The 2018 season is over, and that means the debates for some of Major League Baseball’s prestigious regular-season awards — the Most Valuable Player, the Cy Young, the Rookie of the Year, the Gold Glove, the Silver Slugger, and the Manager of the Year — are happening right now.
In this series, we are going to make cases for those players and managers who are in the running for these awards to come away with the hardware in their respective leagues. We will continue our series by examining the candidates for the American League Cy Young award.
- Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays — This season, Snell not only emerged as the Rays’ ace, but he also showed how good of a chance he has at winning this award and being one of the best starters in the game for years to come. The 25-year-old lefty led the majors with 21 wins (against five losses) and ranked first in the AL in ERA (1.89), ERA+ (219), hits per nine innings (5.6) and win probability added (5.01) while throwing 180 2⁄3 innings during his breakout season for the young Rays. Snell will try to become only the second Rays starter to win the Cy Young along with David Price (2012).
- Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians — Kluber is going for his third Cy Young award and second straight one after having another strong year on the hill for the AL Central champion Indians. The 32-year-old righty led the AL in innings pitched (215) and walks per nine innings (1.4) while going 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 6.3 WAR. Kluber, who is the only Indians pitcher to have won multiple Cy Young awards, will try to become the 11th pitcher in MLB history to win three or more Cy Young honors in a career.
- Justin Verlander, Houston Astros — After leading the Astros to a World Series crown in 2017, Verlander followed that up with a quality 2018 campaign that will hopefully land him his second Cy Young of his 14-year career. The 35-year-old right-hander led the majors in WHIP (0.90) and strikeouts per walk (7.8), and ranked first in the AL in strikeouts (290), WAR (6.8) and starts (34) while posting a 16-9 record with a 2.52 ERA. Verlander, who is a Cy Young finalist for the fifth time in his career, will look to become the 20th pitcher in MLB history to win multiple Cy Young awards in a career.