NL Cy Young odds update: Is Alcantara fairly priced as runaway favorite?

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After years of teasing elite upside, Sandy Alcantara finally put it all together across a dominant first half of this MLB season. And he's the runaway favorite to win the NL Cy Young - at least, according to oddsmakers.

As of Tuesday, the Marlins ace is dealing as the -130 favorite at Barstool Sportsbook to win the award for the first time in his six-year MLB career. Only reigning winner Corbin Burnes (+450) is priced shorter than 10-1, while Max Fried (+1400) and Joe Musgrove (+1400) are the only other pitchers with better than 20-1 odds.

Unlike last year's race, which was one of the narrowest in MLB history, oddsmakers are essentially calling this one with two months left in the season. Yet it's fair to ask: Should Alcantara really be this big of a favorite?

PLAYER ODDS
Sandy Alcantara -130
Corbin Burnes +450
Max Fried +1400
Joe Musgrove +1400
Carlos Rodon +2100
Tony Gonsolin +2100
Zack Wheeler +2500
Max Scherzer +4000
Aaron Nola +4300
Clayton Kershaw +6500
Spencer Strider +7500
Logan Webb +8500
Julio Urias +10000
Kyle Wright +10000
Brandon Woodruff +12000
Tyler Anderson +12000
Yu Darvish +12500
Pablo Lopez +12500
Zac Gallen +15000
Miles Mikolas +15000
Chris Bassitt +15000
Eric Lauer +15000
Josh Hader +20000
Adam Wainwright +20000
MacKenzie Gore +20000
Luis Castillo +25000
Charlie Morton +25000
Blake Snell +25000
Jacob deGrom +25000
Sean Manaea +25000
Kyle Hendricks +30000
Madison Bumgarner +40000
Walker Buehler +50000
Anthony DeSclafani +50000
Adrian Houser +50000
German Marquez +50000
Marcus Stroman +50000
Ian Anderson +50000

Make no mistake, Alcantara is one of the best pitchers in baseball and deserves to be in this spot. He was our favorite preseason bet to win NL Cy Young as a 25-1 long shot, and he's exceeded even our lofty expectations through the first half of the season.

Entering Tuesday, the 26-year-old righty led the majors in innings pitched (144 1/3) - nearly 20 more frames than the next-best arm - while pacing the NL in ERA (1.81) and starts (20). He's the only pitcher in MLB with multiple complete games, and he ranks among the best in most box score metrics. It should come as no surprise that he's atop the oddsboard.

Yet his profile is still a peculiar one, as he hasn't statistically dominated in the way you might expect from such a heavy favorite.

Despite his elite fastball, Alcantara has never been much of a strikeout artist. He's actually striking out fewer batters per nine innings (8.3) than at any point since 2019, ranking 20th in the NL alone in that metric. He sits 12th among qualified NL starters in strikeout rate (24.3%) and walk rate (6.6%), though a strong weak-contact rate has helped him post the second-best WHIP (0.90) in the league.

In fact, outside of the most common box score stats like ERA, WAR, and innings pitched, just about every other metric will point you to someone other than Alcantara as the best pitcher in the NL.

If you're judging pitchers by FIP - a common advanced metric for filtering out the effects of defense - Carlos Rodon (2.24), Fried (2.48), and Zack Wheeler (2.78) all grade out better than Alcantara (2.79). Advanced metric SIERA, a derivative of ERA, has Alcantara ranked sixth behind those three, Burnes and Aaron Nola.

That isn't to take away from Alcantara's brilliance but rather highlight just how strange it is to see him as such a clear-cut favorite. Consider last year's winner, Burnes, who finished the season as the clear-cut statistical leader across the board despite the narrow voting results. Sure, he pitched 40-to-50 fewer innings than his counterparts, but he still led the NL in ERA (2.43), FIP (1.63), strikeouts per nine (12.6), home runs per nine (0.4), and fWAR (7.5), among other stats.

Burnes' ERA trailed his peers for much of the season, but his elite strikeout rate and historic FIP always suggested better days ahead for the Brewers ace. By season's end, he was the ERA leader, too, to complement an overall dominant profile.

We haven't seen such overall dominance from Alcantara just yet. That isn't to say it isn't coming - he's been the best pitcher over the first half, and there's no reason he can't replicate that over the back half. But it feels a bit too early to anoint him as the next Cy Young winner.

C Jackson Cowart is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on Twitter (@CJacksonCowart) or email him at cjackson.cowart@thescore.com.

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NL Cy Young odds update: Is Alcantara fairly priced as runaway favorite?
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