Fewer than 50 games remain for MLB teams as the regular season advances to the end of the 162-game season. That means pitchers have less than 10 starts remaining, and many will start fewer than that.
With such little time for other hurlers to make a case, pitchers in each league have distanced themselves in MLB Cy Young odds.
AL Cy Young Odds
These are the Cy Young favorites in the Junior Circuit:
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Old Man Verlander Same as Old Verlander
When Justin Verlander made only one start in a 28-month span from October 2019 to April 2022, few experts thought the veteran pitcher could regain his stature as one of the elite pitchers in baseball.
Wrong those experts were to doubt Verlander, a generational talent who is having a resurgent season for the Houston Astros, the team most fans like to hate and underestimate.
Verlander is truly “Must-See JV” again: he’s 15-3 in 22 starts through August 16, and he leads the AL with an ERA under two runs per game. The 39-year-old is showing no signs of rust after undergoing Tommy John surgery late in 2020. Combined in 2018 and 2019, Verlander’s four-seam fastball averaged 94.8 miles per hour. This season, it’s coming in at 95.0 mph. His slider is performing just as well as it did pre-surgery.
Verlander has two Cy Young Awards to his credit, and has finished second in award voting three times. His “award shares” for the Cy Young rank eighth all-time. One could argue that the tall right-hander should have won the hardware each of the three times he was runner-up.
Cease leads Verlander in Wins Above Replacement (WAR), but trails in the all-important ERA category, as well as hits per nine innings. If Cease can get himself to 17-18 wins and inch close to Verlander in ERA, he may get enough votes to slip by and win the award. Verlander wins the narrative and if he gets 20 wins, even though the “W” is meaningless, it’s difficult to see voters denying him a third Cy Young.
NL Cy Young Odds
- Sandy Alcantara, Marlins: -300 via DraftKings (-450 at Caesars)
- Corbin Burnes, Brewers: +800 DraftKings (+1200 Caesars)
- Max Fried, Braves: +1900 DraftKings (+1600 Caesars)
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Marlins Ace Secure in Top Position to Win Award
The Miami Marlins have a habit of developing pitchers. That’s the good news. But it rarely translates into a winning season. Did you know the Marlins have never finished in first place? Yes, the franchise has two World Series titles (more than the Cardinals, Tigers, Indians, Rangers, Pirates, Orioles, Blue Jays, Mets, Mariners, Padres, and Reds have combined in the last quarter-century). But the Marlins have never had a first-place team.
None of that matters to Sandy Alcantara, a flamethrower who has a career losing record but is enjoying probably the greatest single season a Marlins pitcher has ever had. Through his first 24 starts in 2022, Alcantara has a 1.92 ERA. He’s surrendered two earned runs or less in 20 of his 214 starts. If you’re into the “quality start,” Alcantara is great with that: 18 this season to lead the NL.
Unlike Verlander, Alcantara doesn’t have a serious challenger to his Cy Young Award claim.
Fried and Burnes are prototypes of the current “ace.” Neither pitcher typically sees the seventh inning, which means they usually only see the opposing lineup two to three times. In contrast, Alcantara has pitched into the eighth inning in half of his starts. That’s an old-school ace, you whippersnappers.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Cy Young Award
The most esteemed award given to a pitcher in MLB is named for Denton True Young, who tossed his first big league game in 1890. No one called him Denton, because…who would want to be called “Denton.” He was known as “Cyclone,” which was shortened to “Cy.” Why Cyclone? Becuase Young’s fastball was superfast. In an era when teams utilized a four-man or sometimes even three-man rotation, Young pitched a lot, and he won a lot. His career win total is 511 (yes, really). A figure that dare we say will never be surpassed.
The Cy Young Award was established in 1956, one year after Hall of Famer Cy Young passed away. The award was given to only one pitcher in all of baseball until 1967, when it was expanded to include an award for both the American and National Leagues.
Roger Clemens won the Cy Young Award a record seven times, six in the AL and one in the NL. He won his Cy Young awards in 1986, 1987, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2001, and 2004.