DETROIT -- Matthew Boyd tried to set a tone for the Tigers, from the mound to the dugout to the clubhouse. He couldn’t do much for the team in the standings, but for everything else, he had a good case for Tiger of the Year.
In a season with precious few bright spots at Comerica Park, Boyd was one of the brightest. Thus, the left-hander earned the Tiger of the Year nod from members of the Detroit chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Boyd received 15 of 22 first-place votes. Miguel Cabrera finished second with three first-place nods. Boyd is the first pitcher other than Justin Verlander to win the award since Steve Sparks in 2001, and the first lefty hurler to win since John Hiller in 1973.
For a good stretch of the season’s first half, Boyd led American League pitchers in Wins Above Replacement. For another stretch of the summer, he looked destined to earn his first All-Star selection and end up on a contending team for the stretch run as the Trade Deadline neared. Neither happened, much to Boyd’s relief.
“This is where I want to be,” Boyd said in August. “I feel called to Detroit, the city, this team. Detroit truly is home, and I'm so grateful for that. It means everything to me when I put on that uniform every single day. Things are changing here for the better. Everybody in this locker room knows it, and we're going to come out on the other side as a squad very, very soon.”
Boyd struggled down the stretch, due in no small part to a stretch of allowing homers that propelled him to 39 for the season -- most by any AL pitcher in 2019, and most by any Tiger since Jack Morris allowed 40 in 1986. He finished with a 9-12 record and 4.56 ERA in 32 starts.
Countering the home runs were the strikeouts, 238 of them over 185 1/3 innings. His 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings was fourth-best among AL pitchers, as was his 4.76 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 1.23 WHIP ratio (walks plus hits per innings pitched) ranked ninth in the league.
With Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, Matt Moore and Tyson Ross injured for most of the year, Spencer Turnbull on a rookie learning curve and Daniel Norris hampered by limited innings, Boyd was far and away the most valuable Tigers starter this year. He led all Tigers players in WAR by both the Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs formulas.