Verlander should be a unanimous choice for AL Cy Young Award

Justin Verlander should be a unanimous selection on Tuesday when the American League Cy Young Award winner is announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

There hasn't been a pitcher to garner every first place vote in the American League since Johan Santana in 2006, but Verlander could join him following one of the best seasons ever put forth by a Tigers right-hander.

Verlander, who figures to also finish among the leaders in AL MVP voting, became the 12th pitcher in the last 50 years to win pitching's Triple Crown, as he led the league in wins (24), ERA (2.40) and strikeouts (250). He is the first AL pitcher to accomplish the feat since Santana in '06 and the first Tigers hurler to do it since Hal Newhouser in 1945.

Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw led the NL this season in wins, ERA and strikeouts.

Verlander's 24 wins were the most in the league since Bob Welch won 27 for the 1990 Athletics. He also led AL pitchers with 251 innings, a .192 opposing batting average and a 0.92 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) ratio.

Verlander, who won his final 12 starts and was 14-1 within the American League Central for the division champion Tigers, also tossed a no-hitter and came close on several other occasions.

A Cy Young Award would be just the latest trophy for the 28-year-old flamethrower, who took home Player of the Year honors as the top player in both leagues when the Players Choice Awards were announced earlier this month.

Should he win this award he will become the first Tigers pitcher to do so since reliever Willie Hernandez in 1984. Denny McClain also won this award twice for the Tigers in 1968-69.

Verlander's main competition figures to come from Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim righty Jered Weaver, who was 18-8 this past season despite having the league's second-lowest run support.

Tampa Bay righty James Shields, who led the majors with 11 complete games, and New York's CC Sabathia, who won 19 games and struck out 230 batters, should also garner some votes, but all figure to finish well back of Verlander.

The National League winner will be announced on Thursday.