In two hotly contested races, Rick Porcello of the Boston Red Sox and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals took home the American League and National League Cy Young Award on Wednesday. 

Porcello beat out Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers and Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians. Verlander led all AL pitchers with 14 first-place votes, but the Red Sox right-hander had more points by virtue of Verlander being left off two ballots. 

Scherzer overcame stiff competition from Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks of the Chicago Cubs.

Here are the full voting results for the 2016 Cy Young awards, per

MLB GIFs provided the amazing celebration from Scherzer and his family when he was announced as the NL winner:

All six pitchers had a compelling Cy Young case.

In the NL, Hendricks led Major League Baseball with a 2.13 ERA and 188 ERA+ and had the lowest fielding independent ERA (3.20) among the three NL finalists. 

Lester finished second to Hendricks in MLB with a 2.44 ERA, but he also threw 12.1 more innings and had 27 more strikeouts than his Chicago teammate.  

Christopher Kamka of Comcast SportsNet Chicago noted the Cubs’ team ERA was better than all but one pitcher in either league:

Scherzer‘s case turned out to be the strongest among all of the NL finalists. He satisfied the old-school voters with a league-leading 20 wins, 284 strikeouts and 228.1 innings pitched.

Washington’s ace also tickled the fancy for the analytically inclined minds by leading MLB in WHIP (0.968) and the NL in wins above replacement (6.2) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.071). The only negative to Scherzer‘s game this season was allowing 31 homers, five less than the combined total for Lester and Hendricks.

If those stats aren’t enough, MLB Stat of the Day offered another nugget to make Scherzer‘s case:

Per MLB Stat of the Day, Scherzer joins an illustrious list of six pitchers to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues, as he previously won the award in 2013 with the Detroit Tigers:

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Scherzer did something in 2016 only two other pitchers in NL history had done before:

One thing that may have hurt the Cubs duo’s case is the team’s defense.’s Sam Miller wrote after the season how good Chicago was at turning balls in play into outs:

It’s been 34 years since a team converted balls in play at a higher clip than the Cubs, and that was when the league as a whole hit 15 to 20 points lower on balls in play than modern players do. No team since at least 1950 has converted a higher percentage of outs, relative to the rest of the league, than the Cubs just did

That still shouldn’t take away from the brilliance of Lester or Hendricks. It just elevates what Scherzer was able to do with a defense that wasn’t historically awesome. 

After being named the NL Cy Young winner, Scherzer did acknowledge he wants what Lester and Hendricks experienced earlier this month, per Bruce Levine of 670 The Score:

However, Scherzer was excited about what he accomplished in 2016 while also looking ahead to next year.

“In 2017 I want to be a better pitcher…but right now it’s all about celebrating what happened in 2016,” Scherzer said, per MLB Network PR

Scherzer put himself on the list of historic 2016 performances with his May 11 start against the Detroit Tigers, via

Over in the AL, there were legitimate arguments to be made for at least five pitchers who didn’t even make the top-three list, including Chris Sale and Jose Quintana of the Chicago White Sox, Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees and Aaron Sanchez of the Toronto Blue Jays. 

Baltimore Orioles reliever Zach Britton received more first-place votes (five) than Kluber (three), but he finished fourth in the voting because he was left off six ballots. 

The separation between Porcello, Kluber and Verlander was minuscule. Porcello led MLB with 22 wins and a 5.906 strikeout-to-walk ratio. 

Verlander was one of the great rebound stories in MLB this season. He turned things around after a June 26 start against the Indians in which he allowed eight runs in 4.2 innings, raising his season ERA to 4.30. 

After the All-Star break, Detroit’s ace had a 1.96 ERA with a 0.861 WHIP and 134 strikeouts in 110.1 innings. 

In response to a comment from Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun about the lack of a dominant starting pitcher in the AL, Verlander pointed out how great he was in comparison to four of the AL’s top starters in 2016:

Kluber was virtually tied with Verlander in wins above replacement (6.6 to 6.5) and led the league in ERA+ (149), fielding independent ERA (3.26) and shutouts (two). 

Yet Porcello‘s transformation in 2016 after posting a 4.92 ERA last season was one of the great stories in MLB. 

When asked about what changed for Porcello this season, he didn’t have a magic formula to become the Cy Young winner. 

“Basically get back to basics and do simple better, and it worked,” Porcello said, per MLB Network PR

Per Red Sox Notes, Porcello‘s win gives the franchise its seventh Cy Young Award:

Jason Lukehart of Let’s Go Tribe had a humorous note about this year’s Cy Young winners and their previous connection in the AL:

Red Sox Notes also listed a key streak Porcello had during the 2016 season that deserved more attention than it got:

Innings pitched is an underrated factor in the Cy Young equation. The ability to go deep into games, giving your team a chance to win every fifth day and saving the bullpen, is what separates an ace from every other pitcher in the sport.

Britton was brilliant for the Orioles in 2016, but his impact in one-inning stints doesn’t compare to what Porcello and the other AL Cy Young finalists were able to do. 

One year ago, Porcello looked like a total bust for the Red Sox months after signing a long-term extension in April 2015. 

Now, the 27-year-old Porcello is the No. 1 starter on a loaded Red Sox team that will be a playoff contender for years to come with the deepest collection of young position player talent in the American League. 


Stats per unless otherwise noted.

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