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James Shields Finishes Third In AL Cy Young Voting

In one of the least surprising turn of events, the Baseball Writers of America just announced that Justin Verlander was their unanimous pick for the AL Cy Young award. After finishing the season with 24 wins, 251 innings pitched, and a 2.40 ERA / 2.99 FIP, Verlander was the consensus Cy Young pick among both traditional baseball fans and saberists. While one could certainly make the case for a handful of other pitchers -- notably C.C. Sabathia -- nobody else's resume was so appealing in every aspect. Verlander had the stats and the intangibles on his side, and he certainly deserves this award.

While downballot results don't carry much weight -- close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and investment banking -- Rays fans will be glad to hear that James Shields finished third in the voting behind Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver. Shields was the undisputed ace of the Rays' staff this season, rebounding from a horrendous 2010 season by posting a 2.82 ERA / 3.42 FIP in 249 innings. He threw 11 complete games and four shutouts, doubling his career totals in each, and won a career best 16 games.

Shields was nicknamed "Big Game James" back in 2008, and he earned the moniker "Yields" for his performance in 2010. But in 2011, Shields blossomed into Juego G: the fire-breathing, changeup-throwing giant that ate opponents' souls for lunch. Thankfully, the rest of the baseball world took note.

Full award balloting is below the jump.

Pitcher, Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Points
Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers 28 196
Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels 17 8 2 1 97
James Shields, Tampa Bay Rays 5 9 8 3 66
CC Sabathia, New York Yankees 5 7 9 4 63
Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers 1 3 6 3 28
C.J. Wilson, Texas Rangers 1 7 9
Dan Haren, Los Angeles Angels 1 1 2 7
Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees 4 4
Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox 3 3
Ricky Romero, Toronto Blue Jays 1 2
David Robertson, New York Yankees 1 1

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Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.