With around 40 games to go in the MLB regular season, contenders are beginning to surface for the American League Cy Young award. However, the race is still plenty hazy and there is no clear favorite. Instead, about five pitchers are all neck-and-neck.
Heading into this season, names like Chris Sale, David Price, Dallas Keuchel, Chris Archer, and Felix Hernandez headed the group. Yet, only two of those hurlers remain in the running as we welcome September.
Joining them are two pairs of overlooked arms from the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox. If any one of them can shine through their next eight(ish), he’ll separate from the pack and become the Cy Young favorite. But, for now, equality abounds.
Here’s a look at the very clouded and crowded race for the award.
17-3, 3.05 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
Finding odds on Happ before the season started would have been even more impressive than what he’s done on the mound this year. The voters may struggle voting for the lefty due to the run-support he has received, but wins are always a sexy stat to the voters, and his ERA and WHIP are both solid, if not spectacular.
If he can drop his ERA below 3.00, his chances would improve dramatically, as the last eight winners have all had sub-three ERAs.
12-4, 2.88 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
No Ranger has ever won the Cy Young award, but Hamels has a good chance of ending that drought. His ERA is giving him a lot of credibility, but he’ll need to add to that win column.
12-2, 2.84 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
Sanchez has been the ace that the Blue Jays have needed him to be while Marco Estrada battles some back troubles and Marcus Stroman has an up-and-down year. If there weren’t still lingering rumors of him moving to the bullpen, he’d be the favorite.
16-3, 3.30 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
He’s J.A. Happ with a worse ERA and one fewer win.
14-6, 3.30 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
He may have cut up his jersey, but he hasn’t completely shredded his Cy Young hopes. He has the record and WHIP to win it, but his ERA is only slightly better than his career-worst (3.41 in 2015).
13-5, 3.01 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
In his first full-year as a starter, Wright and his knuckleball have teamed with Porcello to make up for the woes of David Price. Maybe Price will share a portion of his $30 million with Wright, who is making just over a half-million this year.
10-3, 2.25 ERA, 1.02 WHIP
He’s a shoo-in for AL Rookie of the Year and he’s becoming a legitimate contender for the Cy Young, too.
10-1, 2.73 ERA, 0.98 WHIP
After being plucked from the pen and inserted into the starting rotation in mid-May, Duffy (and the Rally Mantis) has the Royals back in the hunt.
13-8, 3.15 ERA, 1.02 WHIP
At the end of May, we were discussing whether Kluber was merely a one-year wonder, but he’s used the last 2.5 months to return to true ace form and silence his doubters.
15-4, 3.46 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
His wins may be saving the Orioles’ playoff hopes, but they won’t do the same for his Cy Young hopes.
12-7, 3.44 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
He joins Corey Kluber as the only other pitcher on this list to have won the AL Cy Young. Had he joined Kluber in coming to life in June, his odds would be significantly shorter. Verlander has been red-hot since July, it’s too little too late.
11-4, 3.57 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
Since the beginning of July, Salazar has been awful. The best thing he could do for the Indians is squash the bug that’s chasing them in the Central. (I’m certainly not suggesting that he kills Rally Mantis Jr…)
9-9, 2.85 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
Felix Hernandez (who went 13-12 in 2010) is the only starter who’s ever won the award with a record near .500. His ERA was a lot better than Quintana’s (2.27).
8-6, 3.34 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
While August has not been kind to him, he and Salazar should receive a ton of credit for the Indians’ success this season. Not sure if the voters will take that into account, though.
37/37 Saves, 0.54 ERA, 0.82 WHIP
He may be a reliever, but he’s also the best closer in the league and he’s having a phenomenal season. The last non-starter to win the AL Cy Young was Dennis Eckersley in 1992, who recorded 51 saves and posted a 1.91 ERA.
Photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].
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