DETROIT -- Michael Fulmer and Justin Verlander are among the finalists for the American League Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards, respectively, as announced Monday night.
Fulmer, whose midseason emergence from Tigers top prospect to front-line starter was a necessary for an inconsistent rotation, is expected to end up in a close vote with Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez for Rookie of the Year. Verlander, who led the AL with 254 strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP while finishing second with a 3.04 ERA, is part of a wide-open Cy Young race that includes fellow finalists Rick Porcello and Corey Kluber. Other deserving candidates, such as Chris Sale and Zach Britton, didn't make the cut.
The announcement reveals the top three in balloting among voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The Rookie of the Year will be announced on Monday, Nov. 14, with the Cy Young announcement coming two days later on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
Fulmer already has one AL rookie honor, running away in player voting for The Sporting News version of the award. The 23-year-old nearly became the first rookie in 30 years to win an ERA title, finishing with a 3.06 ERA along with an 11-7 record and 132 strikeouts over 159 innings. His 4.9 Wins Above Replacement by the according to Baseball Reference ranked eighth among AL pitchers and led all AL rookies. His 3.0 WAR according to Fangraphs placed him just behind Sanchez (3.2). Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin, the other finalist, wasn't far behind.
No Tigers rookie has been a finalist since Austin Jackson finished second to Neftali Feliz in 2010, and no Tigers rookie has topped the BBWAA voting since Verlander in '06.
Verlander is now vying for his first major award since winning both Cy Young and MVP in '11. The 33-year-old led all AL pitchers with a 6.6 WAR according to Baseball Reference, just ahead of Kluber.
The right-hander's final three months may have been the most dominant half of a season by anyone in the Majors. After Cleveland roughed him up for four runs at Comerica Park at the end of June, Verlander finished the season going 9-3 with a 1.98 ERA after July 2, allowing just 81 hits over 123 innings with 29 walks and 147 strikeouts.
Verlander nearly repeated as Cy Young winner in 2012, but he fell a couple votes shy of David Price. This year's ballot could end up that close, as well.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.