2021 AL Cy Young preview: Cole favored ahead of defending champ Bieber
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Shane Bieber was flat-out ridiculous in 2020.

Even after cutting ties with a bulk of their rotation through free agency and trades, the Indians struck gold with the 6-foot-3 right-hander. Bieber went scorched earth to the tune of an 8-1 record over 12 starts and owned a 1.63 ERA, 14.2 K/9, and 3.3 WAR, which ultimately won him the Cy Young.

And he's not even the 2021 favorite in a loaded AL.

Here, we'll dive into the upcoming season's prices and gloss over some initial impressions.

Player Odds
Gerrit Cole (NYY) +350
Shane Bieber (CLE) +400
Lucas Giolito (CWS) +450
Tyler Glasnow (TB) +900
Hyun-jin Ryu (TOR) +1300
Jose Berrios (MIN) +1700
Lance Lynn (CWS) +1700
Corey Kluber (NYY) +1800
Kenta Maeda (MIN) +2000
Dallas Keuchel (CWS) +2200
Marco Gonzalez (SEA) +2500
Jesus Luzardo (OAK) +2500
Framber Valdez (HOU) +2500
Luis Severino (NYY) +3000
Zack Greinke (HOU) +3300
Andrew Heaney (LAA) +3300
Nate Pearson (TOR) +3300
Frankie Montas (OAK) +3500
Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) +4000
Dylan Bundy (LAA) +4000
Dylan Cease (CWS) +4000
Nathan Eovaldi (BOS) +4000
Shohei Ohtani (LAA) +4000
Mike Minor (KC) +4000
Alex Cobb (LAA) +4400
Triston McKenzie (CLE) +5000
Casey Mize (DET) +5000
Brady Singer (KC) +5000
Randy Dobnak (MIN) +6000
Cristian Javier (HOU) +6000
Jose Urquidy (HOU) +6000
Justin Dunn (SEA) +6600

Cole leads the pack

Surprise, surprise. After leading the American League at +275 for the award just last season, Cole's back on top. He finished fourth in AL Cy Young voting a year ago thanks to a 7-3 record. However, his ERA (2.84), K/9 (11.6), and WAR (2.2) weren't even close to Bieber's.

Cole's typically in contention, placing top-five in three straight years. Plus, with the Yankees projected for north of 100 wins, that'll certainly help pad his resume.

FanGraphs' Steamer projections favor Bieber over Cole this year, but not by much.

White Sox well-represented

The only other team with multiple candidates within the top eight is the White Sox, with Giolito and Lynn.

The former burst onto the scene with a breakout 2019 season before coming back down to earth during last year's shortened campaign. Meanwhile, Lynn is fresh off two of the best seasons of his career.

And then there's Keuchel, who turned in a brilliant first season with the White Sox. He'll likely need to dominate more to impress the voters, though: he hasn't posted a K/9 better than 8.0 since 2015, which was ironically the last time he won the Cy Young.

The markets are high on Chicago this season. The franchise has the best odds to win the Central and is in the second tier of World Series contenders behind the Yankees and Dodgers. If they make a deep run, the rotation will be a big reason for it.

Orioles, Rangers miss the cut

Notice a couple of teams missing? The Orioles and Rangers are the only two AL teams without a pitcher listed. PECOTA projections tab Baltimore for a league-low 66 wins, with Texas right behind at 67.

The 2019 Orioles became the first team ever to allow more than 300 home runs in a season, and now feature a staff headlined by Matt Harvey and Felix Hernandez.

The Rangers have a lot of recent former pitchers on the list - Lynn, Minor, and Kluber. The 2021 rotation's unproven and should get beat up plenty by the rest of the AL West.

Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.

2021 AL Cy Young preview: Cole favored ahead of defending champ Bieber
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