Scherzer, 29, emerged as the unexpected ace of the Tigers staff in 2013. While Justin Verlander struggled with consistency all year, Scherzer stepped in and pitched his way to a striking 21-3 record, leading the Tigers to the ALCS for the third consecutive season.
While much has been made of whether his win-loss record really means much, his performance still stands out if you remove it from the equation entirely. The right-hander finished the season with a 2.90 ERA, more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings and 214⅓ innings pitched in 32 starts on the year, all of which are firmly in the top five among AL starters. Scherzer also led the league in WHIP, becoming just the second AL starter since 2006 to accrue a fewer than one walk/hit per inning.
The right-hander received 28 of the 30 possible first-place votes to runner-up Yu Darvish's none, finishing 110 points clear of the Rangers ace. Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma finished in a distant third. He was followed by another Tigers right-hander, Anibal Sanchez, and White Sox lefty Chris Sale, each of whom grabbed a stray first-place vote.
Scherzer is headed into his final year of arbitration this offseason, so the new hardware should help him negotiate a hefty raise. If he can duplicate his Cy Young performance in 2014, he could potentially be one of the most coveted names on the open market next fall.