Justin Verlander: 2011 Cy Young Winner Will Be Back on Top in 2013

Darin PikeContributor INovember 14, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 24:  Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers reacts after Barry Zito #75 of the San Francisco Giants hit a RBI single to left field in the fourth inning during Game One of the Major League Baseball World Series at AT&T Park on October 24, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The 2012 Cy Young award was appropriately bestowed upon David Price, who received some help from his closer to edge the 2011 winner, Justin Verlander. Price held an advantage in wins and ERA this season and escaped with one of the most narrow margins of victory ever.

Verlander, who also won the American League MVP in 2011, will challenge for the Cy Young in 2013. He led his Detroit Tigers to the World Series in 2012 but came up short there as well. 

Price of the Tampa Bay Rays received 14 of the 28 first-place votes, with 13 going to Verlander. Rays closer Fernando Rodney took the other first-place vote, effectively getting the save for his team's ace. 

The final tally was 153 points to 149. Voters rank pitchers from first through fifth with corresponding points by place (7, 4, 3, 2, 1, respectively). The difference came down to a third-place vote instead of first.

Verlander has shown poise and class, reaching out to Price over Twitter.

@davidprice14 have fun at the dinner man. It's a great time.

— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) November 14, 2012

Price has responded in kind.

Thank you!!! RT @justinverlander: Congrats to @davidprice14 on Cy Young!

— David Price (@DAVIDprice14) November 14, 2012

Jared Weaver was third in voting after coming in behind Verlander in 2011 and placing fifth in 2010. 

At 29 years of age, Verlander's run is likely just beginning. He was third in voting in 2009 and received Cy Young votes in 2006, 2007 and 2010. He was also the American League Rookie of the Year in 2006.

Verlander is contracted with the Tigers for two more seasons at $20 million per year. Detroit recognizes he is in the heart of his career and the team will be competitive enough to keep their ace in the Cy Young race. 

The majors' 2012 leader in strikeouts (239), innings (238.1) and complete games (six) will come back just as strong next season. The Tigers just need to have his back.

Detroit had a drop in runs scored vs. last season (787 to 726) and a lower batting average than in 2011 (.277 to .268). The team scored two runs or fewer in five of Verlander's eight losses in 2012.

Most of the Tigers' offensive strength will return in 2013. A few players on the way out will make room for improvement.

There is also room for Prince Fielder to improve, as his home run and RBI production was down compared to his final season in Milwaukee.

It is doubtful that Verlander is focused on the 2013 Cy Young award, though. His team came up four wins short in 2012 and he is a lot more intent on helping his team overcome those four games than the four points in Cy Young voting.


Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.