With only a few months left in the year, we still don’t have a clear front runner in both Leagues on who is going to win the Cy Young award. In the American League, an argument could be made that Dallas Keuchel, Astros, Sonny Gray, A’s, Felix Hernandez, Mariners, and Chris Sale, White Sox, are good enough to win the Cy Young award this year. Same could be said for Zack Greinke, Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, and Max Scherzer, Nationals, for the National League. When it comes to the end of the year, without any injuries, these men will probably be in the top in voting, with only one actually wining it. Let’s take a look at who we think is the front runner and will end up the eventual winner in this year’s close race.
American League Cy Young Winner:
Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
Only 26 years old, 4-time All Star selection, 6th in the Cy Young voting in 2012, 5th in 2013, and 3rd in 2014. Currently leading the league in strikeouts, 170 with no signs of slowing down, tied for the lowest WHIP of a AL starting pitcher, 0.99, and not a dominating but impressive 2.85 ERA. One of the big reasons why we think that Chris Sale will win is that he is the sexy pick. Having a 8-game streak of throwing 10 or more strikeouts, which ties the record, makes Sale a household name over the not as popular Dallas Keuchel and Sonny Gray. Not taking away what anybody has done, but ESPN going crazy every night over how Chris Sale had his streak going boosted his popularity.
Not calling the Cy Young award a popularity contest, but when those voters see Chris Sale’s name, the first thing they are going to think is “strikeout machine”. Especially if Sale ends the year as the strikeout leader for the AL. Honestly, the only thing holding Sale back from winning the award is if the White Sox don’t make it to the playoffs. The team making the postseason isn’t always a requirement for a pitcher to get the Cy Young, but it sure helps. The Astros making the postseason will most certainly boost Dallas Keuchel’s chances of winning the Cy Young. But if Sale keeps on throwing those strikeouts and keeps that ERA under 3.00, he has the best shot in winning the Cy Young this year.
Graphic via kingsofkauffman
National League Cy Young Winner:
Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers
While we did say that there might not be a clear frontrunner for the Cy Young, Zack Greinke is looking great at this point of the season. Greinke leads the NL with a 1.37 ERA, ties the WHIP leader with a 0.83, and is right now only giving up a little more than 6 hits per game. The only statistic that Greinke doesn’t look amazing in is his strikeout numbers, only 120. And while that is a good number, its far behind the NL leader and Dodger teammate Clayton Kershaw who has 185. In fact, Greinke is 13th on the list of NL strikeout leaders. But also like Chris Sale, Greinke has had his fair of time in the news as well, having a scoreless streak of 45 2/3 innings, a few games short of the 59 inning streak by Orel Hershiser that is the record.
And Greinke’s 9-3 record is also impressive. Not necessarily the amount of wins and losses, the two losses look great, but the fact that Greinke has started 20 games, with only 12 showing up on his win/loss record. Out of the eight games that ended with a no decision for Greinke, he gave up one earned run or less in seven of them, that’s 88%. What more does Greinke have to do to get a win? His record could easily be 16-3 right now. If Greinke did have that 16-3 record, with his 1.37 ERA, he would already be crowned as the Cy Young winner, no questions asked.
While we think that Chris Sale and Zack Greinke are the current frontrunners (maybe Greinke more than Sale), there is still plenty of baseball left. It’s one thing to have a few good months and climb up in the stats, it’s an entirely different thing to be dominating throughout the entire season. That’s the entire reason there is the Cy Young award, to acknowledge how great a pitcher has been. This award isn’t just handed out, it’s one of the most prestigious in sports, and in the recent decades the winner gets to see a huge contract payout afterwards. So whoever ends up winning the award, kudos to them as going down in the history books as a one of the great pitchers of a generation.
Graphic via truebluela
Graphic via lookoutlanding