Bieber Enters Top-Three in AL Cy Young Odds; Is Indians Ace Good Value in Short Season?

Cleveland Indians pitcher Shane Bieber on the mound
Shane Bieber went 15-8 in 2019 and finished fourth in AL Cy Young voting. Photo by Keith Allison (Wiki Commons).
  • Shane Bieber’s AL Cy Young Odds are now at +900 after opening at +1500 in February
  • Bieber is coming off a career best season and finished fourth in AL Cy Young voting in 2019
  • Is he a good bet at his new price or does someone else present better value?

Cleveland Indians starter Shane Bieber finished fourth in AL Cy Young voting in 2019, yet despite his stellar season, he opened with lengthy +1500 odds to win the award this year.

That price tag didn’t last long as sharp action has shortened his odds steadily since February to where it currently stands today.

2020 AL Cy Young Award Odds

Player  Odds
Gerrit Cole (Yankees) +286
Justin Verlander (Astros) +575
Shane Bieber (Indians) +900
Mike Clevinger (Indians) +1175
Tyler Glasnow (Rays) +1238
Lucas Giolito (White Sox) +1288
Blake Snell (Rays) +1325
Jose Berrios (Twins) +1600
Charlie Morton (Rays) +1925
Zack Greinke (Astors) +2150
Corey Kluber (Rangers) +2225
James Paxton (Yankees) +2700
Shohei Ohtani (Angels) +2750
Eduardo Rodriguez (Red Sox) +4375

Odds taken April 29th.

Bieber now carries the third-shortest AL Cy Young odds behind only last year’s winner Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, a.k.a. the $324 million dollar man.

Bieber has already established himself as one of the AL’s best starting pitchers in just two seasons, but is his new price justified?

Bieber was a Beast in 2019

The Indians ace is coming off a career-best campaign in which he posted sparkling numbers across the board. He went 15-8 with a 3.28 ERA, 3.32 FIP and 259 strikeouts in just over 214 innings.

He ranked fifth in WAR (5.6), third in win probability added (2.97) and was named All-Star Game MVP in front of the hometown Cleveland fans. Not too shabby for a sophomore.

Furthermore, Bieber showed great improvement from his rookie season, increasing his K/9 average, reducing his walk rate, and generating more soft contact.

It’s important to note that once baseball does return, it will be a shortened season, which could benefit Bieber. He was a fast starter in 2019 winning 12 of his first 16 decisions and a hot start will be crucial to capturing the award in 2020.

As for his new price, it doesn’t offer anywhere near the value in once did. At +1500, he’s an auto bet, but at +900, you should look probably look elsewhere.

Is Cole a Lock?

Most people will argue that Cole was robbed of Cy Young honors last season but that doesn’t mean you should run out to bet him at +286. Yes, he’s the ace of arguably the most talented team in baseball, but the opportunity cost at such a short number is extremely high.

If you’re looking for a reason to fade him, ignore that he won his last 15 decisions in 2019 and that he led MLB with a ridiculous 324 strikeouts. Instead, focus on the fact that he’s started slowly in two of the past three seasons.

Last year, he was 5-5 before going on a tear over the last four months and, in 2017, he started 2-5. Another slow start in 2020 could seriously jeopardize his Cy Young prospects.

Rodriguez Offers Real Value

If you’re avoiding the top of the board like I am, that means you’re looking to strike it rich with one of the longshots. Well look no further than Eduardo Rodriguez. He’s the Red Sox de facto ace with Chris Sale on the shelf and he finished a respectable sixth in AL Cy Young voting last season.

The left-hander made a career high 34 starts in 2019 and went 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA. He’s one of the best in the AL at forcing soft contact and has been drawing rave reviews from former Cy Young-winner Pedro Martinez.

Martinez believes Rodriguez is poised for big things this season and could drastically improve his 9.43 K/9 rate. Also working in Rodriguez’s favor is a propensity for fast starts. Last season he won 13 of his first 17 decisions and a repeat effort this season could go a long way in helping cash a ticket at longer than 40/1.

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