I was going to start this post by saying I couldn’t remember the last time both Cy Young winners were SO obvious heading into the voting, but I don’t have to say that. Because we know how long it’s been since both the AL Cy Young winner and NL Cy Young winner were unanimously selected: 1968. It’s been a minute.
This year’s winners – Justin Verlander in the AL, Sandy Alcántara in the NL – were simply so much better than everyone else in their league that there wasn’t a question on whether they’d win. The only question was whether they’d be unanimous.
Verlander posted a 1.75 ERA over 175.0 innings (hey, look at that!) in his age 39 return from Tommy John surgery. He was worth 6.1 WAR.
Alcántara posted a 2.28 ERA over 228.2 innings (whoa, they did it again!), and was worth 5.7 WAR.
No down-the-ballot votes for the Cubs, which means Adrian Sampson was ROBBED.
In all seriousness, do you know off-hand who the Cubs’ most valuable pitcher was this year (2.6 WAR)? I hope you do, since it hasn’t been THAT long since the end of the season. It was Justin Steele, who, incidentally was one of only four other starting pitchers whose June-and-after ERA was in the same ballpark as Verlander’s (Steele was at 2.05, Shohei Ohtani was 1.92, Julio Urias was 1.84, Verlander was 1.61, and Dylan Cease was 1.59).
Sampson’s ERA in that June-and-on period was 3.28, if you were curious, sandwiched right between Drew Smyly (3.25) and Marcus Stroman (3.30). The Cubs really did get some great starting pitching after May.