Justin Verlander has a second AL Cy Young Award — and a clear path paved toward Cooperstown. Verlander beat out teammate Gerrit Cole in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced Wednesday night.
Verlander got 17 first-place votes compared with 13 for Cole, who became a free agent after the season. Verlander is the 21st player to win the award multiple times.
Verlander continued a marvelous second act to his career since a 2017 trade from Detroit to Houston. He led the majors with 21 victories and padded his Hall of Fame resume by getting his 3,000th strikeout in his final start of the regular season. He also reached 300 strikeouts in a season for the first time.
Verlander no-hit Toronto on Sept. 1, becoming the sixth pitcher with three no-hitters in a career. He joined a group that includes Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller and Cy Young, along with 1880s pitcher Larry Corcoran.
The 36-year-old Verlander won his first Cy Young in 2011, when he was also named MVP, and has since been a three-time runner-up.
The case between Verlander and Cole was tight. Cole had more strikeouts (326) and a lower ERA (2.50), but Verlander threw 10 2/3 more innings and won more games. They are the first set of teammates to finish 1-2 in AL voting — it’s happened five times in the NL.
Tampa Bay Rays righty Charlie Morton finished third a year after leaving Houston in free agency.