The Baseball Writers Association of America will hand out the MLB Cy Young awards tonight and along with Corey Kluber and Blake Snell, the Astros' Justin Verlander is a finalist.
Verlander is vying for a second Cy Young award of his career but with the year that both Snell and Kluber had, it will be tough. With that being said, lets make a case for JV to add another award to his resume.
The career of Verlander is nothing short of Hall of Fame worthy especially when it comes to the Cy Young award. In 2011, JV won the Cy Young and the MVP as a member of the Detroit Tigers and since that season, Verlander has two second place finishes and another top five in voting.
At the age of 35, the 2018 season might be one of his best. Verlander compiled a 16-9 record with a 2.52 ERA. Kluber was 20-7/2.89 ERA with Snell 21-5/1.89 ERA. If you base the award off record/ERA, then Snell would be the clear cut winner, right? Not so fast. JV led the league in total strikeouts with 290 which was his career best. He surrendered only 37 walks which leads to a 7.84 strikeout to walk ratio. That ratio is double of Snell and a point above Kluber. When it comes to WHIP (Walks+Hits/Innings Pitched), Verlander lead the league with a mark of 0.90. Snell was 0.97 and Kluber was 0.99, advantage JV. Opponents OBP against him was the lowest in the league at .242 while the other two finalists had OBPs of ten points higher, so again, advantage JV.
For me personally, workload is a big factor when it comes to the Cy Young award and Verlander racked up 214.0 IP. Snell appeared in 180.2 IP and Kluber with 215.0 IP. Although Kluber pitched an inning more than Verlander, the statistics stated above give JV the edge. And to add more, he had a K% of 38.80 and a BB% of 4.40 which was better than Snell at 31.10/8.90 and above Kluber in K% 26.40 but less in BB% of 4.00.
With all of the "pretty stats" like record and ERA, Snell may get the award but when you really dig into statistics that are listed above, the writers should have Justin Verlander as the 2018 AL Cy Young winner.
The award for both leagues will be announced tonight at 5:00pm CT on MLB Network.