff that helped secure a championship.

His ERA was the best by a pitcher who made a minimum of 25 starts in his 39-plus season since earned runs became official in both leagues in 1913. Verlander became the second-oldest pitcher to lead the majors in ERA, topped only by Roger Clemens, 43, in 2005. His 1.75 ERA was the lowest by an AL pitcher in a full season since Pedro Martinez had an ERA of 1.74 in 2000.

Verlander, now a free agent, went at least six innings in 22 of his 28 starts and racked up 175 innings during the regular season, striking out 185 and walking just 29. He followed that up with an up-and-down performance in the playoffs that followed. but overcame a shaky drive to contribute five one-run innings against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 5 of the World Series, a major step to finally winning his second title.

Verlander, who previously won the Cy Young Award in 2011 and 2019, is the 11th player to win it three or more times. The only one of them not in the Hall of Fame despite being eligible is Clemens, notoriously linked to performance-enhancing drugs.

Verlander’s third came in the most unlikely way – towards the end of his career, on the heels of major elbow surgery. He became the second non-rookie to make a minimum of 15 starts and post an ERA below 2.00 despite not pitching in the majors the previous season, according to a study by ESPN Stats & Information . The other was Fred Toney, who had a 1.58 ERA for the 1915 Cincinnati Reds after pitching in the minor leagues the previous year.

Cease went 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA and 227 strikeouts. Manoah went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA, the second-lowest mark in Blue Jays history.

But Verlander was once again at the top of his class.

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