Friday, June 21, 2013

MLB aces lining up for Cy Young

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Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers.

The All-Star break is fast approaching and pitchers from across the league are waiting anxiously at the possibility of being included. With the majority of teams over 70 games in to their 161-game schedule, there is now a decent sample size to start considering potential Cy young winners.
Here I will pick out 5 pitchers from each league, and discuss their chances at capturing the elusive title, of Cy Young award winner.

American League

Clay Buchholz - Boston Red Sox 7:4

Buchholz currently sits as the front-runner for the award, however his chances may be affected by a troublesome neck. Buchholz headed to the 15-day Disabled List yesterday, but if the issue continues it may seriously hamper his chances of claiming the award. He has been outstanding for the Red Sox this year, starting 12 games and winning 9 for a 9-0 record, all this with an ERA of 1.71. Buchholz is helped out a lot by the highest scoring team in baseball.

Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners 12:1

The man they call King Felix isn’t exactly in astonishing form, he is just doing what Felix does. Hernandez has a quarter of Seattle’s wins this year with 8, and has done so with an ERA of 2.32. His consistency and long track record makes Hernandez a good chance to reclaim the award he won in 2010. The downside for Hernandez is his division, which possesses the offensive powerhouse of Oakland, and the ever-consistent Texas Rangers.

Yu Darvish – Texas Rangers 4:1

Darvish has been a strike-out sensation since joining the Rangers last year. The 26 year old from Japan leads the MLB with 137 strike-outs this year, that’s 21 clear of Detroit’s Max Scherzer. Darvish has 7 wins to his name, with an ERA of 2.82, however has failed to pick up a win for over a month. In 4 of his last 6 starts however he has given up no more than 2 earned runs. If Darvish can keep up his strike-out numbers, and get some run support he has a legitimate chance at the award.

Max Scherzer – Detroit Tigers 12:1

Scherzer was 2nd only to team-mate Justin Verlander last year in strike-outs for the entire league, and has picked up where he left off. Scherzer, who has one of the nastiest fastballs in baseball, is not only 2nd in strike-outs this year; he was the first in the American League to 10 wins, with a record of 10-0 from 14 starts. It is difficult to see Scherzer keeping up these numbers in both categories, but if he can he is a decent chance at the award. The bookies have him at 12-1.

Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers 10:1

A week ago Verlander was priced at 10-1 to win the AL Cy Young award, and that price may have gone out further again yesterday, after Verlander was rocked for 5 runs in 5 innings by the Baltimore Orioles. Some may argue that Verlander shouldn’t make this list, but with 8 wins, a 3.41 ERA and a team who loves to score runs, it is a crime to exclude him. Arguably the MLB’s best pitcher, expect Verlander to dominate the second half of the year, and make a run for a second AL Cy Young.

Also watch – Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA), Bartolo Colon (OAK), Chris Sale (CWS) Dark Horse –Justin Masterton (CLE)

National League

Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals 5:1

The Cardinals are simply unstoppable this season, their 46 wins makes them the best in the MLB. Much of the thanks goes to the performance of their rotation, led by Adam Wainwright. Wainwright, who has been a fantasy sensation this year, leads the NL in wins with 10, despite a loss in his last start. With a 2.37 ERA and an even 100 strike-outs, Wainwright is one of the favourites for the NL Cy Young.

Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks 5:1

In 2012 Corbin started 17 games for the Diamondbacks, winning 6 at an ERA of 4.54. This year, the 23 year old is dealing. In 14 starts Corbin has a 9-0 record and an ERA of just 2.28. This puts him 2nd behind Wainwright on ESPN’s Cy Predictor. Corbin should be in line for an All-Star call up, however it would be surprising to see the youngster keep up these kinds of numbers.

Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies 10:1

Trade rumours are not slowing Lee down at all, the 34 year old has racked up 9 wins at a very tidy 2.53 ERA this year. After a disappointing 2012 which saw Lee win just 6 of his 30 starts (no thanks to his offense), Lee has bounced back to lead the Philadelphia rotation. If the Phillies are to try and unload some salary via Lee, expect teams to be lining up for the Veteran.

Matt Harvey, New York Mets 11:2

Harvey started 2013 as a 100:1 outsider for the Cy Young award, as we enter the middle of the year; he has trimmed that to 11:2. Unfortunately for Harvey, his team are allergic to giving him a lead. The Mets rank 25th in runs, 30th in batting average and 27th in on base percentage. Despite this, Harvey has managed to win 6 of his 15 starts at a ridiculous 2.16 ERA. If the Mets find away to score some runs, this man may well find his name on a Cy Young award. Harvey is also the favourite to start for the NL in the All-Star game, in front of his home crowd.

Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers 4:1

Money can buy you one pretty nice looking team; however it doesn’t buy you wins. Despite Magic Johnson and his friends spending up, Clayton Kershaw, a man with an ERA of 1.84 and 104 strike-outs, has just 5 wins. If Kershaw was a member of an AL East side we could be seeing over 10 wins, yet like the Mets, the Dodgers have a run-scoring deficiency and rank 27th in runs scored. If the Dodgers play to their full potential, it is hard not to see Kershaw re-claiming the award he won in 2011.

Also watch – Mike Minor (ATL), Lance Lynn (STL), Jordan Zimmerman (WAS). Dark Horse –Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

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