3. Justin Verlander 2012 Cy Young Award
Winner: David Price
This is a rather fresh wound for some Detroit Tigers fans and rightfully so and in this case, unlike Lolich, wins did matter in this case.
This was the second-closest race in the history of the Cy Young. Ironically enough, the tie involved McLain in 1969 so that is a trivia question to all of your friends that are Detroit Tigers fans. Price received 13 first-place votes and 153 points while Verlander received 12 first-place votes and 149 points.
If you look at the numbers closely, Verlander had the edge in the following:
- K per 9 (9.03 to 8.74)
- FIP (2.94 to 3.05)
- Walks (2.27 to 2.52)
Plus, despite Price’s 20 wins, Verlander did get Detroit to the post-season. I think that’s where we saw the writers look at the wins as important and maybe gave him the advantage. It would deny Verlander a back to back opportunity. Verlander put up an 8.1 bWAR compared to Price’s 6.6.
Even if you are not a Detroit Tigers fan, the data is there. The writers failed to see it that season and Verlander would not win another until 2019. What cracks me up is a lot of the writers said the reason why Price won the award is that he played in the AL East. Ok, you have three teams who won 90 games in the East compared to the AL Central which had the Tigers and White Sox as the only teams over .500. That’s a fair point but just seemed to lack the research of watching Verlander pitch.
Perhaps Price going 3-1 against the 95 win Yankees team perhaps helped his cause but wins as we keep discovering, do not mean as much as they once did. As a fan, just to put in plain English, he got hosed.