New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom ran away with the voting to repeat as the winner of the National League Cy Young Award, while Houston Astros righty Justin Verlander edged a teammate to win the AL trophy for a second time Wednesday.
DeGrom went 11-8 with a 2.43 ERA in 32 starts, striking out an NL-best 255 in 204 innings.
He earned 29 of 30 first-place votes.
“I said it was a dream to win one, but to win back-to-back, honestly, I’m kind of speechless right now,” he said on MLB Network.
Verlander, 36, previously won in 2011, when he also took home the American League MVP award. He was 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 34 starts this season, striking out 300 for the first time in his career while pitching a major-league high 223 innings.
“It’s truly incredible,” said Verlander, who led the majors in wins.
“You know, 2011 was just a magical season, but I hadn’t really had to grind through much at that point in time. I lot has changed since then personally and professionally, but I think it just makes it that much sweeter.”
For the first time in AL history, teammates finished first and second in the voting, with the Astros’ Gerrit Cole being a close second. Verlander picked up 17 first-place votes and 171 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America, with Cole earning the other 13 first-place nods and 159 points. No other pitcher placed second on any ballot.
DeGrom, 31, is the first Mets pitcher to win in back-to-back seasons and the second in franchise history to win multiple times, joining Tom Seaver (1969, 1973, 1975). He started this season with a 3-6 record, but from that point in early June, he dropped his ERA from 3.45. He went at least seven innings in 19 starts over the season.
“Last year, it was kind of smooth sailing all year,” deGrom said. “But this year, I had to kind of recover from that little rough patch and figure out a way to get it done and go out there and fix some mechanical things.”
DeGrom becomes 11th pitcher to win in consecutive years, the last being Washington’s Max Scherzer in the National League in 2016 and 2017.
Scherzer tied for second in this year’s voting with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who picked up the other first-place vote.
Scherzer’s teammate on the World Series champion Nationals, Stephen Strasburg, tied for fourth with the St. Louis Cardinals’ Jack Flaherty.
Verlander’s season included his third no-hitter — Sept. 1 at Toronto — and his 3,000th career strikeout.
With Wednesday’s winners, there are now 21 pitchers that have won multiple Cy Young Awards.
Verlander finally picked up his second trophy after finishing second in 2012, 2016 and 2018. He had narrow losses to David Price in 2012 and Rick Porcello in 2016.
This time, he came out on top over Cole, who was 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and a major-league-best 326 strikeouts in 212 1/3 innings.
“Having come so close a couple of other times, just everything, all that this means, it’s just such an incredible feeling,” Verlander said.
Charlie Morton of the Tampa Bay Rays was third, followed by the Cleveland Indians’ Shane Bieber and Lance Lynn of the Texas Rangers.
Verlander is the fourth pitcher in Astros’ history to win the award, joining Dallas Keuchel (2015), Roger Clemens (2004) and Mike Scott (1986).
–Field Level Media