Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Gerrit Cole.
- Last year, Blake Snell (300-1) and Jacob deGrom (20-1) took home Cy Young Awards, rewarding bettors who faded the favorites.
- In 2019, Gerrit Cole (18-1) will look to continue his dominance after coming off a career year in Houston.
- In the National League, Noah Syndergaard (12-1) should be in the running if he stays healthy, while Walker Buehler (15-1) hopes to improve upon a very impressive rookie year.
Betting on the Cy Young is no cup o’ tea. If you’re not mentally prepared, I suggest you stop reading now.
Each league has a couple of hefty favorites topping the list, as was the case last year. But, the big question is whether or not a 20-1 and 300-1 candidate take home the hardware again this year?
American League Cy Young Odds
So far, Chris Sale has been a popular choice at the Westgate and has moved from +400 to +200 to become the favorite. He was the favorite last year, too, and appeared to be on his way to winning the award before being sidelined for most of the second half of the season.
I would personally stay away from any pitcher winning the Cy Young at a measly 2-1 payout, though better odds for Sale do exist.
In 2017, he struggled in the second half of the year and blew his stranglehold on the Cy Young to a dominant stretch run from Corey Kluber. Last year, Sale pitched just 29 innings in the second half, and when he pitched in the postseason, he was throwing much slower and struggled mightily with control. Given his injury concerns, he’s a risky pick.
Thanks to Sale’s injuries, Blake Snell was able to take home the hardware at a gigantic 300-1 payout. He also needed to strand a preposterous 88% of baserunners, the second highest in a season all time, to achieve his 1.89 ERA.
Here are a couple of players I like this year, though I admittedly am less enthused about the American League than I am about the National League:
AL Cy Young Value Bets
Gerrit Cole +1800
Cole’s transition from Pittsburgh to Houston was a massive success. The former No. 1 overall pick had flashed glimpses of greatness with the Buccos, but was never quite among the league’s elite. He was last year.
He threw way more four-seamers and curveballs in 2018, while almost shelving his sinker entirely. In the process, he posted a K/9 of 12.4 — much higher than his previous career best of 9.0. He also, however, posted a career worst BB/9 of 2.88 and ground ball rate of 36.0%. Evidently, it did not matter all that much.
Cole and Justin Verlander are among the league’s best 1-2 punches, and while Verlander is the much more well-known name, he did just turn 36 years old. Cole, on the other hand, is in his prime.
If he continues to rack up the strikeouts, he’ll have the chance to win a ton of games and post a low ERA — especially if he can drop that walk rate into the lower 2s.
Longshot Alert: Shane “The Biebs” Bieber +10000
The Indians starting rotation is absolutely stacked. You all know Kluber, Carlos Carrascoand Trevor Bauer. Most of you probably found out about Mike Clevinger last year, too. But have you heard of The Biebs?
Shane Bieber made 19 starts for Cleveland last year in his rookie season, going 11-5, but posting a subpar 4.55 ERA. ‘Twas bad luck, I tell ya!
Of 140 pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched, Bieber’s batting average on balls in play of .356 was dead last! The difference between his ERA and FIP … 137th! Given his K/9 of 9.26 and BB/9 of just 1.81, his ERA could’ve and should’ve been much closer to three.
He’s a little older, a little wiser and will surely have better luck in 2019. Couple that with the fact that he gets to pitch in the worst division in baseball and I believe he’s worth tossing a couple of bucks on at 100-1.
National League Cy Young Odds
Jacob deGrom easily won the National League Cy Young last year, cashing tickets at 20-1. Side note — I personally like the 15-1 to 20-1 range the most when it comes to betting on these major awards.
The National League had two pitchers I immediately bet when this year’s odds opened at my books — Walker Buehler (+3000) and Jack Flaherty (+6600). Apparently both were popular choices, as their odds have been essentially halved around the market.
Flaherty can be found between +2000 and +3300 — honestly probably not worth it at this point.
Here are a couple of names I still like, though, including Buehler.
NL Cy Young Value Bets
Noah Syndergaard +1200
Syndergaard was a choice of mine last year, but unfortunately had a second straight injury-shortened season, helping contribute to an all-around miserable Cy Young betting performance for yours truly.
When at his best, Thor is definitely among the league’s elite. My bets on him in each of the past two seasons are based on his 2016 performance — 10.68 K/9, 2.11 BB/9, 2.60 ERA, 2.29 FIP. Put up those numbers and you’ll be in the running.
His teammate won last year, and may have been aided by a certain element unknown to most folks. Citi Field sports some strange otherworldly gravitational pull. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s an anti-Coors Field. Read this full article by Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs to get the details, but as the title states, there’s something strange about Citi Field.
Hopefully, Syndergaard’s stats are helped by that and we get a little cash out of it. The best price I’ve seen for him as of March 14 is +1854.
Walker Buehler +1500
A lot of people around the country got to see Buehler wheeling and dealing in the World Series last year, in which he went seven scoreless with just two hits and no walks in one start.
The promising young starter may very well be the Dodgers’ ace of the future, as Clayton Kershaw’s days of dominance may be dwindling. There must be a reason Buehler has better odds than Kershaw at some books, right?