The Houston Astros' Justin Verlander celebrates during a victory parade for the Houston Astros' World Series baseball championship Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Verlander and Alcantara Named Cy Young Award Winners

Justin Verlander and Sandy Alcantara have been named the Cy Young Award winners for the 2022 MLB season. Alcantara took home the trophy for the National League, giving the Miami Marlins their first Cy Young win in franchise history. Meanwhile, Verlander won the American League, marking his third career Cy Young Award. Both pitchers won their respective awards unanimously. This marks the first time both Cy Young Awards were selected unanimously since 1968.

Alcantara led the entire MLB in complete games (six), inning pitched (228.2) and batters faced (886). He finished the 2022 season with a 14-9 record while compiling a 2.28 ERA and 0.980 WHIP. Verlander led the entire league with a 1.75 ERA and 0.829 WHIP. He also led the American League in wins with an 18-4 record over 175 innings pitched. Despite both pitchers putting together elite campaigns, Verlander and Alcantara had two very different trajectories this season.

Verlander’s Rise Back To The Top

Prior to the 2022 season, Verlander had not pitched since July 24, 2020. After winning the 2019 AL Cy Young Award, his 2020 season essentially ended before it even began. Following Verlander’s first start of the season, the Houston Astros shut him down indefinitely due to a forearm strain. While the team initially denied rumors that their ace would miss the rest of the season, Verlander eventually underwent Tommy John surgery the following September. Not only would he miss the rest of the 2020 season, but now he had to sit out all of 2021 as well.

Despite Verlander’s nagging injury concerns and an MLB lockout, the Astros managed to bring Verlander back for another season. He signed a one-year, $25 million deal with Houston on Dec. 13, 2021. The deal ended up working out quite well for both parties. The Astros got another fantastic season from their star pitcher, while Verlander reestablished himself as one of the best players in all of baseball.

In addition to his Cy Young Award, Verlander took home some extra hardware to commemorate his unforgettable 2022 season. The MLB Players Association named Verlander the AL Comeback Player of the Year and the AL Outstanding Pitcher of the Year. To top it all off, he helped lead the Astros to their second World Series title in franchise history. Verlander will now enter free agency after declining a player option on his contract. The veteran ace will generate plenty of interest on the market in the coming months.

Alcantara’s Path To His First Cy Young Award

Turning to the National League, Alcantara had been considered a lock for the NL Cy Young Award for quite some time now. Despite the Marlins’ struggles this season, Alcantara served as a major bright spot for his squad all year long. Only him and fellow starting pitcher Edward Cabrera finished the 2022 campaign with a winning record for Miami.

Alcantara’s success comes as no surprise to Miami fans. He has blossomed into a star for the Marlins since the team traded for him in 2017. In just his second season with Miami, Alcantara received an All-Star nod after compiling a 3.88 ERA over 197.1 innings pitched. He has since established himself as Miami’s go-to ace. On Nov. 28, 2021, the team signed Alcantara to a five-year, $56 million extension to lock down their cornerstone on the mound for the foreseeable future.

The strength and durability of Alcantara’s arm has set him apart from his fellow pitchers. In an era where starting pitchers have spent less and less time on the mound in each of their appearances, Alcantara has remained a dominant force every time he takes the field. He stayed on the mound for at least six innings in 26 of his 32 starts in 2022. Alcantara also put together a complete game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 3. While the Marlins still have plenty of work to do before they become a contender, they can remain assured that Alcantara will continue to put on a show any time he takes the field.

About Jack Meyer

Jack Meyer is a second-year student at the University of Florida. He is majoring in Journalism and specializing in Sports and Media.

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