As we await the start of Spring Training games, BetOnline Sportsbook has given MLB fans and bettors another reason to get excited. We’re still patiently waiting for season win totals at the offshore markets as of February 24, but Cy Young odds are now available for both leagues.
Last season’s American League winner, Dallas Keuchel, hit the important stats for voters. He won 20 games, he pitched over 200 innings, had more than 200 strikeouts, and he had a sub-2.50 ERA. The voting electorate has started to care less and less about pitcher win-loss records, but the strikeouts and innings pitched do seem to be non-negotiable. Keep that in mind as you look for pitchers to put your futures dollars on.
Similarly, Jake Arrieta crossed all of those important benchmarks. Arrieta had 22 wins, 229 innings pitched, and 236 strikeouts. Only Clayton Kershaw had a higher WAR per Fangraphs than Arrieta last season, but Arrieta’s second half was absolutely spectacular. He threw 107.1 innings after the All-Star Break and gave up nine earned runs with 113 strikeouts and 23 walks. He held opposing batters to a .148/.204/.205 slash with a .186 wOBA. That’s about as dominant as a pitcher can be over that large of a sample size. Even though Kershaw may have had a better full season performance, there was no wrong decision to be made.
Clayton Kershaw has won three of the last five Cy Young Awards in the National League, which is rather incredible. In the American League, a different pitcher has won every year since 2006, when Johan Santana won his second Cy Young in three seasons. The NL has a lot less parity when it comes to Cy Young winners. Along with Kershaw’s three, Tim Lincecum won back-to-back awards in 2008 and 2009. Randy Johnson won four straight from 1999-2002.
The voting process is important to remember with this award. Two ballots are given out for each league market. In some instances, national writers will take one of the votes from a particular city, but there can definitely be some geographic bias in these votes. Last season, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of it, but the decisions weren’t that difficult given how Keuchel and Arrieta finished up their respective seasons.
Here are the American League Cy Young odds courtesy of BetOnline:
There are a handful of decent value plays on the board. Felix Hernandez’s defense has been massively overhauled this winter, so he could get back into the Cy Young discussion at +600. Carlos Carrasco has the stuff to win it, but the innings threshold might be tough for him to reach. In any event, he has great value at +900. Marcus Stroman is a guy that won’t get the strikeouts, in all likelihood, but he will get a lot of run support at +3300. Danny Salazar’s innings might not be enough, but he’s a real dark horse candidate at +3300 with his upper 90s fastball and a devastating split-change. Chris Archer might need the Rays to overachieve, but, at 12/1, he should have the strikeouts and the innings to be in the discussion.
Here are the National League Cy Young odds courtesy of BetOnline:
With Clayton Kershaw favored so heavily, a lot of guys have some value here. Jacob deGrom is definitely one, on what should be a solid Mets team. Really, any of the Mets top three starters have a chance, but deGrom is the one most capable of working the 200 innings that it usually takes for serious consideration. Max Scherzer, who was a great value at 7/1 last season, threw two no-hitters last season and still didn’t win the Cy Young, in large part because his team wasn’t good enough. He struck out 276 batters in 228.2 innings. He’s a great pick at 10/1. Johnny Cueto is a very good value pick at 20/1. He’ll be pitching in front of a strong defense in a good park for pitchers and he’s been a member of the 200-strikeout club once before in the past.
All bets are action and are due in by April 3. Any unlisted pitchers are available upon request.