Ranking every Cy Young Award season

November 16th, 2023

In 1956, a year after the death of legendary pitcher Cy Young, the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) began handing out an annual award in his honor.

After one trophy was given out for all of Major League Baseball in each of the first 11 seasons, the Cy Young Award expanded in 1967 to include one for the American League and one for the National League. Through 2023, 126 have been given out -- including two to AL recipients due to a tie in '69 -- and 22 pitchers have won it multiple times.

While voting procedures and philosophies have changed with the times, the general object of the awards always has been to identify the pitchers who enjoyed the most success during the regular season -- however that is defined.

But, of all those fine seasons, which are the best?

To answer this difficult question, MLB.com evaluated each winner, starting with a combination of the three main types of wins above replacement (WAR), via Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus. Using those results as a rough guide while also considering other metrics, notable accomplishments and subjective factors, Cy Young Award winners were ranked from No. 1 to No. 126. (For 2020, the effects of a 60-game schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic were taken into consideration for those winners' rankings).

It's worth keeping in mind that while several relievers have been honored (and are noted on the list with asterisks), they naturally face an uphill battle in any value comparison to Cy Young Award-winning starters who had much higher workloads.

A runner-up is also listed after each winner, except in some early seasons, when a unanimous vote meant there was no runner-up.

Without further delay, here are the greatest Cy Young Award seasons of all time:

1. Pedro Martinez, 1999, AL (Red Sox)
Key stats: 2.07 ERA (243 ERA+), 313 K's

In a time of inflated offense, Pedro was utterly dominant. He posted what remains by far the lowest FIP (1.39) by a qualified pitcher since the end of the dead-ball era, and he set a record for strikeout rate (37.5 percent) that remained unbroken until 2019.

Runner-up: Mike Mussina, BAL (133 ERA+)

2. Pedro Martinez, 2000, AL (Red Sox)
Key stats: 1.74 ERA (291 ERA+), 284 K's

Choosing between Pedro's two best seasons can be like choosing a favorite child. In 2000, he set a single-season record for ERA+, a high-octane year during which no other qualified AL hurler had an ERA below 3.70.

Runner-up: Tim Hudson, OAK (20-6)

3. Bob Gibson, 1968 NL (Cardinals)
Key stats: 1.12 ERA (258 ERA+), 13 shutouts

Yes, it was the "Year of the Pitcher." Even taking the environment into account, Gibson was overwhelming. 

4. Dwight Gooden, 1985 NL (Mets)
Key stats: 1.53 ERA (229 ERA+), 16 CG

Gooden was a sensation, and few pitchers in history can approach what he accomplished at age 20, which included six shutouts with double-digit strikeouts.

Runner-up: John Tudor, STL (185 ERA+)

5. Randy Johnson, 2001 NL (D-backs)
Key stats: 2.49 ERA (188 ERA+), 372 K's

This was the third of four straight Cy Young Awards for the Big Unit. At age 37, he posted a strikeout rate (37.4) topped only by Martinez in 1999.

Runner-up: Curt Schilling, ARI (293 K's)

6. Roger Clemens, 1997 AL (Blue Jays)
Key stats: 2.05 ERA (222 ERA+), 292 K's

Clemens' seven Cy Young Awards are a record, but he was never better than in his first season north of the border.

Runner-up: Randy Johnson, SEA (197 ERA+)

7. Steve Carlton, 1972 NL (Phillies)
Key stats: 1.97 ERA (182 ERA+), 2.01 FIP, 30 CG

While wins are not typically a useful stat, it's telling that Carlton went 27-10 for a team that finished 59-97.

Runner-up: Steve Blass, PIT (19-8)

8. Sandy Koufax, 1965 MLB (Dodgers)
Key stats: 2.04 ERA (160 ERA+), 382 K's

The lefty's penultimate season included the second-most strikeouts in the modern era, a perfect game and just one earned run allowed in three World Series starts -- including shutouts in Games 5 and 7 against the Twins.

9. Randy Johnson, 2002 NL (D-backs)
Key stats: 2.32 ERA (195 ERA+), 334 K's

It's the only season in history to feature three starts of 16-plus strikeouts and no earned runs, and Johnson was 38.

Runner-up: Curt Schilling, ARI (316 K's)

10. Greg Maddux, 1995 NL (Braves)
Key stats: 1.63 ERA (260 ERA+), 7.9 K/BB

A late open to the season after the strike robbed Maddux of a few starts on his way to a fourth straight award. Opponents hit .197/.224/.258 against him with just eight homers and 23 walks in 28 games.

Runner-up: Pete Schourek, CIN (18-7)

11. Sandy Koufax, 1966 MLB (Dodgers)
Key stats: 1.73 ERA (190 ERA+), 27 CG

Although his left arm was hurting, Koufax went out on top, at age 30, capping an incredible five-year run in which he posted a 1.95 ERA.

12. Pedro Martinez, 1997 NL (Expos)
Key stats: 1.90 ERA (219 ERA+), 305 K's

In his breakout season, and his last in Montreal, Martinez became the only right-hander since Walter Johnson in 1912 to have 300-plus K's with a sub-2.00 ERA.

Runner-up: Greg Maddux, ATL (189 ERA+)

13. Randy Johnson, 1999 NL (D-backs)
Key stats: 2.48 ERA (184 ERA+), 364 K's

In the first of four straight Cy Young seasons for Johnson after signing with Arizona, he tied Nolan Ryan's record of 23 starts with double-digit strikeouts.

Runner-up: Mike Hampton, HOU (22-4)

14. Randy Johnson, 2000 NL (D-backs)
Key stats: 2.64 ERA (181 ERA+), 347 K's

Including this one, Johnson is responsible for five of the top 12 strikeout seasons since 1901, including each of the top five since '80.

Runner-up: Tom Glavine, ATL (21-9)

15. Sandy Koufax, 1963 MLB (Dodgers)
Key stats: 1.88 ERA (159 ERA+), 11 shutouts

Koufax allowed no more than one run in a start 25 times, threw a no-hitter and won the first of two World Series Most Valuable Player Awards.

16. Jacob deGrom, 2018 NL (Mets)
Key stats: 1.70 ERA (216 ERA+), 0.4 HR/9

In a sign of the times, deGrom won with only a 10-9 record after he set single-season Major League records with 24 consecutive quality starts and 29 straight starts in which he allowed three or fewer runs.

Runner-up: Max Scherzer, WSH (300 K's)

17. Ron Guidry, 1978 AL (Yankees)
Key stats: 1.74 ERA (208 ERA+), nine shutouts

In just his second full season, Guidry became the only Yankees pitcher to have an 18-strikeout game, and he posted a 1.16 ERA in his final 16 outings.

Runner-up: Mike Caldwell, MIL (160 ERA+)

18. Tom Seaver, 1973 NL (Mets)
Key stats: 2.08 ERA (175 ERA+), 18 CG

In the second of his three Cy Young Award campaigns, Tom Terrific helped drag an 82-win Mets team to an NL East title and a World Series berth.

Runner-up: Mike Marshall, MON (31 SV)

19. Justin Verlander, 2019 AL (Astros)
Key stats: 2.58 ERA (179 ERA+), 300 K's

This AL race was a straight toss-up between Verlander and his rotation-mate, Gerrit Cole, and either of their incredible seasons would have landed here. In his age-36 season, Verlander set a career high with 300 strikeouts while posting the third-lowest WHIP (0.80) by any qualified starter in modern history.

Runner-up: Gerrit Cole, HOU (326 K's)

20. Gaylord Perry, 1972 AL (Indians)
Key stats: 1.92 ERA (168 ERA+), 29 CG

One of baseball's ultimate workhorses, Perry completed more games than all AL pitchers combined in 2018.

Runner-up: Wilbur Wood, CHW (20 CG)

21. Steve Carlton, 1980 NL (Phillies)
Key stats: 2.34 ERA (162 ERA+), 286 K's

At age 35, Lefty rebounded from a couple of relatively down years to capture his third Cy Young Award and first championship, winning twice in the World Series against Kansas City.

Runner-up: Jerry Reuss, LAD (141 ERA+)

22. Zack Greinke, 2009 AL (Royals)
Key stats: 2.16 ERA (205 ERA+), 0.4 HR/9

Greinke didn't allow an earned run until his fifth start, and he had a 0.84 ERA through 10 outings.

Runner-up: Felix Hernandez, SEA (171 ERA+)

23. Dean Chance, 1964 MLB (Angels)
Key stats: 1.65 ERA (200 ERA+), 11 shutouts

In five starts against the AL champion Yankees, Chance allowed one run in 50 innings.

Runner-up: Larry Jackson, CHC (24-11)

24. Fergie Jenkins, 1971 NL (Cubs)
Key stats: 2.77 ERA (141 ERA+), 7.1 K/BB

Over 325 innings, Jenkins walked just 37 batters (31 unintentionally), including 16 outings with no free passes.

Runner-up: Tom Seaver, NYM (194 ERA+)

25. Randy Johnson, 1995 AL (Mariners)
Key stats: 2.48 ERA (193 ERA+), 294 K's

In a slightly shortened season, Johnson had more double-digit strikeout games (16) than homers allowed (12), and he helped lift Seattle into the AL Championship Series.

Runner-up: Jose Mesa, CLE (46 SV)

26. Greg Maddux, 1994 NL (Braves)
Key stats: 1.56 ERA (271 ERA+), 0.2 HR/9

This season may have wound up at or near the top of this list had the strike not interrupted in August, but Maddux still topped 200 innings and allowed a grand total of four big flies.

Runner-up: Ken Hill, MON (16-5)

27. Vida Blue, 1971 AL (A's)
Key stats: 1.82 ERA (183 ERA+), .523 opp. OPS

The electric 21-year-old lefty had just 10 MLB starts under his belt before his MVP Award-winning 1971 campaign.

Runner-up: Mickey Lolich, DET (29 CG)

28. Jake Arrieta, 2015 NL (Cubs)
Key stats: 1.77 ERA (215 ERA+), .507 opp OPS

Arrieta was as close to untouchable as it gets over his final 20 starts -- including a no-hitter on Aug. 30 in L.A. -- as opponents slashed .150/.200/.210 against him.

Runner-up: Zack Greinke, LAD (222 ERA+)

29. Bret Saberhagen, 1989 AL (Royals)
Key stats: 2.16 ERA (180 ERA+), 0.4 HR/9

At 25, Saberhagen clinched his second Cy Young Award by posting a 1.29 ERA across 14 starts in August and September.

Runner-up: Dave Stewart, OAK (21-9)

30. Greg Maddux, 1992 NL (Cubs)
Key stats: 2.18 ERA (166 ERA+), 0.2 HR/9

Opponents slugged .279 against Maddux and hit seven home runs over 268 innings in his last year with the Cubs (until 2004).

Runner-up: Tom Glavine, ATL (20-8)

31. Johan Santana, 2004 AL (Twins)
Key stats: 2.61 ERA (182 ERA+), 265 K's

The 25-year-old lefty got off to a rough start in his first full season in an MLB rotation, then allowed 24 earned runs over his final 22 outings (1.36 ERA).

Runner-up: Curt Schilling, BOS (21-6)

32. Roger Clemens, 1998 AL (Blue Jays)
Key stats: 2.65 ERA (174 ERA+), 271 K's

From Aug. 20-30, Clemens threw three straight shutouts -- something no AL pitcher has done since -- including an 18-strikeout performance.

Runner-up: Pedro Martinez, BOS (163 ERA+)

33. Roger Clemens, 1986 AL (Red Sox)
Key stats: 2.48 ERA (169 ERA+), .195 opponent BA

On April 29 of his first full season, against Seattle, the 23-year-old became the first pitcher to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning game.

Runner-up: Teddy Higuera, MIL (156 ERA+)

34. Mike Scott, 1986 NL (Astros)
Key stats: 2.22 ERA (161 ERA+), 306 strikeouts

On Sept. 25 against the Giants, Scott threw a 13-strikeout no-hitter as Houston clinched its division.

Runner-up: Fernando Valenzuela, LAD (20 CG)

35. Clayton Kershaw, 2013 NL (Dodgers)
Key stats: 1.83 ERA (194 ERA+), .521 opponent OPS

An Opening Day shutout set the tone for a season in which Kershaw's ERA never climbed higher than 2.14.

Runner-up: Adam Wainwright, STL (19-9)

36. Clayton Kershaw, 2014 NL (Dodgers)
Key stats: 1.77 ERA (197 ERA+), 7.7 K/BB

This was Kershaw at his MVP Award-winning best, although an IL stint cut down on his innings total.

Runner-up: Johnny Cueto, CIN (163 ERA+)

37. Corey Kluber, 2017 AL (Indians)
Key stats: 2.25 ERA (202 ERA+), 7.4 K/BB

The Klubot returned from an IL stint on June 1 to post a 1.62 ERA in his final 23 starts, 14 of which featured 10-plus strikeouts.

Runner-up: Chris Sale, BOS (308 K's)

38. Orel Hershiser, 1988 NL (Dodgers)
Key stats: 2.26 ERA (149 ERA+), eight shutouts

Hershiser gets bonus points for his incredible, record-setting 59-inning scoreless streak to end the regular season, a feat he followed by posting a 1.05 postseason ERA, including two wins in the World Series.

Runner-up: Danny Jackson, CIN (23-8)

39. Roger Clemens, 1991 AL (Red Sox)
Key stats: 2.62 ERA (165 ERA+), 13 CG

That this may not even be among his five best seasons says a lot.

Runner-up: Scott Erickson, MIN (20-8)

40. Jacob deGrom, 2019 NL (Mets)
Key stats: 2.43 ERA (167 ERA+), 255 K's

deGrom started slowly, ending April with a 4.85 ERA, but stepped on the gas from there with a 2.07 ERA over his last 27 starts. Take out those poor early-season outings, and deGrom's 2018-19 is one of the most dominant two-year runs in recent history.

Runner-up: Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD (179 ERA+)

41. Roy Halladay, 2010 NL (Phillies)
Key stats: 2.44 ERA (167 ERA+), 7.3 K/BB

In his first season in Philly, all Halladay did was throw a perfect game and one of only three no-hitters in postseason history.

Runner-up: Adam Wainwright, STL (160 ERA+)

42. Roger Clemens, 1987 AL (Red Sox)
Key stats: 2.97 ERA (154 ERA+), seven shutouts

Despite a slight step down from his breakout season the year before, Clemens was still often overpowering.

Runner-up: Jimmy Key, TOR (164 OPS+)

43. Bob Gibson, 1970 NL (Cardinals)
Key stats: 3.12 ERA (133 ERA+), 274 K's

For all his reputation as an intimidating mound presence, Gibson actually hit just four batters in nearly 300 innings.

Runner-up: Gaylord Perry, SF (23-13)

44. John Smoltz, 1996 NL (Braves)
Key stats: 2.94 ERA (149 ERA+), 276 K's

A 24-8 record helped him end friend and teammate Greg Maddux's four-year NL Cy Young Award streak.

Runner-up: Kevin Brown, FLA (215 ERA+)

45. Roy Halladay, 2003 AL (Blue Jays)
Key stats: 3.25 ERA (145 ERA+), 6.4 K/BB

The late, great "Doc" reached these heights three years after having a 10.64 ERA.

Runner-up: Esteban Loaiza, CHW (159 ERA+)

46. Jim Palmer, 1975 AL (Orioles)
Key stats: 2.09 ERA (169 ERA+), 10 shutouts

In the second of his three Cy Young Award-winning seasons, Palmer piled up 323 innings for Baltimore, going at least eight frames 30 times.

Runner-up: Catfish Hunter, NYY (30 CG)

47. Justin Verlander, 2011 AL (Tigers)
Key stats: 2.40 ERA (172 ERA+), .555 opponent OPS

JV threw his second career no-hitter on May 7 at Toronto, on his way to also earning AL MVP honors.

Runner-up: Jered Weaver, LAA (156 ERA+)

48. Tim Lincecum, 2008 NL (Giants)
Key stats: 2.62 ERA (168 ERA+), 10.5 K/9

Two years after the Giants drafted him in the first round, The Freak was a sensation, using a unique delivery to get more than seemed possible out of a small frame.

Runner-up: Brandon Webb, ARI (22-7)

49. Tim Lincecum, 2009 NL (Giants)
Key stats: 2.48 ERA (171 ERA+), 10.4 K/9

This performance showed that Lincecum was no one-year wonder. Few have been more fun to watch at their best.

Runner-up: Chris Carpenter, STL (182 ERA+)

50. Tom Seaver, 1975 NL (Mets)
Key stats: 2.38 ERA (146 ERA+), .571 opponent OPS

Seaver reached the 200-strikeout mark for the eighth year in a row and passed 2,000 K's for his career, all at age 30.

Runner-up: Randy Jones, SD (156 ERA+)

51. Greg Maddux, 1993 NL (Braves)
Key stats: 2.36 ERA (170 ERA+), .590 opponent OPS

Maddux didn't miss a beat after leaving Chicago for Atlanta.

Runner-up: Bill Swift, SF (21-8)

52. Corey Kluber, 2014 AL (Indians)
Key stats: 2.44 ERA (160 ERA+), 10.3 K/9

Kluber rose out of relative obscurity for a breakout season at age 28, producing a 2.13 ERA over his final 28 outings.

Runner-up: Felix Hernandez, SEA (170 ERA+)

53. Max Scherzer, 2017 NL (Nationals)
Key stats: 2.51 ERA (178 ERA+), .178 opponent BA

Mad Max posted the lowest opponent batting average for a qualified pitcher in NL history.

Runner-up: Clayton Kershaw, LAD (179 ERA+)

54. Sandy Alcantara, 2022 NL (Marlins)
Key stats: 2.28 ERA (178 ERA+), 6 CG

Alcantara gets bonus points for being so effective while also shouldering the sort of workload that is foreign to pitchers these days. He threw 23 2/3 more innings than anyone else, while doubling the complete-game total of his closest challenger.

Runner-up: Max Fried, ATL (164 ERA+)

55. Fernando Valenzuela, 1981 NL (Dodgers)
Key stats: 2.48 ERA (135 ERA+), eight shutouts

Following a cup of coffee in 1980, a 20-year-old Valenzuela shut out the Astros on Opening Day in '81, the first of five such outings among his first seven. "Fernandomania" was on, and in a strike-shortened season, he became the only pitcher to win both a Cy Young Award and a Rookie of the Year Award in the same year.

Runner-up: Tom Seaver, CIN (14-2)

56. Jake Peavy, 2007 NL (Padres)
Key stats: 2.54 ERA (158 ERA+), 9.7 K/9

This was the only time in a stellar 15-year career that Peavy even received Cy Young Award votes.

Runner-up: Brandon Webb, ARI (158 ERA+)

57. Johan Santana, 2006 AL (Twins)
Key stats: 2.77 ERA (162 ERA+), 9.4 K/9

It didn't last long, as physical issues interfered, but Santana's prime was something to behold.

Runner-up: Chien-Ming Wang, NYY (19-6)

58. Félix Hernández, 2010 AL (Mariners)
Key stats: 2.27 ERA (174 ERA+), .585 opponent OPS

Fortunately, voters overlooked King Félix's 13-12 record for a 101-loss Seattle club.

Runner-up: David Price, TB (144 ERA+)

59. Clayton Kershaw, 2011 NL (Dodgers)
Key stats: 2.28 ERA (161 ERA+), .554 opponent OPS

This was the first Cy Young honor for the 23-year-old, who locked it up by going 12-1 with a 1.31 ERA after the All-Star break.

Runner-up: Roy Halladay, PHI (163 ERA+)

60. Denny McLain, 1968 AL (Tigers)
Key stats: 1.96 ERA (154 ERA+), 28 CG

Bob Gibson's 1968 is more famous -- for good reason. But McLain's 31 wins were the most since 1931, and nobody has approached that total since.

61. Cliff Lee, 2008 AL (Indians)
Key stats: 2.54 ERA (167 ERA+), 0.5 HR/9

A year after posting a 6.29 ERA and spending time in the Minors, the 29-year-old broke out, showing his trademark stinginess with walks.

Runner-up: Roy Halladay, TOR (152 ERA+)

62. Gerrit Cole, 2023 AL (Yankees)
Key stats: 2.63 ERA (165 ERA+), 0.98 WHIP

After five previous top-five finishes, including two in second place, Cole finally earned his first Cy. His Yankees went 23-10 in his starts and 59-70 in all other games.

Runner-up: Sonny Gray, MIN (0.4 HR/9)

63. Chris Carpenter, 2005 NL (Cardinals)
Key stats: 2.83 ERA (150 ERA+), four shutouts

Just two years removed from missing an entire season due to injury, a healthy Carpenter emerged in St. Louis as a workhorse.

Runner-up: Dontrelle Willis, FLA (152 ERA+)

64. Denny McLain, 1969 AL (Tigers)
Key stats: 2.80 ERA (134 ERA+), 23 CG

McLain's numbers didn't pop quite as much after the mound was lowered after 1968, and this time, he shared the award with Mike Cuellar.

Runner-up (3rd): Jim Perry, MIN (20-6)

65. Brandon Webb, 2006 NL (D-backs)
Key stats: 3.10 ERA (152 ERA+), 0.6 HR/9

Riding his sinker to great success, Webb finished second in the Majors in lowest home run rate and highest ground-ball rate (66 percent).

Runner-up: Trevor Hoffman, SD (46 SV)

66. Justin Verlander, 2022 AL (Astros)
Key stats: 1.75 ERA (220 ERA+), .498 opp. OPS

While this ranks the lowest of JV’s three Cy Young seasons, one could argue it’s actually the most impressive, given that it came at age 39, after virtually two full seasons lost to an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.

Runner-up: Dylan Cease, CHW (180 ERA+)

67. Don Drysdale, 1962 MLB (Dodgers)
Key stats: 2.83 ERA (128 ERA+), 314 1/3 innings

This was the first of four straight seasons in which Koufax's right-handed partner took the ball at least 40 times and topped 300 innings.

Runner-up: Jack Sanford, SF (24-7)

68. Tom Glavine, 1991 NL (Braves)
Key stats: 2.55 ERA (153 ERA+), .607 opponent OPS

The 25-year-old lefty was a breakout star for the World Series-bound Braves, igniting a Hall of Fame career with perhaps his finest season.

Runner-up: Lee Smith, STL (47 SV)

69. R.A. Dickey, 2012 NL (Mets)
Key stats: 2.73 ERA (139 ERA+), 230 K's

One of the most improbable winners, Dickey was a 37-year-old knuckleball artist who entered the season with just 106 career starts and a 4.34 ERA before leading the NL in strikeouts.

Runner-up: Clayton Kershaw, LAD (150 ERA+)

70. Don Newcombe, 1956 MLB (Dodgers)
Key stats: 3.06 ERA (131 ERA+), 0.989 WHIP

The Cy Young Award all began with Newcombe, who earned the first one -- plus NL MVP honors -- as Brooklyn went 29-9 in his games.

Runner-up: Sal Maglie, BRO (139 ERA+)

71. Steve Carlton, 1982 NL (Phillies)
Key stats: 3.10 ERA (119 ERA+), 286 K's

At age 37, Carlton became the first pitcher to win the award for a fourth time.

Runner-up: Steve Rogers, MON (152 ERA+)

72. Bret Saberhagen, 1985 AL (Royals)
Key stats: 2.87 ERA (143 ERA+), 4.2 K/BB

Just three years removed from being a 19th-round Draft pick out of high school, the 21-year-old also earned World Series MVP honors.

Runner-up: Ron Guidry, NYY (22-6)

73. Max Scherzer, 2016 NL (Nationals)
Key stats: 2.96 ERA (144 ERA+), 284 K's

The right-hander's 20-strikeout performance on May 11 against the Tigers was a perfect example of his ferocity on the mound.

Runner-up: Jon Lester, CHC (171 ERA+)

74. Max Scherzer, 2013 AL (Tigers)
Key stats: 2.90 ERA (144 ERA+), 10.1 K/9

The results finally caught up to the talent for Scherzer in 2013.

Runner-up: Yu Darvish, TEX (11.9 K/9)

75. CC Sabathia, 2007 AL (Indians)
Key stats: 3.21 ERA (141 ERA+), 5.7 K/BB

The lefty led the league with 241 innings in his final full season in Cleveland, which finished one win short of the World Series.

Runner-up: Josh Beckett, BOS (145 ERA+)

76. Tom Seaver, 1969 NL (Mets)
Key stats: 2.21 ERA (165 ERA+), .603 opponent OPS

Seaver led the "Miracle Mets" to a championship, contributing a 10-inning, one-run complete-game victory in Game 4 against the Orioles.

Runner-up: Phil Niekro, ATL (21 CG)

77. Blake Snell, 2018 AL (Rays)
Key stats: 1.89 ERA (219 ERA+), 5.6 H/9

Snell won despite only pitching 180 2/3 innings, the lowest ever for a 20-game winner, after going 9-0 with a 1.17 ERA following the All-Star break.

Runner-up: Justin Verlander, HOU (290 K's)

78. Corbin Burnes, 2021 NL (Brewers)
Key stats: 2.43 ERA (176 ERA+), 1.63 FIP

Burnes has to get dinged for his innings total (167), but his FIP was the second-lowest single-season mark since 1946, behind only the pitcher who ranks No. 1 on this list.

Runner-up: Zack Wheeler, PHI (247 K's)

79. Dallas Keuchel, 2015 AL (Astros)
Key stats: 2.48 ERA (157 ERA+), .575 opponent OPS

The grounder-inducing lefty was nearly untouchable at home, where he allowed 21 earned runs over 18 starts.

Runner-up: David Price, DET/TOR (164 ERA+)

80. Frank Viola, 1988 AL (Twins)
Key stats: 2.64 ERA (154 ERA+), 3.6 K/BB

The lefty flourished at the Metrodome (2.18 ERA), where he had locked up World Series MVP honors the previous October.

Runner-up: Dennis Eckersley, OAK (45 SV)

81. John Denny, 1983 NL (Phillies)
Key stats: 2.37 ERA (152 ERA+), 0.3 HR/9

Denny led a pennant-winning rotation after Philly acquired him from Cleveland the previous September, amid a subpar season.

Runner-up: Mario Soto, CIN (140 ERA+)

82. Mike Cuellar, 1969 AL (Orioles)
Key stats: 2.38 ERA (149 ERA+), .551 opponent OPS

Acquired from Houston in the offseason, Cuellar shared this award with Denny McLain in the only example of a Cy Young tie.

Runner-up (3rd): Jim Perry, MIN (20-6)

83. Steve Carlton, 1977 NL (Phillies)
Key stats: 2.64 ERA (153 ERA+), 17 CG

During one late-season, three-week stretch for the NL East-champion Phillies, Carlton pitched a pair of 14-strikeout complete-game victories.

Runner-up: Tommy John, LAD (20-7)

84. Roger Clemens, 2004 NL (Astros)
Key stats: 2.98 ERA (145 ERA+), 9.2 K/9

The Rocket turned 42 before receiving his record seventh Cy Young Award -- for his fourth team -- making him the oldest player to win one.

Runner-up: Randy Johnson, ARI (290 K's)

85. Catfish Hunter, 1974 AL (A's)
Key stats: 2.49 ERA (134 ERA+), 0.986 WHIP

Hunter earned a save and a win in the World Series as Oakland completed a championship three-peat.

Runner-up: Fergie Jenkins, TEX (25-12)

86. David Price, 2012 AL (Rays)
Key stats: 2.56 ERA (150 ERA+), .602 opponent OPS

Two years after a runner-up finish, Price edged future teammate Justin Verlander in the voting, 153-149.

Runner-up: Justin Verlander, DET (161 ERA+)

87. Tom Glavine, 1998 NL (Braves)
Key stats: 2.47 ERA (168 ERA+), 0.5 HR/9

In the year of the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa home run chase, Glavine gave up just 13 dingers in 229 1/3 innings.

Runner-up: Trevor Hoffman, SD (53 SV)

88. Barry Zito, 2002 AL (A's)
Key stats: 2.75 ERA (158 ERA+), .218 opponent BA

The 24-year-old southpaw's magnificent curveball and 23-5 record dazzled voters.

Runner-up: Pedro Martinez, BOS (202 ERA+)

89. Roger Clemens, 2001 AL (Yankees)
Key stats: 3.51 ERA (128 ERA+), 3.0 K/BB

It was hardly Clemens' most dominant season, but he was 20-3, and the AL East-champion Yankees went 27-5 in his starts.

Runner-up: Mark Mulder, OAK (21-8)

90. Pat Hentgen, 1996 AL (Blue Jays)
Key stats: 3.22 ERA (156 ERA+), 10 CG

The right-hander bounced back from a 5.11 ERA (92 ERA+) in 1995, winning a tight race.

Runner-up: Andy Pettitte, NYY (21-8)

91. Robbie Ray, 2021 AL (Blue Jays)
Key stats: 2.84 ERA (154 ERA+), 248 K’s

Ray was even more of a rebound case than Hentgen, having posted a 6.62 ERA in 2020 before leading the Majors in strikeouts in ‘21.

Runner-up: Gerrit Cole, NYY (133 ERA+)

92. Eric Gagne, 2003 NL (Dodgers)
Key stats: 1.20 ERA (337 ERA+), 55 SV

This is about as dominant as a modern closer can be, as Gagne was perfect in save opportunities, allowed a .374 OPS and struck out 137 batters.

Runner-up: Jason Schmidt, SF (180 ERA+)

93. Mike Marshall, 1974 NL (Dodgers)
Key stats: 2.42 ERA (141 ERA+), 21 SV

No season in baseball history has even approached this one in terms of relief appearances (106) or relief innings (208 1/3), including 62 multi-inning stints. A unique performance.

Runner-up: Andy Messersmith, LAD (20-6)

94. Jim Palmer, 1973 AL (Orioles)
Key stats: 2.40 ERA (155 ERA+), 19 CG

Palmer won his first Cy Young Award despite having 225 fewer strikeouts than Ryan's MLB-record total.

Runner-up: Nolan Ryan, CAL (383 K's)

95. Blake Snell, 2023 NL (Padres)
Key stats: 2.25 ERA (182 ERA+), .181 opp. BA

This ranking may seem low, given Snell’s shiny ERA and impressive closing burst in 2023. But it’s hard to look past his MLB-high 99 walks, even if he was able to work his way around many of them.

Runner-up: Logan Webb, SF (216 IP)

96. Shane Bieber, 2020 AL (Indians)
Key stats: 1.63 ERA (281 ERA+), 14.2 K/9

Like Trevor Bauer below, Bieber has the advantage of eye-popping rate stats but the disadvantage of low counting stats, due to a 2020 season shortened by the coronavirus pandemic. Bieber struck out 10-plus batters in eight of his 12 outings and didn’t allow a run five times, but his workload (77 1/3 innings) was more akin to a reliever's in a normal 162-game season. That makes fair comparisons difficult.

Runner-up: Kenta Maeda, MIN (0.75 WHIP)

97. Trevor Bauer, 2020 NL (Reds)
Key stats: 1.73 ERA (276 ERA+), 5.1 H/9

There’s a similar dynamic for Bauer, who took his game to another level -- in the limited opportunities he had (11 starts). Bauer had four outings with 12 or more K’s, and opponents hit .159 against him.

Runner-up: Yu Darvish, CHC (221 ERA+)

98. Rick Porcello, 2016 AL (Red Sox)
Key stats: 3.15 ERA (142 ERA+), 5.9 K/BB

Bouncing back from a tough first season in Boston, Porcello won despite not receiving the most first-place votes.

Runner-up: Justin Verlander, DET (140 ERA+)

99. Whitey Ford, 1961 MLB (Yankees)
Key stats: 3.21 ERA (115 ERA+), 283 IP

This was hardly the lefty's best year, but he went 25-4, while an overwhelming Bronx Bombers club went 34-5 in his starts.

Runner-up: Warren Spahn, MLN (21 CG)

100. Mike Flanagan, 1979 AL (Orioles)
Key stats: 3.08 ERA (131 ERA+), five shutouts

Flanagan produced a 2.24 ERA in 16 second-half starts for the 102-win O's, who made it to the World Series.

Runner-up: Tommy John, NYY (17 CG)

101. Randy Jones, 1976 NL (Padres)
Key stats: 2.74 ERA (119 ERA+), 25 CG

The lefty was the enemy of the Three True Outcomes, allowing just 15 homers and 50 walks and striking out 93 in 315 1/3 innings.

Runner-up: Jerry Koosman, NYM (17 CG)

102. LaMarr Hoyt, 1983 AL (White Sox)
Key stats: 3.66 ERA (115 ERA+), 1.1 BB/9

Hoyt wasn't a big strikeout pitcher, but he also issued no more than one free pass in 28 of his 36 outings.

Runner-up: Dan Quisenberry, KC (45 SV)

103. Willie Hernandez, 1984 AL (Tigers)
Key stats: 1.92 ERA (204 ERA+), 32 SV

Hernandez threw 140 1/3 innings over 80 appearances on his way to AL MVP honors. He also saved Detroit's clinching victories in both the ALCS and World Series.

Runner-up: Dan Quisenberry, KC (44 SV)

104. Doug Drabek, 1990 NL (Pirates)
Key stats: 2.76 ERA (131 ERA+), 0.6 HR/9

The right-hander posted a 2.41 ERA over his final 18 starts as the Bucs closed out a division title.

Runner-up: Ramon Martinez, LAD (20-6)

105. Bruce Sutter, 1979 NL (Cubs)
Key stats: 2.22 ERA (188 ERA+), 37 SV

The master of the splitter, Sutter led the NL in saves for the first of five times, notching 22 of them by recording more than three outs.

Runner-up: Joe Niekro, HOU (21-11)

106. Jim Palmer, 1976 AL (Orioles)
Key stats: 2.51 ERA (130 ERA+), 23 CG

Palmer joined Sandy Koufax as the only pitchers who had won a Cy Young Award outright in back-to-back years, and nobody would join them until Roger Clemens in 1986-87.

Runner-up: Mark Fidrych, DET (159 ERA+)

107. Dennis Eckersley, 1992 AL (A's)
Key stats: 1.91 ERA (195 ERA+), 51 SV

Though he wasn't as dominant as in 1989-90, the AL MVP Award winner still had 93 strikeouts and just five unintentional walks over 80 innings.

Runner-up: Jack McDowell, CHW (20-10)

108. Jim Lonborg, 1967 AL (Red Sox)
Key stats: 3.16 ERA (112 ERA+), 246 K's

The 25-year-old's complete-game victory clinched the AL pennant for the "Impossible Dream" Red Sox.

Runner-up: Joe Horlen, CHW (146 ERA+)

109. Jim Perry, 1970 AL (Twins)
Key stats: 3.04 ERA (125 ERA+), 0.6 HR/9

It was almost a Perry sweep, as Jim's brother Gaylord finished second to Bob Gibson in the NL before eventually winning two himself.

Runner-up: Dave McNally, BAL (24-9)

110. Rollie Fingers, 1981 AL (Brewers)
Key stats: 1.04 ERA (333 ERA+), 28 SV

The Hall of Famer also took MVP honors, allowing three runs in 37 2/3 innings following MLB's return from a strike.

Runner-up: Steve McCatty, OAK (148 ERA+)

111. Rick Sutcliffe, 1984 NL (Cubs)
Key stats: 2.69 ERA (144 ERA+), 9.3 K/9 (with Cubs only)

Off to a rough start in Cleveland, Sutcliffe was dealt in June to Chicago, and he helped lead his new team to an NL East title.

Runner-up: Dwight Gooden, NYM (137 ERA+)

112. David Cone, 1994 AL (Royals)
Key stats: 2.94 ERA (171 ERA+), .609 opponent OPS

At one point in May, a few months before the strike cut short the season, Cone threw three straight shutouts.

Runner-up: Jimmy Key, NYY (17-4)

113. Sparky Lyle, 1977 AL (Yankees)
Key stats: 2.17 ERA (183 ERA+), 26 SV

The lefty got at least four outs in 50 of 72 appearances, and he threw another 14 postseason innings during New York's championship run.

Runner-up: Jim Palmer, BAL (22 CG)

114. Warren Spahn, 1957 MLB (Braves)
Key stats: 2.69 ERA (130 ERA+), 18 CG

The Hall of Fame lefty was already 36 when he won the second edition of the award for a championship Braves club.

Runner-up: Dick Donovan, CHW (135 ERA+)

115. Gaylord Perry, 1978 NL (Padres)
Key stats: 2.73 ERA (121 ERA+), 0.3 HR/9

Traded by Texas to San Diego that January, Perry became the first to win a Cy Young Award in both leagues.

Runner-up: Burt Hooton, LAD (19-10)

116. Vern Law, 1960 MLB (Pirates)
Key stats: 3.08 ERA (122 ERA+), 18 CG

Law won Games 1 and 4 of the World Series against the mighty Yankees, and he started Pittsburgh's memorable Game 7 victory as well.

Runner-up: Warren Spahn, MLN (21-10)

117. Jack McDowell, 1993 AL (White Sox)
Key stats: 3.37 ERA (125 ERA+), 10 CG

Thanks to his 22 wins, McDowell overcame finishing outside the top 10 in the AL in both ERA and strikeouts.

Runner-up: Randy Johnson, SEA (308 K's)

118. Bartolo Colon, 2005 AL (Angels)
Key stats: 3.48 ERA (122 ERA+), 3.7 K/BB

Bart's only Cy Young Award came eight years after his debut and well before his re-emergence as a folk hero in his 40s.

Runner-up: Mariano Rivera, NYY (43 SV)

119. Bob Turley, 1958 MLB (Yankees)
Key stats: 2.97 ERA (119 ERA+), .206 opponent BA

Turley actually led the AL in walks, but he earned World Series MVP honors by notching a shutout in Game 5, a save in Game 6 and a relief win in Game 7.

Runner-up: Warren Spahn, MLN (23 CG)

120. Early Wynn, 1959 MLB (White Sox)
Key stats: 3.17 ERA (120 ERA+), 255 2/3 IP

The 39-year-old led the AL in innings (and walks), and he pitched the Sox to their first pennant in 40 years.

Runner-up: Sam Jones, SF (16 CG)

121. Mark Davis, 1989 NL (Padres)
Key stats: 1.85 ERA (191 ERA+), 44 SV

In an era of great Cy Young Award opportunities for relievers, Davis ran away with the award after posting a 0.92 ERA over his final 42 games.

Runner-up: Mike Scott, HOU (20-10)

122. Mike McCormick, 1967 NL (Giants)
Key stats: 2.85 ERA (118 ERA+), 14 CG

Everything broke right for the lefty, who won 22 games while taking the first NL-only edition of the award.

Runners-up: Jim Bunning, PHI (149 ERA+); Fergie Jenkins, CHC (20 CG)

123. Bob Welch, 1990 AL (A's)
Key stats: 2.95 ERA (125 ERA+), 238 IP

Welch's case centered around his 27 wins, which remain the most in a season since Steve Carlton's 27 in 1972.

Runner-up: Roger Clemens, BOS (211 ERA+)

124. Steve Stone, 1980 AL (Orioles)
Key stats: 3.23 ERA (123 ERA+), 250 2/3 IP

The journeyman righty put together a career year at 32, but he pitched just one more season afterward.

Runner-up: Mike Norris, OAK (149 ERA+)

125. Pete Vuckovich, 1982 AL (Brewers)
Key stats: 3.34 ERA (114 ERA+), 0.6 HR/9

It's hard to imagine in today's context, but Vuckovich had only three more strikeouts (105) than walks (102).

Runner-up: Jim Palmer, BAL (15-5)

126. Steve Bedrosian, 1987 NL (Phillies)
Key stats: 2.83 ERA (151 ERA+), 40 SV

Bedrosian actually blew eight save chances, but he still won an extremely close vote.

Runner-up: Rick Sutcliffe, CHC (18-10)