Justin Verlander wins AL Cy Young unanimously

Detroit Tigers righthander Justin Verlander, who won the Triple Crown of pitching by leading the American League in victories (24), earned run average (2.40) and strikeouts (250), was a unanimous choice for the league’s Cy Young Award.

Verlander, 28, was named first on all 28 ballots cast by two writers in each league city for a perfect score of 196 points, based on a tabulation system that rewards seven points for first place, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth. Verlander also led the AL in winning percentage (.828 based on a 24-5 record), innings pitched (251) and opponents’ batting average (.192). His victory total, which included a no-hitter May 7 at Toronto, was the most in the AL since 1990 when Bob Welch won 27 games for the Oakland Athletics.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim righthander Jered Weaver (18-8, 2.41 ERA, 4 CG, 2 SHO) was the only other pitcher named on each ballot and placed second. Tampa Bay Rays righthander James Shields (16-12, 2.82 ERA, 11 CG, 4 SHO) finished third, followed by New York Yankees lefthander CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00 ERA, 230 K) and Tigers reliever Jose Valverde (2-4, 2.24, 49 SV). In all, 11 pitchers received votes.

It marked the ninth time an AL pitcher was a unanimous choice for the award. Three pitchers were unanimous selections twice – Johan Santana with the Minnesota Twins in 2004 and 2006, Pedro Martinez with the Boston Red Sox in 1999 and 2000 and Roger Clemens with the Red Sox in 1986 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998. The other unanimous winners were the Tigers’ Denny McLain in 1968 and the Yankees’ Ron Guidry in 1978. There have been 13 unanimous Cy Young Award winners in the National League.

This was the fourth time a Detroit pitcher had been honored. Verlander joins McLain, who won in 1968 and tied with the Baltimore Orioles’ Mike Cuellar in 1969, and Guillermo (Willie) Hernandez in 1984.

Verlander is also the first former winner of the AL Rookie of the Year Award to win the Cy Young Award. It has occurred five times in the NL by Don Newcombe, Tom Seaver, Rick Sutcliffe, Fernando Valenzuela and Dwight Gooden. Valenzuela won both awards in the same season, 1981.

The voting:

2011 AL Cy Young

Pitcher, Team1st2nd3rd4th5thPoints
Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers28196
Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels1782197
James Shields, Tampa Bay Rays598366
CC Sabathia, New York Yankees579463
Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers136328
C.J. Wilson, Texas Rangers179
Dan Haren, Los Angeles Angels1127
Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees44
Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox33
Ricky Romero, Toronto Blue Jays12
David Robertson, New York Yankees11