Verlander is the fourth in franchise history to take home the award

​Justin Verlander wins the 2019 AL Cy Young Award

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After a close race with teammate Gerrit Cole, the MLB announced on Wednesday that the winner of the 2019 American League Cy Young Award is Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros. He beat out the two other finalists, Gerrit Cole, who placed second, and Charlie Morton, who finished third. Verlander received 17 first-place votes to Gerrit Cole's 13.

Getting better with age

Verlander had one of the best seasons of his storied career in 2019, posting new bests in strikeouts (300) and WHIP (0.803) en route to a 21-6 record over 34 starts and 223 innings pitched, the most of anyone in the majors. Of qualified starters in the AL, Verlander's 2.58 ERA was second, eight points behind Gerrit Cole, who finished with a 2.50 and fourth-best in the entire league.

He had two complete games over the course of 2019, the first coming on August 21st against his former team, the Detroit Tigers. He would lose that game, allowing two earned runs in a 2-1 loss. Two starts later, Verlander had arguably his signature moment of the year, posting his other complete game, his third career no-hitter in Toronto against the Blue Jays on September 1st in a 2-0 victory.

A year of milestones

Not only was 2019 a successful year in itself for Verlander, but it also boosted his numbers as he continues to climb up the leaderboard of the game's best hurlers, ever. Now at 225 wins, Verlander sits alone at 70th on the all-time list, which will make him the highest active player on the list with CC Sabathia's retirement (Sabathia sits at 251, tied for 47th). In terms of career WAR (Wins Above Replacement), he now sits at 71.4, the highest active player, and ranked number 30 all-time.

Also, Verlander reached strikeout number 3,000 of his career this year, finishing the regular season with 3,006. That moved him to number 18 on the list as he advanced several spots by way of his 300 on the season. Most notably, he passed Cy Young himself, who moves down to number 22 with 2,803 with Verlander passing him and taking over as the top active player on the list with Sabathia's retirement. Sabathia sits 16th with 3,093; a number Verlander will in all likelihood pass next year as he marches up the list.

This is Verlander's second Cy Young, with the first coming in his 2011 MVP season with the Tigers. He's finished second three times, most recently in 2018 behind Blake Snell. He becomes just the fourth player in franchise history to take home the honor, joining Mike Scott in 1986, Roger Clemens in 2004, and Dallas Keuchel in 2015.

With two years left under contract, the Astros will have the benefit of watching the future Hall of Famer continue to accrue awards and accolades and rise up all-time leaderboards. While it didn't happen in 2019, they will also hope to have him be the ace of a World Series-winning rotation again as they did in 2017.

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