Porcello wins AL Cy Young Award

Porcello wins AL Cy Young Award

BOSTON -- Mobbed by a collection of celebrants that included his mom, dad, two brothers, a couple of his best friends and his agent, Rick Porcello reveled in the crowning moment of his breakout season Wednesday night.

The 27-year-old righty was rewarded for his consistent brilliance, landing him the Baseball Writers' Association of America 2016 American League Cy Young Award -- the first for a Red Sox pitcher since Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez in 2000.

The vote was about as tight as possible, and Porcello edged former Tigers teammate Justin Verlander, 137 to 132.

Porcello wins 2016 AL Cy Young

The five-point differential was the second closest since voting was expanded in 1970 beyond selecting a winner only. The voters now select pitchers in first through fifth places, with seven points awarded for a first-place vote, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth.

Past Cy Young Award winners: AL | NL

AL Cy Young Award voting results
Pitcher, Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Pts.
Rick Porcello, Red Sox 8 18 2 1 1 137
Justin Verlander, Tigers 14 2 5 4 3 132
Corey Kluber, Indians 3 6 12 8 1 98
Zach Britton, Orioles 5 3 2 5 9 72
Chris Sale, White Sox   1 4 9 6 40
J.A. Happ, Blue Jays     3 2 1 14
Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays     1   3 6
Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees       1 4 6
Andrew Miller, Yankees/Indians     1     3
Michael Fulmer, Tigers         1 1
Jose Quintana, White Sox         1 1

The genuine emotion Porcello felt from New Jersey at the moment he won the award was captured live on MLB Network, which had the pitcher on a remote feed. To get to this point, Porcello endured plenty of ups and downs in his career, which made Wednesday more special.

"Obviously, there's a lot of emotions that were kind of built up inside me, and they came out," Porcello said on a conference call. "I think, first and foremost, being able to share that moment with my mother and father and my two brothers, I don't think you can put that into words how special that was for me.

"Along with my friends and agent, everybody being there, those are the people that have been the closest to me, and basically they've never wavered."

Not only did Porcello narrowly beat out Verlander, but he shared the Cy Young stage with another former teammate from the Tigers -- Washington's Max Scherzer, who received National League honors.

"Justin had a great year, and I learned a lot from him playing with him in Detroit, and obviously I wish him well in the future and a big congratulations to Max on winning his second," said Porcello. "I texted him right after I saw that he won it, and it looked like he was having a pretty good time out there on vacation. It's a very, very nice night and something I'll never forget."

On the strength of a 22-4 record, Porcello had the highest win total by a Boston pitcher since Martinez's 23-4 mark in 1999.

With two BBWAA members from each AL city voting, Verlander had more first-place votes than Porcello, 14 to 8. Porcello received the most second-place votes (18) and was named on all 30 ballots. while Verlander received only two second-place votes and was left off two ballots entirely. Porcello would have won even if the two ballots that omitted Verlander had him in fourth or fifth place. Two third-place votes would have given Verlander a one-point win.

Porcello on winning AL Cy Young

"I'm not the one that made that decision as far as who wins the Cy Young," said Porcello. "All I know is I've got a lot of people around me right now that I love very much and have been instrumental in my success in getting to this point."

This marks just the third time a Cy Young Award winner did not have the most first-place votes. It also happened for Atlanta's Tom Glavine in 1998 and San Francisco's Tim Lincecum in 2009.

Porcello had never received a single Cy Young vote prior to this year, and he beat out two finalists who had won the award previously in Verlander and Corey Kluber.

"I didn't look at the statistics. I didn't break it down into sabermetrics," Porcello said. "I knew the basic lines that we all had. Other than that, I just kind of figured whatever is going to happen is going to happen."

What set Porcello apart was that his season was devoid of any type of slump.

In 27 of his 33 starts, Porcello allowed three earned runs or fewer. In nearly half of his starts -- 16 of them -- he permitted two earned runs or fewer. And on nine occasions, Porcello gave up one earned run or fewer.

Durability was another separator for Porcello. There were just three starts when Porcello went fewer than six innings, and he didn't go fewer than five in any of those.

MLB Tonight: Porcello's Cy Young

Porcello joins Jim Lonborg (1967), Roger Clemens ('86, '87, '91) and Martinez ('99, 2000) as the only Red Sox pitchers to win a Cy Young Award.

"Yeah, it's pretty incredible to be mentioned with three other Red Sox players, [especially] Pedro and Roger," Porcello said. "I grew up watching those guys. Those were my idols growing up, and I have the utmost admiration for what they've done in the game. To be in that category is, I can't express my gratitude, it's pretty humbling. I never thought I'd be in that position to mention my name with those guys, so I'm thrilled."

You can find Porcello's name throughout the leaderboard for 2016. He was fifth in the AL in ERA (3.15), second in WHIP (1.01), fourth in innings (223), second in BB/9 (1.29) and first in the Majors with a 5.91 K/BB ratio. Porcello also notched a career-high 189 strikeouts.

"I felt like I had the weapons this year and the command to get out just about any guy that I was going to encounter in any lineup," Porcello said.

From July 29-Sept. 19, Porcello went 8-2 with a 2.34 ERA and had 11 straight starts of seven innings or more while allowing three earned runs or fewer. It matched Martinez (2000) and, fittingly, Cy Young (1904), for the best such stretch in Red Sox history.

The Sox went 25-8 in Porcello's starts. The righty was 9-2 in 16 starts following a Red Sox loss.

Porcello on 2016 improvement

Making Porcello's season particularly impressive was that it came on the heels of one of the toughest years of his career. In 2015, his first year with the Red Sox, he went 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA.

More will be expected of Porcello going forward, but he doesn't mind that.

"I don't see myself getting complacent and not continuing to work at those sort of things," Porcello said. "The personal accolades, and obviously winning a Cy Young Award is something that's not to be taken lightly, but I still have that extreme hunger for a World Series ring. With some hard work and continued focus and preparation and all the things that I'm trying to do, hopefully I continue to get better and can help us get that goal."

Esurance MLB Awards week concludes Friday on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8 p.m. ET with the MLB Awards. Categories include Best Major Leaguer, Hitter, Pitcher, Rookie, Executive and Manager.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.