Max Scherzer Wins American League Cy Young Award

Tim KeeneyContributor INovember 13, 2013

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 08:  Max Scherzer #37 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics during Game Four of the American League Division Series at Comerica Park on October 8, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

MLB players recently recognized Max Scherzer as 2013's best pitcher in the American League. On Wednesday, the Baseball Writers Association of America did the same.    

The 29-year-old was named the AL Cy Young Award winner, beating out a couple of worthy finalists in Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers and Hisashi Iwakuma of the Seattle Mariners.

The Tigers had the news:

Despite Scherzer earning the top recognition from the players earlier this month, this was a tough race to decipher in the days leading up to the announcement.

Just take a look at how similar their final numbers were, per FanGraphs:

American League Cy Young Finalists
PlayerWLIPERAWHIPKK/9WAR
Max Scherzer213214.12.900.9724010.086.4
Yu Darvish139209.22.831.0727711.895.0
Hisashi Iwakuma146219.22.661.011857.584.2

Clearly, there's very little separating the trio, and an argument could easily be made for any one of them. You want the most electric of the group? Go with Darvish, who had the best K/9 ratio. 

You want the most steady? Go with Iwakuma, who finished with the most innings, best ERA and top BB/9 and K/BB ratios. 

In the end, though, voters decided to return the award to Detroit and go with Scherzer, who had something to offer for both the old-timey voters and the advanced statistical nerds. 

To appease the former group, Scherzer led the league with 21 wins. It's a stat that probably shouldn't carry as much weight as it should these days, but there's no question some voters still recognize it. 

That being said, Scherzer's resume goes far deeper than a stat partially influenced by his team's gaudy run support. Of the three finalists, he had the best WHIP, FIP (a stat that attempts to measure a pitcher's performance independent of team fielding), HR/9 ratio and WAR. He was also second in innings pitched and K/9 ratio. 

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 08:  Max Scherzer #37 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates the third out in the eighth inning against the Oakland Athletics during Game Four of the American League Division Series at Comerica Park on October 8, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan.
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Serving as the bona fide ace for the American League's third-best team probably didn't hurt his case, either. 

Unlike over in the National League, this was shaping up to be a narrow race all along. But Scherzer's galvanizing and all-around dominant campaign was vital in helping his team make the postseason, and there is very little question he did enough to serve as a worthy recipient of this prestigious honor.