Washington Nationals right-handed pitcher Max Scherzer was named the 2016 National League Cy Young Award winner on Wednesday night, in an announcement made by the Baseball Writers' Association of America on MLB Network. The award is the second Cy Young of Scherzer's career, his first in the National League.
Scherzer, the 2013 American League Cy Young Award winner, is now just the sixth pitcher in major league history to win the award in both leagues. He joins Hall of Famers Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson, as well as Roger Clemens and Roy Halladay in the exclusive group. Scherzer is also the first player in Nationals history (2005-present) to take home baseball's top pitching honor and just the second in franchise history (Nationals/Expos), joining only Martinez (1997).
"The entire Lerner family extends our hearty congratulations to Max on this tremendous honor," said Washington Nationals managing principal owner Theodore N. Lerner. "We have felt a connection to Max from his very first day in a Nationals uniform and the pride we felt then has only continued to grow with each historic feat he accomplishes. We are honored that he is the first Cy Young winner in our history, and look forward with great anticipation to what future heights his career in Washington will reach."
Scherzer received 192 points in the balloting process, including 25 first-place votes, and the final tally slotted him 90 points ahead of the second-place finisher, Jon Lester of the Chicago Cubs.
"This is a truly incredible achievement for Max," said Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo. "When you look at the players who've preceded him in winning a Cy Young award in both leagues, you realize just what a tremendous accomplishment this is, and we are so proud to call him one of our own. On behalf of the entire Washington Nationals organization, we are thrilled for Max. We see every five days just how exceptional his talent is, and we're honored to see the rest of baseball recognize that as well - and for the second time in the last four years. We look forward to what is to come as he leads our staff in 2017 and beyond."
Scherzer, an All-Star for the fourth consecutive season, finished 2016 with a 20-7 record and a 2.96 ERA. He led National League pitchers in wins, strikeouts (284), innings pitched (228.1), games started (34), quality starts (26), WHIP (0.97), opponent on-base percentage (.254) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.07), while ranking among the leaders in several other categories. The right-hander, who put together 18 outings this season in which he threw at least 7.0 innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer, has carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning nine times in his Nationals career (2015-2016), more than any other pitcher in the major leagues in that span, completing the feat twice in 2015.
Scherzer's season was highlighted by yet another historic performance, striking out 20 Detroit Tigers on May 11 to become just the fourth pitcher in major league history to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning game. The outing, which set a franchise record (Nationals/Expos) for strikeouts in a game, made he and Johnson the only pitchers in major league history with a resume that includes a 20-strikeout game as well as a no-hitter. But Scherzer's Cy Young season was more than just one performance for the ages. The right-hander struck out 10 or more batters 13 times in 2016, most in the major leagues, and he is the only pitcher to post back-to-back seasons with 10 or more double-digit strikeout games since Johnson (1997-2002) and Curt Schilling (2001-02).
Scherzer's 284 strikeouts this season set a new Nationals record (2005-present) and a new career high. Having set career highs for strikeouts in each of his last five seasons, Scherzer is the only active pitcher with four seasons where he struck out 240 batters or more.