Finding Value in Midseason Cy Young Odds

Jul 19, 2018 10:17 PM EDT
  • Many of the preseason American League favorites remain in the hunt, but Chris Sale is currently the odds on favorite at -125.
  • Max Scherzer is beginning to run away with the hardware in the National League at -350, and there's a chance his main competition, Jacob deGrom, switches leagues at the trade deadline.

Aces have held suit so far, and both the American and National League have an odds-on Cy Young favorite with about a baker’s dozen starts left to go in the season.

The injury bug can bite at any time, and nothing is a lock at this point. There are a bunch of guys who could still pounce on an opportunity if either favorite falters, so let’s take a look at what the oddsmakers are thinking.

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American League

You could make a great argument for a handful of pitchers in the AL. Chris Sale’s 2.23 ERA is tops in the AL over Trevor Bauer by 0.01. His xFIP, which is generally a better indicator of true skill, and future performance, is by far the best in the American League. Sale was in a similar position last season, but some hiccups down the stretch coupled with Corey Kluber’s dominant run took the award right out from under him.

Next on the list is Sale’s Yankee counterpart, Luis Severino. He is one of five pitchers in the AL within 0.10 for the ERA title, and has an MLB-best 14 wins this season. Pitching wins aren’t exactly looked upon in the same way they once were, but it certainly won’t hurt his case if he notches 20 or more Ws.

The Astros’ two top studs closely follow at +400 and +450. Both Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole have been racking up a ton of strikeouts to go with low ERAs and xFIP.

Following them are two Indians — Kluber and Bauer. We all know what Kluber is capable of after seeing his ridiculous second-half stretch last season: 1.79 ERA, 11.6 K/9, 1.0 BB/9, 0.77 WHIP. Bauer has forced his way into the conversation as the leading pitcher in MLB with 5.1 fWAR. Before this season, Bauer had never posted an ERA below 4.0 and he has become lights out all of the sudden. But, can he keep it up?

National League

The NL was expected to be a two-horse race between Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw. They’ve won four of the past five NL Cy Young awards, and there was no reason to believe they’d be stopped. Let’s just say one horse has done his part, as Scherzer is putting up a nearly identical, yet slightly better season than he did when he won last year. His 12.16 K/9 and 2.41 ERA are both career-bests as of now. Somebody has been even better, though, and that’s Jacob deGrom.

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The Mets’ ace has a 1.68 ERA — easily tops in the majors — to go along with a 4.4 fWAR, which is best in the NL The only problem is the Mets are terrible. He’s managed only a 5-4 record with those numbers thanks to his well-documented terrible run support. I would hope that voters could see through that, but you never know. Also potentially causing problems is the fact that he might get traded. If the righty gets dealt to the AL, anyone holding a deGrom NL Cy Young ticket is screwed.

The National League also has a slew of random fellas in the running. Six pitchers who weren’t listed when odds were released now have top-10 odds to win the award, while the American League has zero. I honestly wouldn’t feel very comfortable betting on any of them right now, but to each his own.

Credit:

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Max Scherzer

Follow Mark Gallant on Twitter
@marky_money

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