2020 MLB National League Cy Young Odds: Can deGrom Make It a 3-Peat?
Pictured: Jacob deGrom (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
In 2018, Jacob deGrom’s unlucky win-loss record was a major narrative down the stretch. Alas, it did not matter as he took home the National League Cy Young anyway.
Last year, deGrom’s 11-8 record wasn’t much better than the 10-9 he posted the year prior. Once again, it was no problem for the Mets’ ace as he won his second consecutive Cy Young.
Oddsmakers see a three-peat as a real possibility, as the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened deGrom as the +250 favorite. A third win would tie him with his elite contemporaries — Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer — who will both be aiming to add another trophy to their collections, too.
2020 National League Cy Young Odds
At this point, I believe most folks understand that wins are not as important of a statistic for pitchers as we used to think. From the beginning of time until a handful of years ago, wins, ERA and strikeouts were the three key stats for pitchers. Now, even ERA is scoffed at by baseball nerds.
Jacob deGrom hasn’t had the wins in recent years, but it’s not his fault that his teammates can’t provide him with any run support and voters have recognized that. With his shiny numbers everywhere else, it’s not surprising that he’s gotten the nod in back-to-back seasons.
Right behind him is Max Scherzer, who has one AL and two NL Cy Youngs to his name. If it hadn’t been for a handful of injury-related missed starts last year, Scherzer may have already won his fourth Cy.
His 2.92 ERA and career-high 12.69 K/9 allowed him to finish third in the voting despite pitching 172.1 innings. Mad Max has not finished worse than fifth in the voting since he won his first hardware in 2013.
Two young arms who had excellent 2019 seasons are up next at +500 — Jack Flaherty and Walker Buehler.
Flaherty had a bumpy beginning to the season, but had a 0.91 ERA in the second half to help himself finish fourth in the voting.
Buehler, the young thrower of seeds in La-La Land, finished ninth in the voting, but certainly has room to improve. With a K/9 north of 10 and BB/9 below two, the electric right-hander has the ingredients to put together an excellent 2020.
While the American League features a bevy of arms in the +1000 to +2000 range, the National League has a big dropoff to Stephen Strasburg at +1600. Ten more pitchers make up a big group between +2000 and +3000.
Strasburg may certainly get some attention at 16-1 given his fifth place Cy Young finish last year and World Series MVP. On the flipside, he’s only managed 200+ innings twice in his 10-year career.
The next group is headlined by Kershaw, whose odds are nowhere near where you’d find them a couple years ago. For years, the Dodgers’ southpaw could be found at the top of the preseason favorites, but injuries and slightly more mortal performances have changed that.
The 3.03 ERA he posted last year is nothing to turn your nose up at, but it’s also his worst ERA since his rookie season. The advanced numbers back up the fact that he’s not the man he used to be.
Two studs looking to avoid sophomore studs are also in this group — Mike Soroka and Chris Paddack. Soroka of the Braves finished second in the Rookie of the Year vote and he would’ve won if it wasn’t for that meddling Pete Alonso.
Paddack, the colorful Padres youngster, entered the season with some serious buzz thanks to a brilliant spring training. Though he began the season on his way towards ROY candidacy, a 4.01 ERA in the second half ended those hopes.
One name in the middle of the pack that should get some attention is the well-spoken Trevor Bauer. At 50-1, the former Indian certainly has some value if you expect his debut in Cincinnati was a fluke. After posting a 2.21 ERA in 2018, Bauer’s 2019 was an ugly one. A 3.79 ERA in Cleveland before the trade was’t anything special, but that number was over six as a member of the Reds.
One final pitcher I’ll touch on is Chris Archer, whose stock is at an all-time low. Listed at 300-1, Archer will hope to bounce back from the worst season of his career. He had a dominant stretch with the Rays from 2013 to 2015, but has spiraled out of control in recent years — literally.
His 4.1 walks per nine last year ranked 124th out of 130 pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched. That, combined with the 1.9 home runs per nine (also towards the bottom of the league), contributed towards an ERA north of five.
Stay tuned for more baseball futures, value plays and more as we exit the football season and approach Spring Training.