MLB Cy Young Award 2012: AL and NL Winners, Voting Results and Analysis
On Wednesday, the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) continued handing out its annual awards.
The latest awards, broadcast live on MLB Network, showcased the winners of the Cy Young Award in the American and National Leagues.
Tampa Bay Rays left-hander David Price claimed the award in the American League in one of the closest votes in history. R.A. Dickey took home the honor in the National League in a decisive vote.
Read on for an in-depth look at the runners-up and how the voting broke down.
American League Cy Young Award: Winner
The vote for the Cy Young Award winner in the American League was expected to be tight between finalists David Price, Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver.
Voters apparently agreed.
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price narrowly came away with the Cy Young, logging just one first-place vote more than runner-up Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers.
Aside from the 1969 American League Cy Young selection that ended in a tie between Mike Cuellar and Denny McLain, it was the closest race in AL history.
National League Cy Young Award: Winner
In the National League, sentiment for New York Mets knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey was high heading into Wednesday's Cy Young Award announcement on MLB Network.
However, Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers were certainly worthy finalists as well.
In the end, 27 of 32 National League ballots showed that R.A. Dickey was deserving of the National League Cy Young Award.
Dickey posted a 20-6 record, 2.73 ERA, a league-leading five complete games and three shutouts, and became the first knuckleball pitcher ever to win the award.
American League Cy Young Award: Voting Results
The results for the American League Cy Young Award certainly showed the BBWAA's fractured opinion on who was worthy of the trophy. The decision came down to a choice between a power right-hander (Justin Verlander), a power left-hander (David Price) and a right-hander with impeccable control (Jered Weaver).
In the end, 14 American League ballots gave David Price the nod. Justin Verlander captured 13 first-place votes as well, finishing just four points behind Price.
Here is the overall breakdown for the three finalists:
Player 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place Total
Price 14 13 1 153
Verlander 13 13 2 149
Weaver 0 2 14 70
Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez picked up five third-place votes, while Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney picked up the final first-place vote for 38 overall points.
National League Cy Young Award: Voting Results
The National League Cy Young Award balloting figured to be a decision among voters deciding between two power left-handers (Gio Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw) and a power knuckleballer (R.A. Dickey).
Voters decided that it was time for a knuckleball pitcher to finally be recognized.
Here is an overall breakdown:
Player 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place Total
Dickey 27 5 0 209
Kershaw 2 11 10 96
Gonzalez 1 12 6 93
Both Johnny Cueto and Craig Kimbrel also picked up one first-place vote and finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
American League Cy Young Award: Reaction on Twitter
As expected, Twitter exploded with reaction and opinions regarding the winner of the American League Cy Young Award.
For some reason, one particular fan decided to blame MLB commissioner Bud Selig for the AL Cy Young Award results:
Another fan wonders if David Price can somehow steal a fellow pitcher's girlfriend with his Cy Young win:
So does David Price take Kate Upton away from Justin Verlander? Is this how it works?— SportsBlogNewYork (@SportsBlogNYC) November 14, 2012
As expected, fans weighed in with their opinions expressing disappointment in Justin Verlander failing to repeat as AL Cy Young Award winner:
For this fan, all that mattered was that someone beat out the guy from Detroit:
Nice to see David Price beat out that Detroit guy! #ALCyYoung— Joe Peters (@JoePa1089) November 14, 2012
National League Cy Young Award: Reaction on Twitter
Baseball fans on Twitter are certainly territorial in voicing their opinions about their favorite hometown stars. However, for the most part, no one was complaining much about the selection of R.A. Dickey as the winner of the National League Cy Young Award.
One fan who is apparently vying to master the knuckleball himself chimed in:
R.A. Dickey is the man and an inspiration to a young aspiring knuckleballer like myself— Andrew Dewey Wright (@DrWhatItDew) November 15, 2012
Another fan discussed Dickey's perseverance and reaping the fruits of his labor:
You gotta feel good for R.A. Dickey winning the NL Cy Young. Dude has been through hell and back and is one of the best people in the MLB.— Sam Caves (@PGHsam) November 15, 2012
The New York Mets may have been unable to achieve anything as a team, but one fan brings up multiple awards for their players:
R.A. Dickey Cy Young award winner congrats. In back to back years we have a batting champ and now a Cy Young winner.— Mike Davis (@mikedavis0301) November 15, 2012
One fan also mentioned this little-known stat:
American League Cy Young Award Winner: Analysis
In voting for the American League Cy Young Award, the BBWAA was unable to give the winner a mandate—David Price won the award in the closest vote in the American League since 1969.
Price's narrow edge over runner-up Justin Verlander was the right choice.
Price made one important decision this season that made him an even more dominant pitcher. He trusted more in his changeup and curveball, developing a four-pitch repertoire along with his 95-mph-plus fastball and hard slider.
The results were obvious—Price was dominant throughout the season, and the use of his curve and changeup allowed him to keep hitters guessing all season long.
Verlander is absolutely dominant. A fastball that increases in velocity in later innings, a terrific curveball and a devastating changeup make up a repertoire that has become one of the most intimidating in the American League.
However, for me, Price's ability to keep his team in just about every game, despite an offense that wasn't altogether supportive, gave him the slight edge.
National League Cy Young Award Winner: Analysis
The BBWAA spoke in a major way regarding its decision as to who was worthy of the National League Cy Young Award.
R.A. Dickey received 27 of 32 first-place votes from NL writers who were obviously convinced that Dickey's knuckleball was the most dominant pitch in the National League this season.
What was truly remarkable about Dickey's performance was his incredible control with a pitch that can seemingly land anywhere and has a mind of its own.
Dickey's 1.053 WHIP was absolutely outstanding, as he walked only 2.1 batters per nine innings.
The knuckleball literally floats on air currents. With no spin at all, it's at the mercy of wind gusts. No knuckleball pitcher can ever accurately predict just where the ball will land.
That, to me, was what was so incredibly impressive about Dickey's season. The fact that he put up a 4.26 K/BB ratio with essentially one pitch that can land anywhere was clearly the deciding factor.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.