Washington pitcher Max Scherzer won the National League Cy Young Award for the second consecutive season. He becomes the ninth pitcher in MLB history to win that award in back-to-back seasons.
The other eight pitchers: Sandy Koufax (1965-1966), Jim Palmer (1975-1976), Roger Clemens (1986-1987; 1997-1998), Greg Maddux (1992-1995), Randy Johnson (1999-2002), Pedro Martinez (1999-2000), Tim Lincecum (2008-2009), Clayton Kershaw (2013-2014), Max Scherzer (2016-17).
Scherzer also became the 10th starting pitcher to win a Cy Young Award with 16 or fewer regular season wins. Fernando Valenzuela (1981) and Felix Hernandez (2010) each won Cy Young awards with 13 wins, the fewest wins for a starting pitcher to win the honor.
The 10 starting pitchers that won the Cy Young with 16 or fewer wins: Fernando Valenzuela (13 win in 1981), Rick Sutcliffe (16-1984), David Cone (16-1994), Greg Maddux (16-1996), Brandon Webb (16-2006), Tim Lincecum (15-2009), Zack Greinke (16-2009), Felix Hernandez (13-2010), Clayton Kershaw (16-2013), Max Scherzer (16-2017).
Scherzer also became the 10th pitcher in MLB history to win the Cy Young Award three times. Roger Clemens tops this category as a seven-time honoree. The 10 players to win three or more Cy Youngs: Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton, Greg Maddux, Sandy Koufax, Pedro Martinez, Jim Palmer, Tom Seaver, Clayton Kershaw and Scherzer. Of the 10 listed, seven are in the Hall of Fame… Scherzer and Kershaw are still active; Clemens has not been voted in to the Hall.
Stats on Tapp
Congratulations to Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer for winning this year’s Cy Young awards. For Kershaw, it was his second Cy Young honor in three years, while this was Scherzer’s first. Kershaw becomes the 16th pitcher in major league history to win two or more Cy Young awards in his career.
Here’s six stats you might not know about these pitchers and their honors.
1. Of the 16 pitchers who have won multiple Cy Young awards, Kershaw became the fifth pitcher to win his second award before his 25th birthday (he is also the first left-hander to accomplish this feat). The others: Roger Clemens, Tim Lincecum, Denny McLain and Bret Saberhagen.
2. Kershaw became the third pitcher to win multiple Cy Young honors before he had pitched in 200 games in his career. Clemens had 105 games under his belt when he won his second Cy Young in 1987, and Tim Lincecum had only pitched in 90 major league games when he won his second Cy Young Award. Kershaw has pitched in 184 games in his career.
3. Scherzer, who had a 21-3 record, this season became only the third pitcher in MLB history to win 20 or more games and not have a complete game. Scherzer joins Roger Clemens (he had 20 wins with the Yankees in 2001 and no complete games) and Mike Mussina (he won 20 games in 2008 with the Yankees without a complete game).
4. Kershaw had a record of 16-9 in 2013. He became the sixth starting pitcher to win the Cy Young with less than 17 victories (does not include pitchers who won the awards in strike-shortened 1981 and 1994 seasons). The six starting pitchers to win the Cy Young with less than 17 wins in that season:
1984: Rick Sutcliffe, 16-1
2006: Brandon Webb, 16-8
2009: Tim Lincecum, 15-7
2009: Zack Greinke, 16-8
2010: Felix Hernandez, 13-12
2013: Clayton Kershaw, 16-9
5. Kershaw became the 20th pitcher in the history of the Cy Young Award to win the award with an ERA under 2.00. Kershaw now holds the 11th best ERA of all Cy Young Award winners. The ten pitchers in front of Kershaw: Rollie Fingers (1981) 1.02, Bob Gibson (1968) 1.12, Eric Gagne (2003) 1.20, Dwight Gooden 91985) 1.53, Greg Maddux (1994) 1.56, Greg Maddux (1995) 1.63, Dean Chance (1964) 1.65, Sandy Koufax (1966) 1.73, Ron Guidry (1978) 1.74, Pedro Martinez (2000) 1.74.
6. Scherzer became the sixth pitcher in MLB history to win 20 or more games with three or fewer losses. The six pitchers:
1951: Preacher Roe, Brooklyn, 22-3
1978: Ron Guidry, NY Yankees, 25-3
1988: David Cone, NY Mets, 20-3
2001: Roger Clemens, NY Yankees, 20-3
2008: Cliff Lee, Philadelphia, 22-3
2013: Max Scherzer, Detroit, 21-3
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There has been quite a bit of talk and discussion among baseball experts and analysts about the possibility of Detroit’s Justin Verlander winning the American League Most Valuable Player. The Tigers pitcher has a record of 22-5 and an ERA of 2.56 to go with 232 strikeouts as of Sept. 10 for the division-leading Tigers. Whether or not you believe he deserves the honor or if pitchers should even be considered for the honor, past history has shown that the voters have been less than enthusiastic to name a pitcher the MVP.
In the history of the MVP award, 23 pitchers have won the MVP honor; 10 in the National League, 13 in the American League. The last pitcher to win an MVP was Dennis Eckersley in 1992. Bob Gibson is the last NL pitcher to win the MVP; he won the award in 1968.
WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION. Can you name the last NL pitcher to finish in the top 5 for the MVP award? Hint: It was an Atlanta Braves pitcher in the ’90s. Answer at end of blog.
Following is a look at the pitchers this century who have finished in the Top 10 of the MVP voting. As you will see, only one pitcher, Pedro Martinez in 2000, has finished in the top 5 in the past 11 seasons.
Year, pitcher, finish in MVP voting
2010: Roy Halladay-Philadelphia (6th)
2008: Francisco Rodriquez-LA Angels (6th); CC Sabathia-Milwaukee (6th); Brad Lidge-Houston (8th)
2007: Jake Peavy-San Diego (7th)
2006: Johan Santana-Minnesota (7th); Trevor Hoffman-San Diego (10th)
2005: Mariano Rivera-NY Yankees (9th); Chris Carpenter-St. Louis (8th)
2004: Johan Santana-Minnesota (6th); Mariano Rivera-NY Yankees (9th); Roger Clemens-Houston (8th)
2003: Eric Gane-LA Dodgers (6th); Mark Prior-Chicago Cubs (9th)
2002: Randy Johnson-Arizona (7th); John Smoltz-Atlanta (8th); Curt Schilling-Arizona (10th)
2001: Roger Clemens-NY Yankees (8th); Curt Schilling-Arizona (10th)
2000: Pedro Martinez-Boston (5th)
TRIVIA ANSWER: Greg Maddux was the last NL pitcher to finish in the top 5 in the MVP voting. Maddux had a 19-2 record with a 1.63 ERA in 1995.