There is absolutely no drama this Major League Baseball season when it comes to the National League Cy Young Award. New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom is having a historic season and barring major injury or falling off a cliff completely will win the Cy Young for a third time. He’s a -1000 favorite on the MLB odds, way ahead of Brandon Woodruff, Kevin Gausman and Zack Wheeler, all at +1400.
MLB | National League Cy Young Award
However, the American League has a race between the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole (-110) and two White Sox pitchers: Lefty Carlos Rodon (+200) and veteran right-hander Lance Lynn (+450).
Cole was the preseason favorite and it a very solid 9-4 with a 2.68 ERA and an MLB-best 147 strikeouts. Cole’s 147 strikeouts through his first 18 starts are the second-most by any Yankees pitcher in his first 18 starts of a season, trailing only David Cone’s 153K in 1997.
Cole’s four games with at least 12K this season are tied with Al Downing (four in 1963) for the most in franchise history. Finally, Cole’s six double-digit strikeout games this season are tied for the fifth-most in franchise history, trailing only Cone (nine in 1998), Ron Guidry (eight in 1978 and seven in 1979) and Downing (eight in 1963). Cole is just the second Yankee in the last 20 seasons (since 2002) to record at least six double-digit strikeout games in a season (also CC Sabathia’s six 10K+ games in 2012).
Rather shockingly, no member of the Yankees has won the AL Cy Young since Roger Clemens in 2001. The last White Sox pitcher to win it was Jack McDowell in 1993.
Lynn (1.99) and Rodon (2.31) rank first and third in the AL in ERA. They are the 13th set of Sox teammates to rank in the Top 5 of the American League in ERA at the break, and the first since Kevin Tapani (2nd) and Wilson Álvarez (5th) in 1996. The previous 11 occurrences were between 1938 and 1967.
Rodon is 7-3 with 130 strikeouts. He had a no-hitter vs. Cleveland earlier this season that was just two outs from a perfect game. Not bad for a guy that the White Sox non-tendered in December and didn’t re-sign until just before the start of spring training. A torn elbow ligament in early 2019 cost him that season and most of 2020 as well.
“If you go back and look at old videos of me and dive into those mechanics, I was kind of a crossfire guy. When I landed, my stride to home was real short and closed off toward the plate,” Rodón says. “I think a lot of it had to do with injuries, how to throw a baseball without feeling something hurting. A lot of bad habits are created in that process. And I was getting some results. Not great, but good enough.”
Lynn was acquired this past winter from the Texas Rangers in a trade. He’s 9-3 with 105 strikeouts. The White Sox have ridden their starting rotation to first place in the American League Central standings, and Lynn has been arguably the team’s most reliable horse.
“He’s just a guy you’re going to give the ball to, and he’s just going to be out there, he’s not going to want to come out of the game,” White Sox reliever Codi Heuer said. “Every time Lance is on the mound, I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s Lance Day. If I’m coming into the game today, I’m shutting it down for my boy.’ Because he’s going out there and leaving it out on the field. That’s contagious.”
Cleveland’s Shane Bieber is the defending AL Cy Young winner but a +2200 longer shot because he has been out since mid-June with a right shoulder strain. Bieber’s injury surfaced June 13 after throwing 107 pitches in a 6-2 loss to the Mariners. He’s still not close to returning.Expert Prediction
- Carlos Rodon
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