MLB NL Cy Young Breakdown
The MLB season is just 24 hours away, so we’re going to continue with our series speculating on how the season will go. After covering the Rookie of the Year awards, we’re now going to turn our attention to the Cy Young races. Below we break down the current betting odds for the NL Cy Young award, as well as give you our picks for betting favorites and a few darkhorses.
Make sure to read our AL Rookie of the Year and NL Rookie of the year pieces here
NL Cy Young Odds
|Player||Team||Odds to Win CY|
Cy Young of the Year: Top Picks
Corbin Burnes (+700)
Last year’s Cy Young winner is still not the favorite to be this year’s winner. It’s not often you see that, but here we are. In 167 innings last season, Burnes pitched to a 2.43 ERA and 0.94 WHIP, while registering 11 wins and striking out 234 batters to just 34 walks.
His 30.4 K-BB% was the best of any starting pitcher in baseball, as was his 16.6% swinging-strike rate. Pairing that with his impeccable control and you clearly have one of the most dominant arms in baseball. However, you’re getting him at more favorable odds than Max Scherzer, who is 37-years-old and already starting the season with hamstring concerns.
Just 26-years-old, last year was also Burnes’ first full season as a starter in Major League Baseball. As a result, we should expect to see him increase his 167 innings pitched up closer to 180 innings. This will give him more opportunities to rack up strikeouts and wins on a solid Brewers team. The talent pool with NL starting pitching is deep, but if Burnes pitches at anything close to the level he did last year, it’s going to be hard to pry the award from him.
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Walker Buehler (+800)
One of those high-upside arms who could challenge Burnes is Dodgers ace Walker Buehler. The 27-year-old finished 4th in Cy Young voting last year and the back of a quietly impressive season that saw him pitch 207.2 innings with a 2.47 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 212 strikeouts, and 16 wins.
Despite his impressive ratios, Buehler didn’t have the strikeout rates that many other Cy Young contenders did. His 26% strikeout rate was 19th in baseball for qualified starters, behind NL starters like Joe Musgrove, Tyler Mahle, and Charlie Morton. Of course, part of the case for Buehler is the likely innings he will throw and his ability to limit hard contact, holding batters to just a .197 average last year, second-best in baseball.
The talk all offseason has been the ridiculously elite lineup the Dodgers are putting together, and those bats could help propel Buehler’s win total to a number that really stands out above his competition. It could be the edge he needs to get him over the hump in the Cy Young race.
Cy Young: Darkhorses
Jacob deGrom (+1200)
deGrom remains the most talented pitcher in baseball. We saw that this spring training when he was casually throwing 99 mph fastballs by hitters. He’s a two-time Cy Young award winner and was perhaps pitching at his peak last year, compiling a 1.08 ERA and 0.55 WHIP with 146 strikeouts in 92 innings.
Just think about that for a second. He had 146 strikeouts in 92 innings. His teammate, Marcus Stroman, and Atlanta Braves ace Max Fried both had 158 strikeouts in a full season.
Of course, the issue for deGrom is that he’s not going to have a full season. Again. The 33-year-old is battling issues with his throwing arm again and likely will be out until at least June. There’s also a clear risk that he misses the entire season considering he has not yet undergone surgery to address any of the issues he was experiencing last year.
However, if he does come back in June and is able to pitch through the rest of the regular season, we could see 130 innings of the best pitcher in baseball. Considering, he finished 9th in the voting last year despite only throwing 92 innings, he would certainly insert himself into the conversation. Expect the odds for this to get higher as the season begins, which could make it intriguing for a low dollar figure if we start hearing some good news on his recovery.
Joe Musgrove (+2500)
We’ll end with one of the trendy picks to make a big leap this year and join the elites. In his first season with San Diego last year, Musgrove threw 181.1 innings with a 3.18 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, while racking up 203 strikeouts and 11 wins. His 27.3% strikeout rate was 14th in all of baseball, and his 12.7% swinging strike rate was 13th.
It was another year of continued growth for the 28-year-old, who has been optimizing his strikeout stuff since early 2019. He did allow more hard contact this year than in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, and his walk rate is a little higher than we’d like to see, but that’s why Musgrove wasn’t in contention last year.
The argument for Musgrove this year is that he possesses the pitch mix and upside to emerge as a low-ERA and high-strikeout pitcher who tends to rate well in the Cy Young awards. The Padres have a new pitching coach in Ruben Nieblas that has been drawing rave reviews, and there is certainly another level for Musgrove if he can iron out some of his command concerns and get back to 2020 swinging-strike rates.
If he does that, on a good team in San Diego, and sees some of the top pitchers in the NL not pitch to 2021 standards, he could be a sleeper candidate to take home this award.
For more MLB Future of League Leaders odds, check DraftKings Sportsbook