Mike Soroka – Atlanta Braves
Innings pitched 158.2
Strike outs 126
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
Innings pitched 154.2
Strike outs 216
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.
Innings pitched 176
Strike outs 220
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.
Innings pitched 161.2
Strike outs 142
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.