season has hit the century mark for games played, and about 37% of the season
remains to be played. In addition to the tight races going on in nearly all
divisions, and especially the wild card berths, the Cy Young and MVP races are
heating up as well.
We are not at the point in the season where the eventual Cy Young award winners separate themselves from the rest of the contenders. This article is going to look at who I think will be the winner in each league.
Normally, wins seem to have an
overriding impact on the voting for the Cy Young award winner. The exception, of
course, was when Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners won the award with a
13-12 record, but had a 2.27 ERA and 232 strikeouts in 2010. In 2012, R. A.
Dickey leads the National league with 14 wins as is the odds-on-favorite to win
the Cy Young award at +250. In the American League, Tampa Bay’s David Price
sits on top with 14 wins, but the odds-on-favorites are Justin Verlander with
eleven wins and +200 odds and the Los Angeles Angels’ Jered Weaver with 13 wins
Looking at odds that were released
by the Greek.com, David Price is not individually listed and is then part of
the field bet, which is listed at +600. This is either an oversight, which is
hard to believe, or a situation where the odds maker at the Greek believes the
Rays will fade from playoff contention and with that so will Price’s win totals
and overall performance down the stretch.
In the National league, Cole
Hamels has signed a 6-year, $144 million extension with the Phillies. He is
certainly a dark horse for the Cy Young award listed currently at +1000. He has
pitched well enough to have at least two more wins to his credit. His first
start after signing the big extension saw him walk a career-high six batters
and he just did not have command of his pitches. This is very rare for Hamels, and I strongly believe it was just a factor of all that went into the contract
extension, having it completed, and then the adrenalin levels collapsing.
I fully expect him to have a very
strong finish to the season. The Phillies are coming off a sweep by the Atlanta
Braves and have now played themselves out of the playoffs. Yes, there is always
the chance that lightning could strike twice the way it did for St. Louis last
year, but there are just too many teams for the Phillies to have to jump over
to catch the Pirates, Dodgers, Giants, or Braves at this point. This may be
just the anecdote that the Phillies need to just relax and play baseball.
Hamels has made 20 starts for the
Phillies and will have 12 or possibly 13 more remaining. Presuming that I am
right and the Phillies relax and play some great meaningless baseball, Hamels
could win 10 of these remaining starts. A bit of a stretch - yes, but that would
give him 21 wins and put him right in the hunt for the Cy Young award. He has
earned 25% of his teams win so far this season and with a bit more run support
from Howard and Utley, adding 10 more wins is not out of the question.
He was 10-3 with a 3.25 ERA on
June 19 and since has gone just 1-2 with three no-decisions over his last six
starts. He will be facing fellow Cy Young contender Stephen Strasburg Tuesday
night in the nation's capitol and a win on the road would add a significant line
item to his resume.
So, in looking at a dark horse,
one who has a a shot at getting very hot and with a team not far away from
providing some offensive punch, Hamels is a solid betting opportunity at 10-1
odds or higher to win the Cy Young.
In the American league, I think
you have to ride the favorite Justin Verlander. He won it last year and would
be the first back-to-back winner of the award since Pedro Martinez did it in
the 1999-2000 seasons. Roger Clemens also won back-to-back Cy Youngs in 1997 and
1998 and in 1986 and 1987.
Alhough he has just 11 wins at the moment, he has pitched five complete games - best in the AL - leads the
AL with 155 ? innings pitched; he's second in the AL with 146 strikeouts, third in
AL with a 2.60 ERA, and first with a 0.95 WHIP. The man can pop his fastball at
102 MPH and then throws a 74 to 84 MPH curveball at your knees. He has a vastly
improved changeup that he will vary between 81 and 90 MPH. He is showing no
signs of fatigue and his team, the Tigers, are contenders. If the Tigers make
the playoffs, it will be in large part because of his pitching and that alone
will make him a very easy vote for the 2012 Cy Young award.