When thinking about the American League Cy Young Award, there are definitely a few ways that this can go. However, it seems like an obvious pick here and that is that New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole should be the 2021 AL Cy Young Award winner. We will dive into some of the reasoning why they should but it seems almost clear-cut at this point.
Gerrit Cole | One of the Favorites
Gerrit Cole is one of the upper-echelon pitchers year-in and year-out and as of this writing has the second-best odds to win the award this season at +125 (White Sox Lance Lynn is currently the favorite at -130).
However, looking at the degree of difficulty is a way to tell exactly how impressive each of these guys has been. Lance Lynn has 13 of his 23 starts this season against teams in the lower half in terms of OPS while Gerrit Cole has eight of those outings in 24 starts this year.
Factoring in the degree of difficulty is critical when determining a race that is this close. It’s easier to put up numbers against bad-hitting offenses and Cole hasn’t been awarded that chance, especially as the AL East lineups seem to be more challenging to pitch compared to the AL Central.
Numbers Don’t Lie
The resume itself is important because each person that is voting on this award is unable to see every pitch from each contender. Gerrit Cole’s resume has been nothing short of fantastic this season as I will list some numbers of his and where it ranks in the American League. He has 13 wins (1st), 2.80 ERA (3rd), two complete games (t-1st), 148 innings (5th), 200 strikeouts (1st), 2.72 FIP (1st), and 0.99 WHIP (1st).
You can’t argue with his raw data here, especially as we highlighted that he is doing this against some of the better hitting teams like the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.
He had a battle with COVID-19 and in his three starts since returning, he has 17.2 innings, 24 strikeouts, and a 0.51 ERA in that span. He’s been the best pitcher in baseball this season and hopefully, the Yankees bias does not ring true here as well.
Righting the Wrong
Gerrit Cole should already have a Cy Young Award in the bag as in 2019 he finished second in voting behind then-teammate Justin Verlander. He has been inside of the top-five in three of the previous four seasons as well. One factor people seem to forget is that these people voting on the end-of-season awards are human too and are aware of their previous voting.
Now I’m not suggesting Cole will win because the current crop of voters will feel bad for 2019 but it is an interesting dive into the human mind as that definitely will play a factor. If you want a futures bet to make, Gerrit Cole winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2021 should be as close to a lock as you can be at the end of August.
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