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Three former Tigers Aim for MLB’s Top Awards

While the Detroit Tigers may only be competing for Second Place in the AL Central this season, several of their former players are at the top of the list for MLB’s top regular season prizes.  While Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer work toward Cy Young seasons,  JD Martinez is also a serious contender for American League MVP.

Verlander arrived in Houston last September ready to help lead the way to the Astros first World Series victory.  Not only did JV play a critical role in their 2017 run, he has started the 2018 season looking perhaps better than ever.   He currently sits at 9-4, with a 2.12 ERA (2nd in AL), .86 WHIP (1st in AL) and 144 Strikeouts (5th in AL). JV’s veteran leadership is helping  lead the way in a very strong Houston rotation, currently holding the best record in the American League. His competition is tough, as Corey Kluber (CLE) and Louis Severino (NYY) both make strong cases.  A strong second half will be critical to the votes he receives and his team’s record will possibly give him the bump he did not get when Rick Porcello (BOS) finished ahead in the 2016 vote.  JV captured both the AL Cy Young and MVP in 2011.  

Scherzer is the clear favorite to capture his third consecutive NL Cy Young award, fourth in his career.  He’s currently 10-5 with a 2.16 ERA (3rd in NL), .87 WHIP (1st in NL) and 174 Strikeouts (1st in MLB). Scherzer’s been the cornerstone of the Nationals rotation since his arrival in 2015.  His nearest competition this season is Jacob deGrom (NYM) is subject to many trade rumors; potentially to an American League team.  Clayton Kershaw (LAD) has been hung up with injuries all season and has had a minimal impact.  Unless Scherzer tanks in the second half of the season, he’s likely the join the ranks of Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux with four career Cy Young Awards. Only Randy Johnson (5) and Roger Clemens (7) have more.

JD Martinez is leading MLB in Home Runs (26) and RBIs (71), third in OPS (1.019) and has a .321 Batting Average.  Perhaps no single player in baseball has helped jump start his team’s offense the way Martinez has with the Red Sox.  His leading competition may be his own teammate, Mookie Betts, who is ahead of JD in OPS and Batting Average. Mike Trout will certainly be right in that conversation as well, along with the possibilities of Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez (CLE), Aaron Judge (NYY) and last year’s AL MVP Jose Altuve (HOU).    

Brian is the Managing Editor at Legends on Deck and Co-Host on Legends On Deck Podcast. He's been writing about baseball at LOD since 2017 and is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association.  He's lives in Horizon West, FL. You can also reach him at

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