Published: Thu, November 15, 2018
Sport | By

Luis Severino finishes ninth in the 2018 AL Cy Young voting

Luis Severino finishes ninth in the 2018 AL Cy Young voting

Blake Snell's transformation is complete: From high-potential prospect to one of the baseball's best pitchers.

Blake Snell won 21 games for the Rays during a remarkable breakout season, then got his biggest victory Wednesday night when he was voted the American League Cy Young award victor. Snell also received 11 second-place votes, Verlander received the other 13 first-place votes and another 13 second-place votes.

His 180 2/3 innings are the fewest for a Cy Young-winning starting pitcher in a nonstrike season. Justin Verlander came in second for a record-tying third time with 13 first-place votes, while defending champion Corey Kluber received none. Astros starter Gerrit Cole finished fifth. The 25-year-old left-hander led the league with 21 wins and ranked first in the AL in ERA (1.89), ERA+ (219) and hits per nine innings (5.6).

Context is important too: As the Rays tried the "bullpenning" experiment through 2018, Snell was their go-to rotation ace that they could count on. And it's what made voting for this year's NL Cy Young victor a privilege.

Verlander was just as important to Houston's success as Snell was to Tampa Bay's.

DeGrom finished 10-9 with a major league-best 1.70 ERA and 269 strikeouts in 217 innings.

Kluber, who won the award in 2014 and 2017, had another of his characteristically great years. Verlander also led the AL in strikeouts with 290.

Snell built a strong case with a dominant performance, leading the AL with a 1.89 ERA (third lowest in the DH era), 21 wins (vs. five losses), a.178 opponents average and.554 OPS, a 7.4 WAR per He becomes the second Cy Young victor in Rays history, joining David Price (2012).

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