By: Alan Payton
We conclude our Major League Baseball updated odds at the All-Star Break — the second half begins on Friday with a full schedule — by looking at the Cy Young odds for the American and National League courtesy of Paddy Power.
One thing I can just about guarantee: there will be no repeat winner in either league. Cleveland’s Corey Kluber somewhat surprisingly beat out Seattle’s Felix Hernandez for the AL award last season. Kluber isn’t a betting option right now as he’s an ugly 4-10 despite a solid 3.38 earned run average and ranking second in the American League with 154 strikeouts. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw won his fourth straight big-league ERA title and third career Cy Young Award in 2014. Kershaw isn’t even the best pitcher on his own team this season at 6-6 with a 2.85 ERA. He does lead the majors with 160 strikeouts. Kershaw is a 21.0 long shot to win a fourth Cy Young.
Keuchel Should Be Ahead Of Gray
The AL co-favorite at 3.25 is Houston’s Dallas Keuchel, who was certainly a long shot back in the spring. Keuchel showed signs of being an elite pitcher in the second half of last season and the left-hander is 11-4 with a 2.23 ERA this season for a very surprising Astros team that wasn’t supposed to contend until 2016. Keuchel is tied for the AL lead in wins, first in innings pitched with 137.1, second in ERA and third in WHIP at 1.00. Keuchel also had the honor of starting for the AL in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, won by the American League 6-3 to give its pennant winner home-field advantage in the World Series. I believe Keuchel should be the favorite here.
Also at 3.25 is Oakland right-hander Sonny Gray. He is third in the AL with 10 wins, leads the league with a 2.04 ERA and is second in WHIP at 0.96. Working against Gray is he pitches on a last-place A’s team. Good luck winning a Cy Young on a bad team. White Sox left-hander Chris Sale (4.33) and the Mariners’ Hernandez (8.00) are the other favorites on this props. Only Hernandez among this group has won the Cy Young previously, doing so in 2010.
Greinke Has Surpassed Kershaw
The National League favorite at 2.375 is the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Zack Greinke, who started for the NL in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. What was notable there is he allowed a leadoff homer to the Angels’ Mike Trout; notable because Greinke ended the first half not having allowed a run in 35.2 straight innings. Greinke is 8-2 with a major league-best 1.39 ERA for the first-place Dodgers. Greinke has allowed more than three runs in a start only once this season and has gone no fewer than six full innings in each of his 18 starts. He won the 2009 Cy Young Award with the Kansas City Royals.
Washington’s Max Scherzer is at 3.50. He is 10-7 with a 2.11 ERA and nearly threw a perfect game earlier this season, losing it on a hit-batsmen with two outs in the ninth inning against Pittsburgh. Scherzer had to settle for a no-hitter. He was the 2013 AL Cy Young winner with the Detroit Tigers.
The only other realistic option is Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole at 7.00. He is 13-3 with 2.30 ERA — those wins lead the majors. Cole was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft out of UCLA.