MLB Cy Young Awards 2012: Last-Minute Odds for AL and NL Finalists
On Wednesday at 6 p.m. EST, the Baseball Writers Association of America will announce the winners of the Cy Young Award for the American and National League.
This year, the winner isn't quite as clear-cut in the AL, and the NL has shaped up to be a tight race as well.
David Price, Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver are the finalists in the Junior Circuit, while R.A. Dickey, Clayton Kershaw and Gio Gonzalez are the finalists in the Senior Circuit.
Why Fernando Rodney isn't on the list in the American League—or Craig Kimbrel in the National League, for that matter—is incomprehensible, but I digress.
Here, I have attempted to handicap the odds for each finalist as the six pitchers patiently await the announcement.
American League: Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels
For the third consecutive season, Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver finds himself in the thick of the race for the AL Cy Young. And once again, he's likely on the outside looking in.
Weaver's season was again fantastic, as he posted a 20-5 record with a 2.81 ERA in 30 starts. However, Weaver missed time on the disabled list with a shoulder strain and threw less than 200 innings. In the end, that could hurt his chances.
Weaver gave up only 7.0 hits per nine innings with a 1.02 WHIP, leading the American League in both categories.
Odds: 20 percent
American League: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
In 2011, Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander put together one of the most dominating performances from the mound in recent memory, capturing both the Cy Young Award and MVP Award. It was the first time a starting pitcher had captured both awards since Roger Clemens in 1986.
In 2012, Verlander wasn't quite as dominant, but he was still pretty darn good, posting a 17-8 record and 2.64 ERA with a major league-leading six complete games and 239 strikeouts.
With two 20-game winners as his competition, a repeat performance from Verlander is possible, but far from a sure thing.
Odds: 35 percent
American League: David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
Southpaw David Price has not only established himself as the ace of the Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff, but also as one of the elite pitchers in all of baseball.
Price took a major step forward in 2012, posting his first 20-win season (20-5) and leading the American League with a 2.56 ERA.
Price also gave just 7.4 hits per nine innings with an equally impressive 1.10 WHIP.
Pitching in arguably the toughest division in baseball, Price's consistency—25 quality starts in 31 appearance—gives him the edge.
Odds: 45 percent
National League: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
There is no pitcher in baseball who is more stingy than Los Angeles Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw led the majors with a 6.7 H/9 ratio and led the National League with a 1.02 WHIP, marking the second consecutive season Kershaw led the NL in both categories.
Despite an ailing hip at the end of the season, Kershaw still made 33 starts and managed to lead the majors once again with a 2.53 ERA.
Much like defending American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, Kershaw is also going up against two finalists who posted 20-win seasons.
Odds: 15 percent
National League: Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals
Gio Gonzalez made his first foray into the National League this past season, and he met the challenge with incredible success.
Gonzalez posted a 21-8 record and 2.89 ERA in 32 starts in his first season for the Washington Nationals.
His 1.129 WHIP was the lowest of his career, and he was especially adept at keeping opponents in the park, giving up only nine home runs all season.
In any other season, Gonzalez would be the front-runner.
Odds: 30 percent
National League: R.A. Dickey, New York Mets
New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey had a season that bested any previously posted by any knuckleball pitcher. Dickey posted a 20-6 record, a 2.73 ERA and led the National League with five complete games and three shutouts.
The remarkable stat for me, however, was the 1.05 WHIP posted by Dickey.
The knuckleball, when thrown properly, glides to its target and is at the mercy of air currents. As soon as Dickey releases the pitch, he can't accurately tell you where the ball will land. To master control like that with a ball that has a mind of its own is a remarkable achievement in itself.
Odds: 55 percent