National League Cy Young Award Winners 2021 Predictions & Odds
The days are getting longer. The weather is getting warmer. And that baseball itch is almost too much to handle.
The season is so close you can smell it and now that’s all that’s left is putting your money where your mouth is. Now is the time to call your shot on who will be the best pitcher in the National League and we’ve got a guide that should be helpful.
These are the betting favorites to win the 2021 NL Cy Young Award — we will break down their chances and the value you would get if you placed a bet on them.
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2021 NL Cy Young Award Odds
Odds taken from BetMGM, updated on April 12, 2021.
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Favorites to Win the National League Cy Young Award 2021
Jacob DeGrom, New York Mets
Let’s get this out of the way. Pound for pound, Jacob DeGrom is the best pitcher in the MLB. The combination of his “stuff” and his accuracy makes him a nearly unhittable pitcher.
He’s won two of the last four NL Cy Young Awards and has finished in the top three each of the last three seasons. In each of those seasons, he’s had an ERA below 2.50, a WHIP below 0.972, and pitched more than 200 innings. And in a way, he seems to be getting better. He averaged a career-best 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings last season.
Any way you slice it, DeGrom has been unhittable for the better part of a decade — starting when he was named Rookie of the Year in 2014 –and he’s always a good bet.
Trevor Bauer, Los Angeles Dodgers
Another solid bet, new Los Angeles Dodgers ace Trevor Bauer. For starters, he is the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, so he has the pedigree. But also, he’s entering the prime of his career.
Bauer is the highest-paid player in baseball for a reason. His power fastball and wipeout breaking ball are one of the most impressive combinations of pitches in baseball. But there are a few reasons I don’t like the value here.
First of all, 2020 was his first truly dominant season, and even that was really only two months. Bauer has never put together consecutive seasons with a sub-4.00 ERA and he’s only a two-time All-Star.
While I think he has another great season and very well might be a big part of a World Series title, I just don’t see him repeating.
Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
Max Scherzer comes off of his first bad season in the last eight years. And even when he’s “bad,” he still goes 5-4 with a 3.72 ERA and strikes out 92 batters in 67.1 innings.
But at the end of the day, this is still mad Max. In the seven years prior to the pandemic-shortened season, Scherzer was a seven-time All-Star, finished top five in Cy Young voting every season, and won a league-best three Cy Young Awards during that stretch.
If the Nationals are going to compete at all, Scherzer needs to be the ace we know he can be. This payoff is better than Bauer’s.
You know a pitching staff is deep when Walker Buehler — 2019 All-Star and one of the brightest young players in the game — isn’t starting until the third game of the season.
Clayton Kershaw got the Opening Day nod and the reigning Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer will likely pitch game two. But that doesn’t matter to Buehler. He’s just likely going to pick up where he left off last season which was dominant in the postseason.
Buehler was held back last year working his way back from injury, but still went 1-0 in eight starts with a 3.44 ERA and 0.955 WHIP. I expect a bounce-back year from Beuhler, but I don’t think he should be fourth on this list.
Yu Darvish, Aaron Nola, Blake Snell
This is an interesting trio because it’s the two new shiny toys in San Diego alongside a pitcher who is under a lot of pressure to lead a talented team that consistently comes up short back to the playoffs.
Yu Darvish finished second in the NL Cy Young voting last season. He had a seven-game stretch where he went six innings or further and gave up one run or fewer in every contest. He finished the season going 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA.
Blake Snell left us by throwing five nearly perfect innings in the World Series before getting pulled prematurely, which consequently led to the Rays giving away the championship. But the message in all of that, is Snell will be on a mission. The 2018 AL Cy Young winner is out to prove he’s still got it.
And last but not least, Aaron Nola. it’s weird to think, but this is no longer a young pitcher. He’s pitched a dozen or more games for six straight seasons and has finished top seven in Cy Young voting twice. If he’s going to take it to win the award, he will have to take the step toward consistency.
The order to rank these three: Darvish, Nola, Snell
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Longshot: Max Fried and Michael Soroka
The longshots we’re looking at both happen to be young pitchers from the same team — Max Fried and Michael Soroka of the Atlanta Braves.
We will start with Soroka. He appeared in exactly three games before tearing his Achillies a season ago and now is tracking to come back some time in late April or early May. While there’s no telling how much they will let him go once he is healthy, there’s no denying his stuff is some of the best in baseball.
Soroka was an All-Star in his rookie season in 2019 and finished as the Rookie of the Year runner-up. He has Cy Young stuff — it’s just can get be effective enough in 23 games to earn it.
And then, there’s teammate Max Fried. Fried went a perfect 7-0 last season with a 2.25 ERA and 1.089 WHIP. The guy is just a winner. He’s 24-6 in his last 30 decisions and has a better than 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio during that time. Fried is the best long shot on the board this season.
What Is the Cy Young Award?
Annually given to the best pitcher in both the American and National League, the Cy Young Award is the highest achievement that a pitcher can receive in Major League Baseball.
The award has tremendous weight when deciding the overall legacy of a pitcher and is part of the process to gauge the player’s career when it comes time for Hall of Fame voting.
How Is the Cy Young Award Winner Decided?
Each Cy Young Award is voted upon by a select group of baseball writers assigned to vote in just one league. Voters assign a place for the pitchers they believe are the best for the year.
A completed ballot will have a first through fifth place vote for the voter’s top five pitchers of the season in either the American or National League.
Once all the votes are in, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America uses a weighted formula to compile the final result.
If there is a tie among two pitchers, then both players share the award, although that has never happened since the award split into two winners in 1967.
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Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.