MLB Cy Young Odds: National League Update

National League Candidates Aplenty

Around a month and a half into the 2022 MLB season, no pitcher has really separated themselves from the rest of the pack in terms of the MLB Cy Young odds in the National League. The usual names — Max Scherzer, Corbin Burnes and Walker Buehler – have been typically great but there are some lesser-known guys, such as the Marlins’ Pablo Lopez and Sandy Alcantara who are firmly in the conversation as well.

Let’s take a look at some of the more intriguing NL Cy Young candidates with their current odds:

Max Scherzer, Corbin Burnes, Walker Buehler (+700)

It’s a three-way tie at the top of the MLB Cy Young odds leaderboard for the National League. Max Scherzer has been as good as expected for the New York Mets so he, deservingly, should garner a lot of Cy Young consideration if he keeps his level of play up. He doesn’t have an eye-popping ERA or strikeout numbers but he gives the Mets an elite start every time out. In terms of consistency from game to game, he is on a level of his own.

The NL’s reigning MLB Cy Young odds winner, Corbin Burnes, has a sub-two ERA and is leading the NL in strikeouts, WHIP and hits allowed per nine innings. So, it’s a ho-hum statline for Burnes, whose utter dominance last season has carried over into 2022. At +700, he’s a great pick to get one of the biggest MLB awards at the end of the year.

Walker Buehler finished fourth in Cy Young voting last season and has been really good once again despite some hiccups. He’s allowing nearly a hit per inning, which is a sign for concern but the overall results are still really good. He’s definitely worthy of being in the same class as Scherzer and Burnes.

Brandon Woodruff and Zack Wheeler (+1000)

Brandon Woodruff finished right behind Walker Buehler in the 2021 NL Cy Young race but he has started terribly this season. Woodruff is always at a disadvantage being in the same rotation as Corbin Burnes but his 5.35 ERA and over 1.36 WHIP aren’t getting the job done. He’s not in a great place.

The same can be said about Zack Wheeler, whose strikeouts are way down and his walks (and hits) allowed are up. With his ERA in the low 4s, Wheeler hasn’t even been the best starter for the Philadelphia Phillies — that would be Aaron Nola. Stay away from taking him or Woodruff, at least right now.

Max Fried, Aaron Nola and Jacob deGrom (+1200)

Max Fried burst onto the national scene in the shortened 2020 season, during which he was fifth in MLB Cy Young Award voting. He did take a (small) step back from great to merely good in both the 2021 regular season and postseason so there wasn’t a ton of buzz regarding him before this year. With that said, he has been good once again and while his strikeout numbers aren’t eye-popping, he — like Scherzer, in a way – is reliable during every start and that bodes well for a potential Cy Young campaign.

As mentioned above, Aaron Nola has been the Phillies’ top starter thus far and he seems to be continuing his trend of alternating between Cy Young caliber seasons and decent but unremarkable seasons. He was decent in 2021 but is doing a much better job of limiting baserunners right now. If he can keep this up, he’s an interesting sleeper option.

As for Jacob deGrom, you might as well forget about him from a MLB Cy Young Award perspective. He might not be back until after the All-Star break and even if he is as unhittable as he was in an injury-plagued 2021 season, he won’t have enough innings to be a serious candidate.

Sandy Alcantara (+1800) and Pablo Lopez (+2500)

Let’s finish up our run through NL Cy Young options with a pair of fascinating righties for the Miami Marlins. Sandy Alcantara has been an effective starter for a few years now but is currently 7th in WAR among NL pitchers thanks to a miniscule 6.3 hits allowed per nine innings. The strikeout and walk numbers are a little troubling but Alcantara is leading the NL in innings pitched and batters faced so what he might lack in flash he could make up for in volume.

His teammate, Pablo Lopez, is another great story. He was good for Miami in 2020 and 2021 yet he had a 10.13 ERA in Spring Training before this season, which was a sizable concern. Once the games started counting, though, Lopez turned into an out machine. His 1.05 ERA leads the Majors and his huge drop in WHIP and home run rate has allowed him to keep guys off the bases and, if they do reach base, he prevents them from scoring easily. While Lopez being this good may be unsustainable, he is still an incredible value play going forward. Be sure to look for ‘American League MLB Cy Young Award Winners’, coming soon.

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