2018 Players Choice Awards Outstanding Pitcher Finalists
All six were named All-Stars this season, and all have been nominated by their peers as finalists for the 2018 Players Choice Awards Outstanding Pitcher of the Year.
Chris Sale, Blake Snell and Justin Verlander make up the AL finalists, and Jacob deGrom, Aaron Nola and Max Scherzer are the NL finalists.
Verlander and Scherzer have previously won the award. In 2011, Verlander earned the honor with the Tigers and Scherzer won once in each league – with the Tigers in 2013 and Nationals in 2017.
Winners of the Outstanding Pitcher award will receive a $20,000 grant from the Major League Baseball Players Trust to donate to a charity of their choice. Runner-up and third-place finisher will receive $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.
Finalists for Comeback Player and Outstanding Rookie in each league were announced last week. Finalists for AL and NL Outstanding Player will be announced on Oct. 30. The finalists for the remaining two awards, Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year will shortly follow.
Winner for all 10 Players Choice Awards will be announced on Nov. 27.
AMERICAN LEAGUE OUTSTANDING PITCHER FINALISTS
CHRIS SALE, Boston Red Sox
Chris Sale was more dominant than ever in his ninth big-league season, striking out a career-high 13.5 batters per nine innings at the top of the Red Sox rotation. Sale’s 2.11 ERA and 0.86 WHIP were also career bests as the lanky, 29-year-old left-hander earned his seventh straight all-star game appearance and first as the AL’s starter.
BLAKE SNELL, Tampa Bay Rays
Blake Snell, a 25-year-old left-hander, improved on a strong second half in 2017 and emerged as one of the game’s elite starters in his just his third season, leading the AL in victories (21), earned run average (1.89) and fewest hits allowed (5.58) per nine innings for the Rays. Gaining in command and confidence, Snell also kept hitters off balance with his pitch selection.
JUSTIN VERLANDER, Houston Astros
Veteran Justin Verlander continued to build a Hall of Fame-caliber resume in 2018, leading the AL in strikeouts (290) and WHIP (0.902). The hard-throwing 35-year-old right-hander also tied teammate Dallas Keuchel for the league lead with 34 starts and finished second to teammate Gerrit Cole with 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings in his first full season with the Astros.
NATIONAL LEAGUE OUTSTANDING PITCHER FINALISTS
JACOB DEGROM, New York Mets
In his fifth season with the Mets, Jacob deGrom led all MLB pitchers with 9.1 fWAR and a 1.70 ERA and his 0.4 home runs allowed per nine innings was an MLB low. The 30-year-old right-hander from Florida established career highs with 32 starts and 217 innings pitched, made the NL all-star team for the second time and allowed three or fewer runs in all but one of his starts.
AARON NOLA, Philadelphia Phillies
Aaron Nola emerged as the staff ace the Phillies envisioned when they drafted him seventh overall in 2014, placing second in the majors with 10.0 bWAR while posting a 17-6 record and second-in-the-NL 2.37 ERA over 212 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old right-hander also earned his first All-Star Game appearance and was third in the NL with a .975 WHIP and fifth in the league with 224 strikeouts.
MAX SCHERZER, Washington Nationals
Max Scherzer, who has previously won Players Choice Awards as AL Outstanding Pitcher (2013) and NL Outstanding Pitcher (2017), keeps getting better with age. This season he became just the sixth pitcher since 1990 to record 300 strikeouts and at 34 the oldest ever to accomplish the feat. He led the NL in wins (18), complete games (2), innings pitched (220 2/3) WHIP (0.911) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.88).
The winners of each of the 10 Players Choice Awards will be announced on the evening of Nov. 27.
About the Major League Baseball Players Trust
Through the Players Trust, Major Leaguers contribute their time, money and celebrity to call attention to important causes. Each year the Players Trust distributes more than $1.5 million in annual grants and programs. For additional information, please visit www.PlayersTrust.org, @MLBPlayersTrust.