The Cy Young race in both the American and National League is still technically undecided this year, but two pitchers have emerged as betting favorites with just over a month to go.
Gerrit Cole spearheads a dominant Houston Astros staff with a 2.87 ERA, 3.11 FIP, and a ridiculous 13.0 strikeouts per nine innings - even better than his MLB-leading 12.4 K/9 a year ago. Still, oddsmakers give the field better odds than Cole (11-10) to win this year's AL award.
The NL race is a little less crowded, with Hyun-Jin Ryu reminding Los Angeles Dodgers fans what it's like to watch an ace in his prime. He's the 20-29 (-145) favorite to win the award with his mind-boggling 1.64 ERA, which would rank as the 68th-lowest single-season mark in MLB history.
Can anyone catch those two? Here are the current Cy Young odds for each league, with our best bets to steal the honor from the current favorites:
|PLAYER||AY CY YOUNG ODDS|
Cole has been a strikeout machine this year, but Verlander is beating his teammate in nearly every other category. The former AL MVP leads all pitchers in strikeouts (228), WHIP (.837), and hits per nine (5.7), and he's pitched more innings (169.2) than anyone in the AL.
The sheer load that Verlander has carried for the Astros could be enough to give him the nod over his teammate.
Morton, 35, can make a curious case for the award this year. He leads the AL in ERA (2.77) and FIP (2.67), and that production is usually enough to merit strong Cy Young consideration. But he's still a distant third behind the two Astros stars.
His ERA dipped as low as 2.32 in early July, but he's sporting a 3.95 mark in the seven games since as the Rays cling to the final AL wild-card playoff spot. If Tampa Bay sneaks into the playoffs, and Morton rediscovers his earlier success, he's got a real shot.
Minor's numbers aren't quite on par with his peers - in part because of his home venue - but the Rangers lefty owns the AL's best ERA+ (174), which is adjusted for ballpark. He's also posted the highest WAR among pitchers (7.3), even higher than Cole or the NL favorite Ryu, according to Baseball-Reference.
Team success won't boost the 31-year-old's resume, and his total resume pales in comparison to those of his elite peers. But if voters place a premium on rewarding a pitcher for what he can control, the southpaw could be worth a long-shot bet.
|PLAYER||NY CY YOUNG ODDS|
|Hyun-Jin Ryu||20-29 (-145)|
|Max Scherzer||11-10 (+110)|
It'll be hard for voters to overlook Ryu's ridiculous ERA, but it's Scherzer who leads all pitchers in FIP (2.09) while boasting MLB's best strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.56). Both numbers are better than they were in any of his three Cy Young seasons (2013, 2016, 2017).
Scherzer finished in the top five in Cy Young voting each of the past six years, including No. 2 a season ago. He could finish second this campaign, too, but he's got a shot at winning the award if Ryu's ERA normalizes during the final month.
DeGrom may suffer from setting too high of a standard last season when he ripped through the NL to the tune of a 1.70 ERA and 1.98 FIP, winning the Cy Young and finishing fifth in MVP voting. He hasn't performed to that level this year (2.61 ERA, 2.81 FIP), but deGrom still ranks in the top four in both categories and has produced a sub-1.00 ERA since July 19.
Fittingly, his hot stretch coincides with the Mets' push for the final NL playoff spot. Team narrative plays a key role here if deGrom wants to make it two straight Cy Youngs.
It'd be truly stunning if Kershaw beats out his teammate in this race. But if Ryu fades down the stretch, the former NL MVP could swoop in to steal the award.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner has been firing lately, posting a 1.40 ERA in July and August to go along with at least nine strikeouts in five of his last seven starts. That pace could very well lift him to being named the NL's best pitcher for a fourth time.