As the season enters the last two months of the season, the award races have begun to heat up. One of the most prestigious awards is the Cy Young Award given to the best pitcher in their respected league. In each league, there are about five legitimate pitchers that have a chance at this award.
5. Alek Manoah
Manoah is a real dark horse when it comes to winning the Cy Young this year. With a 2.71 earned run average, 131 strikeouts, and a 12-6 record which all fall in the middle of the pack statistically. What helps the cause is the turnaround of the Blue Jays’ season as the fight to secure a playoff spot with the star-studded lineup. He has also become the number one starter on this team which he has shown in each start. What really hurts his chances is the fact that he does not have the statistics to back up his case. But it will be interesting to see if he can improve his stats to make a charge at the award.
4. Shohei Ohtani
Ohtani is having another fabulous year on the mound and at the plate. On the mound he has been the ace of the Angels’ pitching staff leading the team in every statistical category including wins, earned run average, and strikeouts. With a 2.69 earned run average Ohtani ranks ninth in the majors and third in the American league. What makes his Cy Young campaign legitimate is the fact that he performs in every outing at an elite level giving him his excellent earned run average. However, what hurts his cause is his win-loss record at 10-7 because of the lack of offense the Angels produce.
3. Shane McClanahan
McClanahan is in the second year of his young major league career. Last week, he had a perfect game going into the ninth against the Orioles. Last year he finished the year with 123 innings and a 3.43 earned run average. This year he has taken the next step with a very successful year so far. With a 2.28 earned run average, an 11-5 record, and 165 strikeouts so far. What might hurt his chances is how he finishes out the rest of the year. Right now, he has already pitched 11 more innings than he did last year so it will be interesting to see if fatigue plays a factor in his success for the rest of the year.
2. Dylan Cease
Cease is having a great season and is the best one he has had in the four years in the majors. With a 2.09 earned run average he ranks second in the American League and third in the majors. With his 12 wins on the season, he ranks second in the American League and seventh in the majors. And his 178 strikeouts also rank second in the American League behind Gerrit Cole. What hurts Cease’s chances is the struggles the White Sox are facing as they compete for a wild card and divisional playoff spot. In any other year, Cease would be the leader for the Cy Young if there was not another pitcher having a better year
1. Justin Verlander
Verlander right now is the clear favorite with the remarkable season he is having this year. After being hurt all last year and not being able to pitch he has bounced back and has become the sensational ace that we have known in Houston. With a 1.95 earned run average he ranks second in the majors and first in the American League. He does not blow anybody away with strikeouts but a 15-3 record shows how dominant his team is when he is on the mound. One fear that may be in play is how effective he will have the season keeps rolling along after the injury. At 39 years old and coming off significant surgery it will be interesting to see how they manage him as the season ends.
The American League Cy Young may be wrapped up already with the spectacular season Verlander is having so far. But we will have to wait and see as teams lock in as the playoffs come ever more closely in the coming weeks.
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