Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer wins AL Cy Young Award

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Max Scherzer became the second Tiger in three years to claim the AL Cy Young Award on Wednesday, picking up 28 of the 30 first-place votes to easily outdistance the Rangers’ Yu Darvish and Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma.

Darvish was second on 19 ballots to finish as the runner up to Scherzer. Iwakuma was third, getting just six picks for second place. Oddly, the two non-Scherzer first place votes didn’t go to either. Anibal Sanchez got one and finished fourth in the balloting. Chris Sale got the other and finished fifth.

With Miguel Cabrera expected to win his second straight MVP award tomorrow, Tigers players will have claimed five of the last six MVPs and Cy Young Awards handed out by AL voters. Justin Verlander won both MVP and Cy Young in 2011. Before that, the Tigers had been without a winner in either category since Willie Hernandez swept both awards in 1984.

The only non-Tiger to win AL MVP or Cy in the last three years was the Rays’ David Price in 2012.

Scherzer went 21-3, leading the AL in victories by three, to make his selection a no-brainer for a certain portion of the voters. But while the other stats don’t necessarily point to him as the AL’s best pitcher, they don’t clearly point to anyone else either. Scherzer finished fifth in the league in ERA at 2.90, but he did that it a hitter’s park with a poor defense behind him. He was also first in WHIP and second to Darvish in strikeouts. Fangraphs WAR had Scherzer as the AL’s top pitcher, while Baseball-reference WAR had Iwakuma first.

Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston

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David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.

Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.

In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.

Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”

MIAMI - MARCH 14:  Venezuela fans cheer with a country flag while taking on the Netherlands during round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at Dolphin Stadium on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.

The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:

“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”

As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.

It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.