Every year, a couple of random pitchers become absolute aces for their ball club. At times, fans will see it coming, but before the season, some of the good pitchers weren’t expected to pitch as good as they have been.
Let’s break down the top Cy Young candidates as we approach the second half of the season.
(Odds courtesy DraftKings)
American League Cy Young Race Candidates
1. Shane McClanahan +205
Shane McClanahan is going to get the start for the American League in the All-Star game on Tuesday. The American League side has recognized how well the left-hander has pitched and will give him that honor. That might not be his final honor of the season.
McClanahan leads the MLB in ERA and WHIP and is tied in second place with 147 strikeouts. It’s hard to do what he’s done, but to do it while playing in the American East division is extraordinary. Plus, McClanahan is only 25 years old, and the Rays are so good at finding pitching gems.
Anyway, McClanahan only has one true candidate that can sneak in and beat him for the AL Cy Young, and it’s someone much older than him and someone that nobody expected would be in this position again.
2. Justin Verlander +260
It’s Justin Verlander. Verlander has 12 wins and an ERA of 1.89 at 39 years old. He’s also holding a .88 WHIP on the season.
Verlander already has two AL Cy Young awards from 2011 and 2019, and he also won the AL MVP in 2011 for his dominant season. So this is nothing new, but Verlander was out of baseball for a year due to having Tommy John surgery.
Now he’s back throwing like this at 39.
But, I’m going to have to assume that Verlander will eventually struggle with fatigue after the injury. I think this is McClanahan’s to lose.
Bet: Shane McClanahan (+205 at DraftKings)
National League Cy Young Race Candidates
1. Sandy Alcantara -125
Sandy Alcantara has more than a 50% chance of winning the NL Cy Young award. He’s 9-4 on the year but also has a 1.76 ERA with a .90 WHIP. On top of that, he’s also earned 123 strikeouts and has gone deep in so many games this year. Being able to go deep in games has allowed him to really sky-rocket up the NL Cy Young board.
Not many pitchers are doing that in this day and age.
2. Corbin Burnes +600
Burnes ended up winning the NL Cy Young award last year after putting together a season where he has an ERA of 2.43 in 28 starts. This year, he has a 2.14 ERA with a lower WHIP and is also on pace for more innings pitched.
But with that said, Alcantara still has better numbers than Burnes this season. As long as Alcantara doesn’t fatigue from going so deep in games this season, this award is his.
Bet: Sandy Alcantara (+600 at DraftKings)
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