That’s the second time the 32-year-old has taken home the hardware, though his prior award came in the American League (in 2013, with the Tigers). Scherzer led the N.L. with 228 1/3 innings, twenty wins, and a 0.968 WHIP. He ended the year with 2.96 ERA with 11.2 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9.
That showing was good enough to beat out Cubs hurlers Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks — who finished second and third, respectively. Scherzer ended up with 25 of the 30 first-place votes, reflecting a strong consensus, but in truth it was a widespread field full of worthwhile contenders. That includes the absurdly dominant Clayton Kershaw, who probably would have run away with the award had he not missed a dozen starts due to injury, and the dearly departed Jose Fernandez, who garnered down-ballot consideration after a dominant season that ended in tragedy.
Porcello’s win came over fellow finalists Justin Verlander of the Tigers and Corey Kluber of the Indians. All were worthy contenders in a year in which nobody put up a truly dominant year. The best A.L. pitchers on a rate basis was reliever Zach Britton, who managed a fourth-place finish despite the innings limitations inherent to his job.
The vote came with its share of controversy. Verlander received 14 of the 30 available first-place votes, but narrowly missed the award when he was left off of two ballots altogether. The 33-year-old threw 227 2/3 innings of 3.04 ERA ball, with 10.0 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9, whereas Porcello racked up 223 frames of 3.15 ERA pitching on the back of 7.6 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9. The difference, perhaps, was that the ultimate victor managed a sparkling 22-4 win-loss record, whereas Verlander carried a less notable 16-and-9 mark.