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3 Indians Pitchers Among Top 9 Contenders for 2019 AL Cy Young; Should You Bet One?

Trevor Bauer
Trevor Bauer was leading the AL Cy Young race in 2018 before a stress fracture in his fibula forced him to miss a month of action. Photo by Keith Allison (flickr).
  • Corey Kluber is the favorite to win the 2019 AL Cy Young, while teammates Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer are inside the top 9
  • Kluber regressed in many key statistical categories in 2018, while Bauer is coming off a career season
  • Which Indians pitcher should you wager on to win the AL Cy Young?

When it come to starting pitching, the Cleveland Indians have an embarrassment of riches. Their top three starters, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer are three of only 10 MLB pitchers with a projected WAR of at least 4.0, and all three are among the top 9 contenders to win the 2019 AL Cy Young Award.

2019 AL Cy Young Odds

Team 2019 AL Cy Young Odds
Corey Kluber +250
Chris Sale +325
Luis Severino +600
Justin Verlander +1400
Blake Snell +1600
Carlos Carrasco +1600
Gerrit Cole +1600
David Price +2000
Trevor Bauer +2000
James Paxton +2200

*Odds taken on 03/07/19

Kluber, a two-time Cy Young winner, has the shortest average odds to win the 2019 AL Cy Young award, but Bauer’s price is much more palatable given how they each performed last season.

Bauer Keeps Getting Better

No one will ever accuse Bauer of lacking confidence.

The polarizing 28-year-old is fresh off a career season, where he was leading the Cy Young race deep into August before suffering a stress fracture in his fibula. The injury forced Bauer to miss over a month of action, and allowed unheralded Blake Snell to swoop in and steal the award, much to Bauer’s dismay.

Love him or hate him, it’s hard to argue with his results. He’s lowered his ERA and walk rate in each of the past three seasons, while increasing his K/9 and swinging strike rate over that span. He had a better FIP, fWAR and K/9 than Snell in 2018, and if he had stayed healthy the whole season would have likely won the Cy Young.

Carrasco and Kluber Are Showing Signs of Regression

Any one of the three Indians starters could win the award, but there are reasons to be pessimistic about both Carrasco and Kluber.

Kluber for one, may not even be in Cleveland once the season starts, and even if he is, there were troubling signs in 2018. He allowed the highest hard hit rate of his career and his swinging strike percentage was the lowest it’s been since 2014.  His K/9 fell almost 2 and a half strikeouts from 2017 (11.7 to 9.3), and he allowed the most home runs of his career (25).

Kluber allowed the highest hard hit rate of his career and his swinging strike percentage was the lowest it’s been since 2014.

Carrasco, similar to Kluber, allowed the highest hard hit rate of his career in 2018, and saw a dip in velocity for the second straight season. So far, the decrease in average pitch speed hasn’t affected his performance, but it won’t be long until that catches up to him.

Bet on Bauer

Bauer is entering his prime, while Carrasco and Kluber are starting to show signs of potentially slowing down. Bauer believes he’s much further along in his development than Kluber was at his age, and the only thing left for him to do is prove it by bringing home some hardware.

Kluber was 28 when he won his first Cy Young award, so it would only be fitting if Bauer accomplished the same feat this season.

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