HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As Houston Astros fans ask each other whether their team can afford to bring back Justin Verlander, the question being thrown around on Wednesday is, "will he claim the Cy Young Award again?"
Relive the joy and excitement of the Astros' 2022 World Series championship parade celebration in the video above.
The free agent starting pitcher's team in 2023 remains a mystery, especially as rumors fly over the right-handed flamethrower's asking price. But that value got a nice jolt when the Baseball Writers Association of America announced the 39-year-old as the winner of the American League Cy Young Award during a TV special Wednesday evening.
Verlander, 39, returned close to his peak form with the Astros in 2022 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing practically all of the last two seasons. He re-signed with Houston before 2022 on a two-year deal that included an opt-out after the first year, which he exercised in the days after the Astros won their second World Series title.
JV led all of baseball with a 1.75 earned run average over his 28 regular season starts. He also led the American League with 18 wins, which is one better than his teammate Framber Valdez.
On top of that, but not holding weight on determining the award, Verlander recorded his first-ever winning decision in the World Series after eight career starts in the championship round.
Only Toronto's Alek Manoah and the White Sox's Dylan Cease stood in his way from his third career AL Cy Young Award. He won once during his 2011 MVP year with Detroit and one other time in 2019 with Houston.
Verlander collected all 30 first-place votes for the honor, which was announced live by former Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who won the award in 2015. Valdez, who was out of the final three for the award, placed fifth in voting.
The BBWAA also named Miami's Sandy Alcantara the National League Cy Young Award winner for 2022.