After he clinched the American League pitching Triple Crown this regular season, Justin Verlander became a lock to win the 2011 AL Cy Young Award. Yesterday, a unanimous decision confirmed this, as Verlander received all 28 first place votes.
In 2011, Verlander had one of the best seasons as a pitcher in recent history. The right-hander made 34 starts for the Detroit Tigers, compiling 251 innings over that span. Verlander won 24 of those starts while losing only five times last season.
The 28-year-old led the American League with an ERA of 2.40 while maintaining the best WHIP in the majors (0.92). Striking out just under a batter per inning, Verlander finished the season with a BB/9 of 2, giving him an impressive SO/BB ratio of 4.39. Opposing hitters only mustered a .192 batting average and .555 OPS versus Verlander.
Verlander logged four complete games and two shutouts in 2011, including the no-hitter he spun against the Toronto Blue Jays in May.
Verlander becomes the 6th unanimously selected Cy Young winner since 2000, joining Roy Halladay (2010), Jake Peavy (2007), Johan Santana (2004 & 2006) and Pedro Martinez (2000). Clayton Kershaw, the favorite to win the NL Cy Young, also took home his league’s pitching Triple Crown in 2011, so we may have two unanimous Cy decisions this offseason.
Finishing second to Verlander was Angels’ right-hander Jered Weaver. Tampa Bay’s James Shields narrowly beat out Yankees’ lefty C.C. Sabathia for third. Others garnering votes were Detroit’s Jose Valverde, Texas’s C.J. Wilson, LA’s Dan Haren, New York’s Mariano Rivera and David Robertson, Boston’s Josh Beckett, Toronto’s Ricky Romero.
Verlander also took home FanSided’s 2011 Pitcher of the Year award in unanimous fashion. Behind Verlander, our writers selected Weaver and Sabathia as FanSided’s second and third place finishers.