Max Scherzer wins 2013 American League Cy Young award
His teammates acknowledged it.
His former manager rewarded him for it.
His peers endorsed it.
And now those who cover the games have signed off on it, reiterating Max Scherzer’s preeminence among pitchers in the American League, voting him the Detroit Tigers right-hander as the recipient of the 2013 Cy Young award.
Scherzer (203 points) beat out fellow finalists Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma (73) and the Rangers’ Yu Darvish (93) for the award, which was announced Wednesday evening. Scherzer received 28 of the 30 first-place votes, with the other two going to teammate Anibal Sanchez and Chicago’s Chris Sale.
Scherzer was the only pitcher named on all 30 ballots. [Click here for full voting results]
He becomes the fourth different Tigers pitcher to win the award, joining Denny McLain (1968, ’69), Willie Hernandez (1984) and Justin Verlander (2011).
“To get recognized (means) so much, and just validate(s) everything I was able to accomplish this season,” Scherzer said on Wednesday’s show on MLB Network Television, unveiling the award.
It was the most recent winner, and Scherzer’s current teammate, who said what all of the Tigers were thinking, dismissing any controversy there may have been amongst pundits and fans when manager Jim Leyland chose Scherzer to start the first game of the playoffs.
“Max is the best pitcher in the American League, the only reason this is being brought up is what I’ve done over the last couple of years,” said Verlander, who also won the AL MVP award in 2011. “And like I said, Max without a doubt is the best pitcher in the American League, and he absolutely earned this.”
He also earned the start in the All-Star Game from his manager, something no one had a problem with at the time. In fact, the rest of the pitchers in the AL more or less understood the stellar season Scherzer was having, even before he finished 21-3.
“Scherzer, without a doubt,” Sale told MLB.com’s Scott Merkin of his own probable Cy Young preference. “I know a lot of people raise questions just because of the lineup he has behind him. But at the same time, you still have to go out there and pitch well. You look at all his other numbers, strikeouts, walks, innings pitched. All that stuff. He's probably got the best numbers of anybody. ...
“I don’t care who you are pitching against, who you have on your team. You still won 20 games and there’s something to be said for that. All of his numbers match that, so I think he’s the guy. ...
“Shoot, I’ve had three where I gave up eight (runs) this year,” Sale joked with Merkin. “He’s never had that really bad game. He’s just been consistent the whole year.”
The players supported that theory with votes, endorsing Scherzer as the AL Pitcher of the Year in the Players Choice Awards, something which meant as much to Scherzer as anything.
“You know what? The thing that meant most was to get voted by the players. To get the respect, to win the vote for the Players Choice Award means the most,” Scherzer said on MLB Network TV’s “Hot Stove” show last week. “Those are my peers, those are the guys I compete against. So for me, I already feel like I’ve achieved a major recognition by receiving the respect of the players.”
The Tigers were 25-7 in games he started this regular season. By way of comparison, the Tigers were 25-9 in games started by Verlander in his Cy Young and MVP season in 2011.
He led the majors in wins and win percentage.
One of his biggest negatives, though, was that he got more run support than any other starter in baseball, but he was also unbeaten when the Tigers scored three runs or more for him. And he only had seven outings where he allowed more than three runs.
He also led the AL in WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched), opponent’s on-base percentage and OPS (on-base plus slugging), and was second in strikeouts, strikeout rate, hit rate and opponent’s batting average.