Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum were named the outstanding pitchers in their respective leagues by their colleagues in the 2008 Players Choice Awards.
Lincecum, a 24-year-old right-hander with a deceptive delivery and an assortment of pitches, was 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA in just his second Major League season. Honing a changeup that has quickly become his out pitch, Lincecum led the majors with 265 strikeouts over 227 innings for the Giants.
Lincecum, who was the 10th overall draft pick coming out of Washington in 2006, downplayed his precocious mastery of opposing hitters.
"It was my first full season," Licecum told Yahoo! Sports, which announced the award on Monday. "Guys haven't gotten to see me that much. People make adjustments. It's a constant chess match. I don't know, maybe it was finding a rhythm in my starts."
Lee, a 29-year-old left-hander who had been dispatched to the Minors last season when he struggled with injuries, drew motivation from the setback and posted a 22-3 record with a 2.54 ERA over a career-high 223 1/3 innings for the Indians this season after pitching his way back into the rotation.
"I flat out didn't get it done last year and I used that as motivation in the offseason to improve," Lee said. "Once Spring Training started, I made it a point to keep my mind in the moment and be the very best baseball player I can be."
The Players Choice Awards are selected by the players themselves in balloting conducted in September under the supervision of the accounting firm KPMG. Both players were especially gratified to be honored by their peers.
"They get a fast, real-pace view of what's going on out there and what players can do," Lincecum said.
The Oustanding Player in each league will be announced by Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday, followed by the Outstanding Rookies on Wednesday and the leagues' Comeback Players on Thursday. The Player of the Year, a vote of players in both leagues, as well as the Marvin Miller Man of the Year will be announced on Friday.
Each 2008 Players Choice Award winner recommends the charity of his choice to receive a grant from the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Since 1992, the Players Trust has contributed more than $3.25 million dollars to charities around the world in honor of Players Choice Award winners.
Lincecum has not yet decided where he will direct his grant, but Lee told Yahoo! his would go to the Miracle League of Arkansas, part of a nationwide organization that builds adaptive fields so that disabled people can experience the rewards of baseball.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.