ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- Blake Snell rebounded his way to the biggest pitching award in baseball.
The Baseball Writers Association of America announced Wednesday that the Tampa Bay Rays left-hander won the 2018 American League Cy Young Award, given to the best pitcher in the league.
Snell led the American League in wins with a franchise record 21. He also led the AL in earned run average (1.90) and bWAR (7.5).
Snell was named first on 17 of the 30 ballots.
Houston's Justin Verlander finished second, receiving the remaining 13 first-place votes. Cleveland's Corey Kluber finished third, with Boston's Chris Sale and Verlander's teammate Gerrit Cole finished fifth,
The press release from the Rays is below.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Tampa Bay Rays Communivcations) —The Baseball Writers’ Association of America tonight announced left-handed pitcher Blake Snell as the winner of the 2018 American League Cy Young Award. Snell received 17 first-place votes, 11 second-place votes and two third-place votes for a total of 169 points in the 7-4-3-2-1 scoring system. Right-handed pitcher Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros finished second with 154 points.
Snell, 25, is the second pitcher in Tampa Bay Rays history to win the award, following David Price in 2012—the only Cy Young Award winners to come out of the AL East in the past 15 seasons. Snell went 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA (180.2-IP, 38-ER) and 221 strikeouts over 31 starts last season, leading the AL outright and setting club records in both wins and ERA. He becomes the youngest pitcher to win a Cy Young Award since Clayton Kershaw (25) of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, and the youngest in the AL since Félix Hernández (24) of the Seattle Mariners in 2010.
No AL pitcher has matched Snell’s combination of wins and ERA since Ron Guidry (25 wins, 1.74 ERA) of the New York Yankees in 1978. Since the advent of the designated hitter in 1973, Snell was only the third AL pitcher to record at least 20 wins and a sub-2.00 ERA, along with Guidry in 1978 and Roger Clemens (21 wins, 1.93 ERA) of the Boston Red Sox in 1990. Snell’s 1.89 ERA ranked third in the AL in the DH era, behind Guidry in 1978 and Pedro Martínez (1.74) of the Red Sox in 2000—both unanimous Cy Young Award winners.
Snell was the majors’ youngest 21-game winner since Kershaw in 2011 and the AL’s youngest since Barry Zito of the Oakland Athletics in 2002. In the live ball era (since 1920), only three other pitchers age 25 or younger have matched his combination of wins and a ERA: Dwight Gooden (24 wins, 1.53 ERA) of the New York Mets in 1985, Vida Blue (24 wins, 1.82 ERA) of the Athletics in 1971 and Hal Newhouser (25 wins, 1.81 ERA) of the Detroit Tigers in 1945.
In addition to leading the AL in wins and ERA, Snell led the AL with a .178 opponents’ average, ranked second with a 0.97 WHIP, third with 0.80 home runs per nine innings and fourth with 11.01 strikeouts per nine innings. His .178 opponents’ average was the third-lowest in the AL in the DH era, behind Martínez (.167) in 2000 and Nolan Ryan (.172) of the Texas Rangers in 1991. Furthermore, Snell limited opponents to a .088 average (10-for-114) with runners in scoring position, the lowest for an AL pitcher in the DH era, ahead of Martínez (.133) in 2000.
Twelve of Snell’s 31 starts came against the five AL postseason teams—the Red Sox (4), Yankees (3), Cleveland Indians (2), Astros (2) and Athletics (1). In these 12 starts, he went 9-2 with a 2.00 ERA (72-IP, 16-ER), including eight starts allowing one run or fewer. He made five starts against a former Cy Young Award winner and went 3-0 with a 0.59 ERA (30.2-IP, 2-ER).
Snell yielded two runs or fewer in 27 of his 31 starts, most ever by an AL pitcher in the DH era, ahead of Guidry (26) in 1978. He yielded one run or fewer in 21 starts, most by an AL non-opener in the DH era ahead of Clemens (20) in 1997.
Snell went 10-1 in 14 starts at home with a 1.27 ERA (85-IP, 12-ER)—the lowest home ERA by an AL pitcher since Ryan (1.07) of the California Angels in 1972. He yielded one earned run or fewer in 14 consecutive home starts from September 12, 2017 through August 26, 2018, the longest such streak in the majors since 1913—when earned runs were officially kept in both leagues, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Snell made the AL All-Star Team roster for the first time in his career and was named the AL Pitcher of the Month for both August and September, the youngest pitcher in either league to win back-to-back awards since Johan Santana (July, August, September) of the Minnesota Twins in 2004. He went 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA (26-IP, 3-ER) in five starts in August and 5-0 with a 1.26 ERA (35.2-IP, 5-ER) in six starts in September.
Over parts of three seasons in the majors, all with the Rays, Snell is 32-20 with a 2.95 ERA (399-IP, 131-ER) in 74 games (all starts). Only two pitchers have won the AL Cy Young and appeared in fewer career games than Snell at the time of their award: Clemens (69 games, 68 starts) in 1986 and Blue (57 games, 49 starts) in 1971.
Listen to Blake Snell's reaction to winning the Cy Young Award, and hear from Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder below!