- Houston pitcher Justin Verlander remains the AL Cy Young favorite at +150
- But his edge over teammate Gerrit Cole (+175) has shortened
- Verlander was the prohibitive -250 chalk just a month ago
Sportsbooks still lists Justin Verlander as the favorite in the 2019 American League Cy Young Award odds. But suddenly, Verlander has some company at the top of the AL pitching mountain, and it’s someone from the same clubhouse.
Astros’ #2 starter Gerrit Cole has closed in on Verlander significantly. Verlander is currently the chalk at +150, while Cole is hot on his heels at +175. After Houston’s two aces, there’s a sizable drop to Tampa Bay’s Charlie Morton at +400.
2019 AL Cy Young Award Odds
|Player (Team)||*AL Cy Young Odds|
|Justin Verlander (Astros)||+150|
|Gerrit Cole (Astros)||+175|
|Charlie Morton (Rays)||+400|
|Lance Lynn (Rangers)||+650|
|Jose Berrios (Twins)||+1800|
|Mike Minor (Rangers)||+2000|
|Lucas Giolito (White Sox)||+2500|
|Shane Bieber (Indians)||+2500|
|Jake Odorizzi (Twins)||+3300|
*Odds taken on 08/02/19.
A month ago, Verlander was the -250 betting choice to win the AL Cy Young. Cole was a distant sixth in the odds at +900.
Verlander vs Cole
It’s not as though Verlander’s numbers have taken a dip. He’s won his last four starts. He’s 14-4 with an AL-leading 2.73 ERA. That’s a league-leading wins tally, as well.
Justin Verlander, Filthy ???mph Slider. ??❓ pic.twitter.com/8DXzciWosK
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 30, 2019
Verlander has allowed the fewest earned runs on the junior circuit (164). He also leads the league in WHIP (.881), hits-per-nine innings (5.5), strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.32) and opponent batting average (.169).
Justin Verlander-Gerrit Cole By The Numbers
The gap has narrowed because Cole has caught fire. He’s won his last eight decisions and hasn’t tasted defeat since May 22.
Cole only claims the AL lead in one meaningful category, strikeouts (216). But his performance on that front has been magnificent; only one pitcher — Randy Johnson — ever reached 200 strikeouts faster in a season.
Gerrit Cole, 100mph ??
And, then stares down his own dugout like he's about to go full Amir Garrett on them.
I think Lindor was shook. pic.twitter.com/OoVlydaAet
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 2, 2019
Cole is also second in WHIP (.996) and hits-per-nine innings (6.631) but remember that Cole is second to Verlander in both categories.
The biggest knock on Verlander this season is that he’s also first in one of the most undesirable categories: home runs allowed. He’s somehow managed to surrender a league-high 28 dingers.
Could Morton Make An Assault?
Tampa Bay’s Charlie Morton is second to Verlander in both opponent batting average (.206) and ERA (2.78). He’s also the opposite to Verlander in that he’s allowed an AL-low .662 home runs-per-nine innings.
He’s 12-3 but one-third of those wins have come against the woeful Baltimore Orioles (two), Detroit Tigers (one) and Miami Marlins (one). He’s just 3-3 in his last six decisions.
He simply hasn’t been as dominant as Verlander, nor his teammate Blake Snell last year, when Snell won his first Cy Young Award.
It’s A Two-Horse Race
Forget about all the other pitchers. This is like the 1978 Triple Crown between Affirmed and Alydar. It’s a two-horse race between the Astros aces.
In this scenario, Verlander is Triple Crown champion Affirmed and Cole is Alydar – a great performer destined to finish second.
Two pitchers from the same starting rotation have never ended up 1-2 in AL Cy Young Award voting.
Assuming they finish 1-2, Verlander and Cole will make history. Two pitchers from the same starting rotation have never ended up 1-2 in AL Cy Young Award voting. The closest call came in 1990, when Oakland A’s starter Bob Welch won the award and teammate Dave Stewart was third in the final tally.
In 2011, Verlander won both the AL Cy Young and MVP Awards while hurling for the Detroit Tigers. He won’t turn that double play this year, but Kate Upton’s hubby is the best bet to add another Cy Young Award to his trophy case.
Pick: Verlander (+150)