The NL Cy Young is down to a three-man race at best, with Clayton Kershaw (+1000) fourth in line, and well behind the rest of the field. Max Scherzer (+165) is barely favored over Kershaw’s teammate, Hyun-Jin Ryu (+170).
While it’s likely going to wind up being one of those two to win the award, we still can’t count out Jacob deGrom (+250). Here’s a breakdown of the three favorites (all odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook):
Max Scherzer (+165)
Scherzer would typically have this award locked up by now, but the fact that he’s pitched just four games since the start of July has to hold him back a bit. In terms of the games he has pitched in, the only knock on Mad Max is his slow month of April — 4.55 ERA in five starts.
Washington’s bullpen has robbed Scherzer of plenty of wins, with the Nats somehow dropping 10 of his first 12 starts. He’s made up ground in the win department since the start of June, though, with the team going 9-1 over his past 10 starts.
The elite stretch of Scherzer’s season thus far was the month of June, when he was practically perfect. He went 6-0 with a 1.00 ERA, allowing just five runs in 45 innings. Maybe more impressively, he allowed just 25 hits in those 45 innings, while punching out 68 batters.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (+170)
Ryu, who wasn’t even featured in DraftKings Sportsbook’s preseason odds, has found himself as the favorite at certain times along the way. Ryu got off to an insane start to his season, and had a 12-2 record with a 1.45 ERA as of Aug. 11.
The road there featured two ridiculously dominant months, a 5-0 May with a 0.59 ERA, and a 2-0 July with a 0.55 ERA (the Dodgers went 5-0 in his starts). However, Ryu’s past three starts are likely the lone reason Scherzer currently sits as the slight favorite — Ryu is 0-3, allowing a combined 18 runs in just 14 2/3 innings.
Jacob deGrom (+250)
When you look through deGrom’s season to date, it’s pretty clear why he’s a semi-distant third in the odds. He got off to the slowest start of the group, with a 6.30 ERA in the month of April, and while he might be the most consistent of the bunch since then, his ceiling hasn’t been quite as high as his competition.
deGrom’s lone advantage here is probably his volume — he’s pitched 12 more innings than Ryu and 26 more than Scherzer. That’s also led to 214 strikeouts, which ranks only behind Stephen Strasburg in the NL.
The play: Scherzer (+165)
Scherzer leads the group of favorites in WAR and WHIP, and should be in position to continue his dominance down the stretch. While Ryu’s had a tremendous season, I can’t trust him after the slump he’s been in recently. His talent didn’t even have him in the conversation prior to the season, so regression to finish the regular season is a real possibility. Nothing against deGrom, but it’d take a historic finish, along with poor pitching from the other top candidates to swing the odds in his favor.
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Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
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