Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award after dominant season with Rays

Annette Crawford
November 15, 2018

Snell emerged as one of the league's most elite starters despite pitching in the MLB's most contested division.

Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Blake Snell was named the American League Cy Young Award victor Wednesday, culminating a breakout season in his first full year in the majors. Snell also received 11 second-place votes, Verlander received the other 13 first-place votes and another 13 second-place votes. Snell pitched 180 innings. His second-place finish marks the sixth-straight season he has been in the top five in Cy Young voting. He beat Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros by 15 points.

The 25-year-old lefty was 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and led all major league starters with a.178 batting average allowed - the fifth lowest ever for a starter and lowest since Pedro Martinez's record.167 average in 2000.

The AL Cy Young was one of the toughest awards to pick this year, as Snell, Verlander and Kluber each had compelling cases.

Kluber, who won the award in 2014 and 2017, had another of his characteristically great years.

So Snell not only became the victor with the fewest innings as a starter, but also with the third fewest career games (74) among AL pitchers.

Still, Snell's sub-2.00 ERA was the biggest highlight in the bunch. Now he's the second Rays pitcher to win a Cy Young award, following David Price in 2012.

Snell's shortfall, compared to the 215 innings thrown by Kluber and 214 by Verlander, was due primarily to a two-week stint on the DL due to shoulder fatigue coming off his first All-Star Game appearance, plus the Rays' overall protective philosophy of handling young starters and aggressive bullpen usage.

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