Never in doubt: Justin Verlander cruises to the AL Cy Young Award

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What, you were expecting someone else?

Justin Verlander ran away with the AL Cy Young Award today, garnering all 28 first place votes.  In his dust were Jered Weaver, James Shields CC Sabathia and Jose Valverde.  If you want to get mad about downballot stuff go ahead, but it kind of doesn’t matter here.

Verlander had a phenomenal season, of course. He won the pitching triple crown, leading the league in wins (24), ERA (2.40) and strikeouts (250). He also led the league in winning percentage (.828) starts (34), innings (251), WHIP (.920) and hits allowed per nine innings (6.2).

The real conversation about Justin Verlander and postseason awards ceased to be about the Cy Young Award sometime in the middle of the year.  The real question is whether he’ll win the MVP Award.  We’ll find that out on November 21.

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.