MLB Cy Young Award Winners 2011: AL and NL Results, Reaction and Analysis

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MLB Cy Young Award Winners 2011: AL and NL Results, Reaction and Analysis
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The BBWAA has announced the results of the AL Cy Young voting. The NL Cy Young results have now been announced as well.

It should come as no surprise that Justin Verlander was the AL Cy Young Award winner.

Verlander was absolutely dominant this season and he stood out from all of the other candidates by a large margin.

The biggest question surrounding the voting was if Verlander would be the first unanimous winner of the AL Cy Young Award since Johan Santana was a unanimous choice in 2006.

 

American League Results

 

1) Justin Verlander (24-5, 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 250 K): 196 Points

It really should come as no surprise that Verlander was the runaway winner in the 2011 AL Cy Young voting. He won the AL pitching triple crown and also led the American League in WHIP and H/9.

Verlander was undoubtedly the right choice for the award and he was one of the main reasons why the Detroit Tigers reached the playoffs in 2011.

All 28 of the BBWAA writers gave Verlander their first-place vote and he won the award unanimously. He could be in line for the AL MVP award when it is given out.

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2) Jered Weaver (18-8, 2.41 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 198 K): 97 Points

In a different season, Jered Weaver may have had good enough numbers to win the American League Cy Young award.

Weaver finished third in the AL in wins, second in ERA and eighth in strikeouts.

 

3) James Shields (16-12, 2.82 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 225 K): 66 Points

James Shields had 16 wins during the regular season and he was absolutely outstanding.

Shields had the third-lowest ERA, third-most strikeouts and fifth-lowest WHIP in the AL in addition to leading the league in shutouts. It is not surprising that he finished third in the voting.

 

4) CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 230 K): 63 Points

The New York Yankees ace put together an outstanding season in 2011. CC Sabathia finished second in the American League in both wins and strikeouts. He also had the league’s ninth-best ERA.

Leon Halip/Getty Images

 

5) Jose Valverde (2-4, 49 SV, 2.24 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 69 K): 28 Points

Jose Valverde was the best relief pitcher in the American League in 2011, so it should come as no surprise that he received the most points of any reliever in the 2011 AL Cy Young voting. What is surprising is the fact that he received a second-place vote.

 

6) C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 206 K) : 9 Points

C.J. Wilson put together a very strong season in 2011. He finished fourth in the AL in wins, seventh in ERA and sixth in strikeouts. Since the competition was so strong, he only finished sixth in the AL Cy Young voting. Wilson is top free-agent pitcher that is available this winter.

 

7) Dan Haren (16-10, 3.17 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 192 K): 7 Points

The Los Angeles Angels were able to place two starters in the top 10 of the AL Cy Young voting, so it is surprising that they did not make the playoffs. Even though he was overshadowed by his teammate Jered Weaver, Haren got much of the credit he deserved in this voting.

 

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

8) Mariano Rivera (1-2, 44 SV, 1.91 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 60 K): 4 Points

Mariano did not get these votes as recognition of his career achievement and the fact that he became the MLB’s all-time saves leader.

Rivera put together a very good season as the Yankees closer and was the second-best reliever in the AL this year.

 

9) Josh Beckett (13-7, 2.89 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 175 K): 3 Points

Josh Beckett’s win total did not reflect how well he pitched in 2011. He had the fifth-lowest ERA in the AL, but was certainly hurt in this voting by his team’s struggle down the stretch.

 

10) Ricky Romero (15-11, 2.92 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 178 K): 2 Points 

Ricky Romero has developed into one of the best young pitchers in baseball. While pitching in the game’s most difficult division, Romero managed to win 15 games while having the AL’s fifth-lowest ERA.

 

11) Dave Robertson (4-0, 1 SV, 1.08 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 100 K): 1 Point

Dave Robertson was absolutely lights-out in the Yankees bullpen in 2011, however it is impossible to see a setup man winning a Cy Young. The one fifth-place vote should be a nice recognition of his accomplishments.

Charles Sonnenblick/Getty Images

 

National League Results 

The race for the National League Cy Young award was much closer than the race in the American League. Two pitchers from the NL West and a pair of teammates from the Philadelphia Phillies emerged as the best contenders.

1) Clayton Kershaw (21-5, 2.28 ERA, 0.977 WHIP, 248 K):  207 Points

Kershaw won the National League Pitching Triple Crown, so it should come as no surprise that he took home the NL Cy Young award this season.

At just 23 years old, Kershaw is one of the best young pitchers in the game and has an incredibly bright future ahead of him. He is the youngest NL Cy Young winner since Dwight Gooden won the award as a 20 year old in 1985.

 

2) Roy Halladay (19-6, 2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 220 K): 133 Points

Amongst the Philadelphia Phillies four aces, Roy Halladay manages to stand out. He is the top pitcher in the group.

The reigning NL Cy Young award winner was looking for his third career Cy young, but he fell just short after his outstanding year. Halladay finished third in the NL in both wins and strikeouts and had the second lowest ERA in the NL.

Kent Horner/Getty Images

 

3) Cliff Lee (17-8, 2.40 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 238 K): 90 Points 

Coming to the realization that Cliff Lee is the second best starter in a team’s rotation is a very scary thought. Lee would be the ace for almost every other team in the game.

He almost definitely split some votes with his teammate Roy Halladay which hurt both of their chances. Lee trailed only Kershaw in strikeouts and finished behind just Kershaw and Halladay in ERA.

 

4) Ian Kennedy (21-4, 2.88 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 198 K): 76 Points

After struggling to succeed with the New York Yankees, Ian Kennedy was able to find his place with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The righty quickly developed into the ace of the Diamondbacks’ staff and he helped lead them to the playoffs.

Kennedy tied Kershaw for the most wins in the National League and he also had the eighth most strikeouts in the league.

 

5) Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.79 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 194 K): 17 Points

It is very easy to see how Cole Hamels could get lost in the discussion when talking about the Philadelphia Phillies’ starters. While he does not have the win totals of Halladay or Lee, Hamels was outstanding in his own right in 2011.

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Hamels was an All Star and finished in the top ten in ERA, wins, WHIP, innings pitched and strikeouts.

 

6) Tim Lincecum (13-14, 2.74 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 220 K): 7 Points

It is amazing that Tim Lincecum had a losing record in 2011 based on how well he pitched.  Lincecum proved once again that he is one of the best pitchers in the National League and was in the top ten in both wins and ERA.

 

7) Yovani Gallardo (17-10, 3.52 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 207 K): 5 Points

The Milwaukee Brewers brought in some help to take the pressure off of Yavani Gallardo in 2011 and it paid off. Having Zack Greinke in the rotation helped push Gallardo to the next level.

Gallardo finished the year ranked fourth in the NL in wins and fifth in strikeouts.

 

8) Matt Cain (12-11, 2.88 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 179 K): 3 Points

Just like Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain suffered from a lack of run support from the San Francisco Giants’ anemic offense. Cain had the best season of his career and was selected for the NL All-Star team.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

 

T-9) John Axford (2-2, 46 SV, 1.95 ERA, 1,14 WHIP, 86 K): 2 Points

The Milwaukee Brewers always knew that games were in hand when they brought a lead into the ninth inning. John Axford was one of the best closers in the game in 2011.

 

T-9) Craig Kimbrel (4-3, 46 SV, 2.10 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 127 K): 1 Point

Craig Kimbrel’s impressive rookie season has already brought him home some hardware as he won the NL Rookie of the Year award. Kimbrel had a National League leading 46 saves this year.

 

T-11) Madison Bumgarner (13-13, 3.21 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 191 K): 1 Point

Even though he is just 22 years old, Madison Bumgarner has shown that he deserves to be in the majors over the past year and a half. He finished in the top ten of both ERA and K/BB ratio in 2011 and he has a bright future ahead of him.

 

T- 11) Ryan Voelsong (13-7, 2.71 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 139 K): 1 Point

Ryan Vogelsong is the fourth member of the San Francisco Giants’ starting rotation to receive a vote in the 2011 NL Cy Young voting. Vogelsong is one of the best comeback stories in the game as he was able to go to Japan for a few years and then return to the states as a top-tier pitcher.  

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