Rick Porcello has won the American League Cy Young Award, putting quite the exclamation point on a remarkable turnaround season.
It was a remarkably close vote, with Porcello actually receiving six fewer first-place votes than Justin Verlander. But ultimately the 18 second-place votes he received were enough to carry him past Verlander, who only picked up two.
That’s quite the accomplishment for a pitcher whose four-year, $82.5 million extension was regarded as laughable just one year ago. Porcello pitched to a 3.15 ERA, beating a career-best of 3.43 in 2014, putting up another career best in BB/9 with a remarkably stingy 1.29. He largely retained the boost in strikeouts that had given Red Sox fans some cause for encouragement in a largely lost 2015. He was also the MLB leader in wins with 22.
That’s a fact which likely played heavily into Porcello’s victory for all that the old W is one very beleaguered stat. But lest the narrative take hold that Porcello was given the nod thanks to old-fashioned thinking, it must be noted that those other numbers above make him entirely deserving. The American League Cy Young was a remarkably difficult race to predict this year, with Fangraphs, at least, having Porcello and Verlander both tied just ahead of Corey Kluber in fWAR. Baseball-reference tells a different story, with Verlander holding a dominant lead, jumping through a lot more hoops to reach their numbers, but at the end of the day you’ve got three pitchers who produced remarkably good results and peripherals alike.
It’s the first time that the Red Sox have had a Cy Young winner since Pedro Martinez went back-to-back in 1999 and 2000. And he’ll be here to try to bring another to the team for three years to come. The Red Sox are certainly hoping that David Price will rebound to anchor the rotation the way he was supposed to, but they’ll sleep a lot more comfortably these next 140-odd days knowing that Porcello is there to hold the fort regardless of what happens.