When he won the NL Cy Young last season, Max Scherzer, who’d won the AL Cy Young in 2013, became one of just six Major League pitchers, along with Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Roy Halladay, to win the award in both leagues.
Just winning two Cy Young awards, period, meant a lot to the Washington Nationals’ right-hander.
“I appreciate the history of the game and all the greats and what they’ve been able to accomplish,” Scherzer said, “... and that really means something to me to be able to be among those [pitchers] because sometimes you pinch yourself like, ‘How the heck did you get here?’ But it just shows you that when you’re on good teams and you have guys behind you supporting you, you can accomplish great things.”
When he won his second NL Cy Young and third career Cy Young tonight, Scherzer put his name on another short list, becoming one of ten pitchers who have won three or more Cy Young awards: Sandy Koufax (3), Jim Palmer (3), Tom Seaver (3), Clayton Kershaw (3), Pedro Martinez (3), Steve Carlton (4), Greg Maddux (4), Randy Johnson (5), and Roger Clemens (7).
Scherzer went (16-6) in 32 starts this past season, posting a 2.51 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 55 walks (2.47 BB/9), 268 Ks (12.02 K/9), and a .177/.247/.319 line against in 200 2⁄3 IP and led all NL pitchers in total Ks, becoming just the fourth pitcher in MLB history to reach 250+ strikeouts in four straight seasons, joining yet another short list that includes just three other pitchers: Randy Johnson (1997 and 2002), Ferguson Jenkins (1968-71), and Pedro Martinez (1997-2000).
As the Baseball Writers’ Association of America noted tonight, Scherzer keeps placing himself in impressive company:
“Scherzer was the sixth NL pitcher to win the award in consecutive seasons. Maddux (1992-95) and Johnson (1999-2002) each won four years in a row. The other back-to-back winners were Koufax (1965-66), Kershaw (2013-14) and Tim Lincecum (2008-09). Successive victories have occurred five times in the AL: twice by Clemens (1986-87; 1997-98) and once each by Palmer (1975-76), Martinez (1999-2000) and Denny McLain (1968-69).”
The Nationals’ ace also led NL pitchers WHIP (0.90), opponents’ batting average (.177), opponents’ OPS (.566), and fWAR (6.0), and Scherzer finished second in the NL in ERA (2.51), K/9 (12.02) and opponents’ OBP (.247).
Scherzer received 27 of 30 first-place votes, with Los Angeles Dodgers’ starter Clayton Kershaw receiving the other three.