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Gerrit Cole Becomes Odds-On AL Cy Young Favorite; Means Still Not Top-Five

Paul Attfield

by Paul Attfield in MLB Baseball

May 26, 2021 · 9:13 PM PDT

Gerrit Cole, Pitcher, New York Yankees
New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers during the third inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater, Fla., Thursday, March 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
  • New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole still leads the way in the AL Cy Young odds at -125, almost one third of the way through the regular season
  • John Means and Lance Lynn, who both have lower ERAs than Cole, have only the fifth and sixth-best odds of winning the award
  • Read on for the updated odds, a look at the contenders, and the best bet to win the 2021 award

With every team in the American League having played at least 46 games – or almost a third of their seasons – the AL Cy Young odds are starting to work themselves out, with New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole currently leading the way at -125, just ahead of last year’s winner Shane Bieber of Cleveland, whose odds currently sit at +400.

Cole is certainly firmly in the mix statistically, with a 6-2 record and a 1.81 ERA – as well as being tied for second in WAR amongst all AL players at 2.8. However, the only player above him in that latter aspect is Baltimore Orioles pitcher John Means, who has a WAR of 3.2, leads the league in WHIP, and is second in ERA at 1.79. All that, and he was one of four AL pitchers to register a no-hitter in this crazy season, back on May 5 against the Seattle Mariners.

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2021 AL Cy Young Odds

Pitcher Odds
Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees -125
Shane Bieber, Cleveland +400
Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays +650
Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox +1200
Lance Lynn, Chicago White Sox +1500
John Means, Baltimore Orioles +2000
Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox +3000
Aroldis Chapman, NY Yankees +3000
Zack Greinke, Houston Astros +3300
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Toronto Blue Jays +3500
Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins +4000
Corey Kluber, New York Yankees +4000
Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals +4000
Dylan Bundy, Los Angeles Angels +5000
Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox +5000
Cristian Javier, Houston Astros +5000
Kenta Maeda, Minnesota Twins +5000
Mike Minor, Kansas City Royals +5000
Frankie Montas, Oakland Athletics +5000
Zach Plesac, Cleveland +5000

Odds as of May 26 at DraftKings.

Means Means Business

Despite going 2-4 with a 4.53 ERA in 10 starts last year, the 28-year-old left-hander looks like a late bloomer who is starting to realize some of the talent the Orioles were hoping was there when they snagged him with an 11th-round pick in 2014.

While he went 12-11 in 2019, he has pushed past a lackluster 2020 this campaign, and has shown consistency too. In addition to his no-hitter, Means has had four starts this year where he went at least six innings without giving up a run.

He is also just ahead of Cole in both ERA and WHIP, although the Orioles have lost his last three starts, with Means taking a no-decision in each case. The left-hander has a 2.79 ERA over those games – after he posted a 1.37 ERA in his first seven starts – so it will be interesting to see if his season is starting to trend in the opposite direction.

Glasnow’s Ray Of Hope

Tampa ace Tyler Glasnow is 4-2 with a 2.90 ERA in 10 starts, and has the third-best odds of taking home the Cy Young at +625. The 27-year-old has been overpowering batters this season, limiting them to a .176 average, and has struck out 10 or more batters in five of his starts.

Glasnow has flirted with this kind of dominance before, going 6-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 2019, but he only made 12 starts that year, and has never made more than 13 starts in any of his six MLB seasons.

King Cole’s Crown To Lose?

The Yankees brought Gerrit Cole to the Bronx to contend for Cy Youngs and to help it win championships. But despite finishing in the top-five voting on four occasions, Cole has never managed to snag a Cy Young in any of his previous stops in Pittsburgh or Houston.

In his second year in pinstripes, Cole is second in the AL in strikeouts (92), wins (6) and WHIP (0.80), as well as being third in ERA (1.81). But if you take into consideration Cole’s consistent reliability and ERA+, which normalizes his ERA across the league and takes into consideration external factors like the ballpark and opposing teams, it looks even better.

Cole is on pace to pitch over 200 innings with an ERA+ of 226. Only two other pitchers have ever gone over 200 innings with an ERA+ or 225 or better: Pedro Martinez (2000) and Roger Clemens (2005).

Best bet: John Means (+2000)

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