By Stuart Kirsch
Do the NL Cy Young Odds Favor a Three-peat for Jacob deGrom back
Though his win-loss record has been rather pedestrian, Jake deGrom has shined in other statistical categories: finishing second in the majors in Pitcher’s WAR and top five in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts in each of the last two seasons. His 2018 ERA sparkled at 1.70 and his stuff was still good enough last year to outpace a crowded Cy Young field.
In each year, he captured 29 of 30 first place Cy votes, even as the Mets could not sniff first place from the middle of the NL East pack. The 31-year old deGromniator leads the field to win the 2020 NL Cy Young award with odds at +350.
Seeking to dethrone deGrom is his Cy Young predecessor, World Series champion Max Scherzer, who himself won two straight awards with the Nationals in 2016 and 2017, plus another in 2013 in the AL while hurling for the Tigers. Scherzer started games one and seven of the 2019 Fall Classic and pitched 30 postseason innings overall with a 2.40 ERA, fanning 37.
Scherzer missed more than a month of the season and still managed an 11-7 record and a 2.92 ERA with 243 strikeouts. Max Scherzer’s odds for a 2020 NL Cy Young are +600.
NL Cy Young Odds: Buehler? Buehler? Dodgers? Dodgers?
A third-year starter for the Dodgers, 25-year-old Walker Buehler is a rising star who may insert himself into the Cy Young conversation with a potent Dodger lineup at his back. Buehler posted a 14-4 season in 2019, increasing his strikeouts per nine and decreasing his walks per nine from his rookie season. He struck out 15 over 12.2 innings while surrendering only one earned run in the NLDS last year.
The only right-hander in the Dodger rotation, Buehler will share the bump with veterans Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, and flamethrowing youngster Julio Urias. Buehler’s odds for a 2020 Cy are +750. Kershaw, the 33 year-old three-time Cy Young winner goes off at +1800. Urias has odds at +5500.
What are the NL Cy Odds for Hader to Win the Cy From the Pen?
In a shortened season with a truncated spring training transitioning to summer camp and the real games, starting pitching in general may not be up to typical standards, nor on par with the progress of hitters and short bullpen arms. Enter Josh Hader, Milwaukee’s 26-year-old multipurpose bullpen tool.
Though the primary 2019 closer, the Brewers’ lefty made 61 relief appearances in 2019, 25 for multiple innings. He saved 37 games and fanned 138 hitters in 75.2 innings of work. With former closer Corey Knebel back from Tommy John surgery, skipper Craig Counsell has even more flexibility to use Hader in high-leverage situations. Josh Hader’s 2020 NL Cy Young odds are +3500.
Vets and Youth to keep an eye on
The NL is loaded with talented pitchers who can get off to a strong start and enter the Cy Young competition. Cardinal Jack Flaherty went 11-8 with 2.75 ERA in his sophomore year. His odds are +900. Reds’ hurler Luis Castillo enters his third season with odds at +1300. Philly Aaron Nola looks to rebound to his 2018 form when he led the league in Pitcher’s WAR; his odds are +1800. Veterans Stephen Strasburg (+1100), Yu Darvish (+1300), and Trevor Bauer (+1600) round out the top of the charts.