Despite a disappointing finish to the season, New York Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka did receive some support for the 2016 American League Cy Young Award.
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America released the results of the 2016 American League Cy Young Award voting Wednesday night, revealing that Rick Porcello of the Boston Red Sox narrowly beat out the field in one of the closest races in recent memory. Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka received some much-deserved support for the honor, finishing in a tie for seventh place with Aaron Sanchez of the Toronto Blue Jays.
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Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers finished just five points behind Porcello for the award, which the BBWAA notes is the “second closest of any election since ballots permitted voting for more than one pitcher in 1970.” Strangely, Verlander actually received almost double the first place votes that Porcello did (14 vs. 8) but still finished in second place.
Tanaka received three down-ballot votes for the award, one fourth place nod and two fifth place. Amazingly, it was actually his first time receiving any Cy Young support despite clearly being deserving of a vote or two in his first two seasons in the states.
The Yankees ace seemed like a frontrunner for the award this year before missing his final two starts with a forearm strain. One subpar start before being sidelined knocked him out of the lead for the American League ERA title, which all but removed him from serious contention for the CYA.
Still, it’s hard to feel bad about Tanaka’s 2016 campaign. He finished with a 3.07 ERA and 3.51 FIP in a career-high 199.2 innings pitched (31 GS), striking out 20.6% of batters and walking 4.9%. It was easily his best all-around season in the U.S. and really raised hopes that he can put the elbow issues that have plagued him behind.
One more interesting note for Yankees fans is that former closer Andrew Miller did receive a third place vote for his excellent work split between New York and Cleveland. If the voting had taken place after his heroic efforts in the postseason I’m sure he would have received a lot more support.