The 2019 NL CY Young award race

New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom had a dominant season in 2018. This cumulated with him winning the National League Cy Young award. 
As we near the final push of the 2019 season, many are wondering: can deGrom win the Cy Young award in back to back seasons?Let’s take a look a the contenders

Mike Soroka – Atlanta Braves 
ERA 2.61
Innings pitched 158.2
Strike outs 126
Whip 1.10
WAR 5.2

The case for: Braves rookie Mike Soroka is second in the National League in ERA. He’s the best pitcher on the staff that is leading their division. His ERA+ of 191 is strong, especially for a rookie. He’s preventing runs from scoring, which is how deGrom won the award last season. 

The case against: He’s a rookie. Yeah, I said it. Baseball is still that old school. For a rookie to win this award, he would have to blow away the competition. He’s not doing that. His WAR of 4.8 is the lowest of the contenders. His strike out total is also the lowest of the 4 top contenders.

Finally, as a rookie, on a team that is looking at the play offs, the Braves could limit Soroka’s innings down the stretch. The only way for him to win the Cy Young, would be for Soroka to add to his numbers. If his innings are limited, he’ll have a tough time getting the numbers he needs. 

Max Scherzer – Washington Nationals

ERA 2.56
Innings pitched 154.2
Strike outs 216
Whip 0.998
WAR 6.0
The case for: MadMax has put up his usually mad numbers this season. His FIP of 2.32 leads the league. His 12.7 strike outs per 9 inning is a career high. When someone as accomplished as Scherzer is sets a career high, it’s time to take notice. 
The case against: Like with Soroka, a major issue for Scherzer could be playing time down the stretch. He has pitched twice since July 6th, making two trips to the Injured list. He’s had neck and back issues, and those type of injuries tend to linger. If the Nationals lock up a play off spot, they could back Scherzer off, to make sure he’s ready for the playoffs. 
Jacob deGrom – New York Mets
ERA 2.76
Innings pitched 176
Strike outs 220
Whip 1.037
WAR 6.1
The case for: Early in the season, it didn’t look like deGrom even had a chance at the Cy Young. It looked like out top candidate (who we’ll get to next) would run away with the award. 
If somehow he faulted, Scherzer would be that to swoop in and claim the award. 
But deGrom has really turned on the gas the last 2 months. He currently has the highest bWAR, innings pitched and strike outs, of the top candidates. He has also been the only one of the four candidates to stay completely healthy all season.
If deGrom finishes the season, tops in WAR, innings and strike outs, he’s got to be a series candidate to win back to back Cy Youngs. 
The case against: While deGrom has been great all season, he did get off to a slower start that other candidates. deGrom has been great most of the season. Two others have just been a little bit better for most of that time. 
Hyun-Jin Ryu – LA Dodgers
ERA 2.45
Innings pitched 161.2
Strike outs 142
Whip 0.983
WAR 4.2
The case for: Ryu started the season on fire. He has led the National league in ERA since the start, and up into his latest start, where he got rocked by that team from the Bronx, Ryu had an ERA under 2. His ERA+ of 207 also leads the league, and speaks towards his ability to prevent runs from scoring.
If Ryu continues to pitch the way he has during the first half of the season, he should be the run away winner of the 2019 National League Cy Young award.

The case against: He spent 10 days on the iInjured List with a sore neck- he said he was worried his mechanics might get out of sync if he pitched through the injury. So his innings are not as high as deGrom’s. Ryu also trails significantly in strike outs. 

The Dodgers are the juggernaut of the National league. It is entirely possible the Dodgers limit Ryu’s starts down the stretch, to keep him fresh for the playoffs. It is hard to see him getting 200 innings no matter what. Ryu also trails deGrom in WAR but almost 1 and a half points 
If deGrom has 100 more strike outs, 80 or so more innings pitched, and is 2 Wins Above Replacement better than Ryu, that could sway a lot of voters minds. 

So who will win?

If all 4 candidates pitch how they have been this season, Ryu should be to walk away winner, like deGrom was last year. 
But that is a big “IF”. Soroka, Scherzer and Ryu all could be limited in September, while the New York Mets will need strong outings from deGrom until the end of the season.
deGrom is also the one pitcher trending up. While deGrom looks like the pitcher he was last season, Ryu and Scherzer have had injuries and recent hiccups. If this trend continues, it will absolutely impact the voting. 

Say deGrom finished the season well ahead in innings pitched, strike outs, and WAR, that could be enough to earn him his second straight Cy Young award. 

Who do you think is the top candidate?
Who do you think will win the CY Young in the National League this season?
Are there any dark horse candidates we forget?