Cy Yu? Darvish up for AL's top pitcher
MLB strikeout leader in position to become Rangers' first winner
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have never had a Cy Young Award winner, but pitcher Yu Darvish is a finalist for the 2013 season.
Darvish is one of three finalists for the 2013 American League Cy Young Award, along with Max Scherzer of the Tigers and Hisashi Iwakuma of the Mariners. The winner in a vote by the Baseball Writers' Association of America will be announced on Nov. 13.
Darvish made 32 starts for the Rangers this past season and was 13-9 with a 2.83 ERA that was fourth in the AL. He led the Majors with 277 strikeouts and his opponents' batting average of .194 was the lowest in the league.
Scherzer was 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts. His .198 batting average was the second-lowest in the league but his 8.90 baserunners per nine innings was the lowest. He was the only 20-game winner in the big leagues.
Iwakuma was 14-6 with a .266 ERA and 185 strikeouts. Opponents hit .220 off him, and he allowed 9.14 baserunners per nine innings. His ERA was the third-lowest in the league behind the Tigers' Anibal Sanchez at 2.57 and the A's Bartolo Colon at 2.66. According to baseball-reference.com, Iwakuma had the highest WAR among AL pitchers with seven wins above replacement.
By being a finalist, Darvish is guaranteed to be the first Rangers pitcher to finish in the top three in Cy Young voting since Ferguson Jenkins in 1974. Jenkins, who won a club-record 25 games that season, finished second behind Jim Hunter of the Athletics.
The Rangers have only had three other pitchers finish in the top five. Reliever Jim Kern was fourth in 1979, while Nolan Ryan was fifth in 1989 and Aaron Sele was fifth in 1999. Darvish was ninth last season, when David Price of the Rays won the award.
Price was the first Rays pitcher to win the award, leaving the Rangers as the only AL franchise that has never had a Cy Young Award winner.
Iwakuma and Darvish have a chance to be the first Japanese-born pitchers to win the award. The National League finalists are Jose Fernandez of the Marlins, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.