At 39 years old and in his first season back from Tommy John elbow surgery, Justin Verlander returned to the Houston Astros and completed one of the finest seasons of his career, which earned him his third Cy Young Award.
The right-hander was unanimously voted the 2022 American League Cy Young Award winner Wednesday by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Chicago White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease (14-8, 2.20 ERA) finished second in the voting and Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah (16-7, 2.24 ERA) finished third; both were named on all 30 ballots.and .
Verlander is the 11th pitcher to win three or more Cy Young Awards – also earning the honors in 2011 and 2019. Roger Clemens won a record seven Cy Youngs.
Verlander had pitched just six innings since 2019 but dominated his opponents over 175 innings in 2022. He produced a 1.75 ERA, the lowest by an AL pitcher in a full season since Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez in 2000.
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The future Hall of Famer and nine-time All-Star also led the AL in wins (18), WHIP (0.83), opponent batting average (.186) and hits per nine innings (5.97). In 12 starts following a Houston loss, he went 9-0 with a 1.11 ERA.
Verlander’s 220 adjusted ERA and 0.829 WHIP also ranked best in the majors.
While postseason performances don’t affect regular-season voting, Verlander earned his first career World Series win in Game 5 against the Philadelphia Phillies en route to his second championship.
Verlander, who just completed his 17th season, has said he would like to pitch until he’s 45 and possibly add a few more awards to his trophy case. He’s currently a free agent for the second straight offseason after declining his $25 million player option.