The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the three Cy Young finalists in each league on Monday. The Indians’ Corey Kluber, the Tigers’ Justin Verlander, and Rick Porcello of the Red Sox are all finalists in the American League, and the Nationals’ Max Scherzer and the Cubs’ Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks are all finalists in the National League.
Kluber was 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA for the Indians, finishing third in the AL in wins, fourth in ERA, and fifth with 227 strikeouts in his 215 innings. Votes were counted before the postseason, but otherwise Kluber, the 2014 AL Cy Young winner, might have been a shoo-in. The right-hander was 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA in six postseason starts, including three starts on short rest, leading the Indians all the way to Game 7 of the World Series.
Verlander was 16-9 with a 3.04 ERA for the Tigers, leading the AL with 254 strikeouts while finishing second in ERA. Verlander won the 2011 AL Cy Young Award, finished second in 2012, third in 2009, and fifth in 2007.
Porcello led the American League in wins, going 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA for the Red Sox in 2016, finishing fourth in innings pitched (223) and fifth in ERA while striking out a career-best 189 batters. Porcello has never made an All-Star Game, much less received a Cy Young vote in his career, but his league-leading 22 wins might make him the slight favorite.
The biggest surprise of the announcement might be the omission of Zach Britton. The Orioles closer converted all 47 of his save opportunities in 2016, and his 0.54 ERA was the lowest in modern MLB history (1901-present) for any pitcher with at least 50 innings in a season.
Scherzer led the National League in strikeouts (284), innings (228⅓), and wins (20) and finished eighth with a 2.96 ERA. This is his fourth straight season finishing in the top five in his league in Cy Young voting, including winning American League honors in 2013 with the Detroit Tigers.
Hendricks led the major leagues with a 2.13 ERA, going 16-8 in his second full season as a starter for the juggernaut Cubs. Hendricks, 26, struck out 170 and walked 44 in 190 innings in his 31 games, including 30 starts for Chicago.
Lester was 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA in his second season with the Cubs, finishing second in the NL in both wins and ERA. This will be the highest finish in Cy Young voting for the veteran left-hander, who finished fourth on the AL ballot in both 2010 and 2014.
The notable omissions in the NL include the late Jose Fernandez, who finished third among NL pitchers in WAR according to FanGraphs and was the sentimental favorite, and Clayton Kershaw, who actually led the league in WAR despite throwing just 149 innings and not qualifying for the ERA title.
The winners of both the AL and NL Cy Young Awards will be announced on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.