Maybe it’s just me but the American League Cy Young was given to the wrong player in 2019. Sure, Justin Verlander had a very good season but in my opinion, Gerrit Cole was the man deserving of the honor. In the early going of 2020 while teams are at Spring Training, the public at least, is ready to see Cole take the title and the DraftKings Sportsbook agrees. Let’s take a look at where the money and bets have been distributed in the early going.
The favorite and a long shot headlines early bets
No surprise that Cole leads in both money and bets ahead of the season. He found a new home, likely for the remainder of his career, in New York with a team that the early consensus feels as if they’ll emerge out of the American League and head to the World Series. While some odds to win an award feel a bit low — Mike Trout at +150 to win MVP comes to mind — Cole at +275 for the Cy Young still feels like some value. How can you not like a pitcher who is coming off a season where he had a K% of 40, induced a 16.8% swing-and-miss rate and only allowed more than two earned runs in five of his 33 starts?
I was pleasantly surprised to see Lucas Giolito (+2000) second in both handle and bets. Talk about some value — Giolito brings it. On a much improved White Sox team, Giolito is set to anchor their pitching staff as the number one starter. While his numbers aren’t eye-popping, he improved his control dramatically, going from a 4.6 BB/9 to a 2.9, he reduced the numbers of home runs allowed and his strikeouts jumped an insane amount from a 16.1 K% to a 32.3 K%. With a team that could score plenty of runs, this could be a sneaky dark horse.
Chris Sale struggling to gain interest
Despite being second on the board with +600 odds, Sale doesn’t even crack the top 10 in bets placed. He’s ninth on the list in handle but the public is not liking his odds currently. It makes plenty of sense as it’s already been announced that he’ll start the season on the 15-day injured list as he’s extremely behind schedule as he combats a case of pneumonia.
Sale is coming off a 2019 season that can be labeled as a disappointment. Elbow issues derailed his season that saw him post a new career-high in HR/9 at 1.4. He made 25 starts and nine of those saw him allow at least four earned runs, accounting for 36% of his season. His strikeouts remained at an elite level, ending with a 35.6 K% but his lack of consistency is likely causing the concern. We know he possesses the talent to win the Cy Young, as he’s finished in the top six in voting in seven of his 10 seasons in the majors. At this rate, the public isn’t liking his odds with how last season ended and how 2020 is already beginning.
Oakland A’s feature only team with two pitchers listed
Frankie Montas (+4000) and Sean Manaea (+10000) are the only teammates to appear on this list, which is quite interesting. Montas is sixth in handle and 10th in number of bets while Manaea shows up only on the bets side, garnering the 9th most.
Montas is the more interesting of the two, in my opinion, as he’s set to pitch a full season after serving an 80-game suspension last season due to PED use. On June 21st, the news came down that he was being suspended while he was in the midst of a fantastic season. At the time, he had a 2.70 ERA with a 97/21 K/BB ratio over just 90 innings pitched. He’d finish the season with a 2.63 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, 26.1 K% and a 3.00 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching; measures what a players ERA would be with league average results of balls in play) through 96 innings. Despite the positive results, it left us wondering what really could have been. With a full season under his belt, Montas feels quite enticing with his current odds.
Manaea is a long shot with his current odds but he also missed the majority of 2019. Manaea was recovering from shoulder surgery and didn’t even make his debut until Sep. 1. Through the final month, he fired off 29 2/3 innings with a 1.21 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, a 27.5 K% and a 3.42 FIP. While his odds are great, it would be surprising for someone that doesn’t post a ton of strikeouts to take this award down. In three seasons with over 20 starts made, Manaea hasn’t surpassed a 20.8 K%.
AL Cy Young betting splits, Feb 28
|Rank||By Handle||By Bets|
|Rank||By Handle||By Bets|
|1||Gerrit Cole||Gerrit Cole|
|2||Lucas Giolito||Lucas Giolito|
|3||Jose Berrios||Jose Berrios|
|4||Tyler Glasnow||Tyler Glasnow|
|5||Shane Bieber||Shane Bieber|
|6||Frankie Montas||Justin Verlander|
|7||Blake Snell||Blake Snell|
|8||Justin Verlander||Mike Clevinger|
|9||Chris Sale||Sean Manaea|
|10||Mike Clevinger||Frankie Montas|