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Once 16-1, Trevor Bauer Now AL Cy Young Favorite

Ryan Murphy

by Ryan Murphy in MLB Baseball

Updated Apr 27, 2020 · 9:32 AM PDT

Trevor Bauer
Trevor Bauer has been sensational to start the season. Photo by Erik Drost (Wikimedia Commons).
  • Trevor Bauer has emerged as the favorite to win the 2019 AL Cy Young Award
  • The Indians right-hander has given up just one hit in two starts to begin the 2019 season
  • Bauer finished tied for sixth in AL Cy Young voting in 2018

It’s amazing what a no-hit bid can do for your Cy Young campaign.

Cleveland Indians ace Trevor Bauer has seen his odds to win the 2019 AL Cy Young Award improve from +1600 on March 21st to +300 on April 8th after throwing seven no-hit innings against the Toronto Blue Jays last Thursday.

The 28-year-old righty now has the shortest odds to win the award among all American League pitchers.

2019 AL Cy Young Odds

Player 2019 AL Cy Young Odds
Trevor Bauer (Indians) +300
Chris Sale (Red Sox) +350
Corey Kluber (Indians) +500
Gerrit Cole (Astros) +600
Jose Berrios (Twins) +600

All odds taken on 04/08/19.

Bauer Picking Up Right Where He Left Off in 2018

Bauer’s hot start is hardly surprising given his performance in 2018. The North Hollywood native’s Cy Young Odds were as short as +850 from August 1st until August 11th when he suffered a stress fracture in his fibula in a game against the Chicago White Sox. At the time, Bauer was 12-6 and ranked second in the American League in WAR and Fielding Independent Pitching, third in ERA, and fourth in strikeouts and strikeout rate.

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Bauer logged three more starts in late September, but was limited to 1.1 innings in his return and four innings in each of his subsequent outings as management sought to ease his workload prior to the playoffs.

Bauer Has Been Practically Unhittable in 2019

Bauer showed no signs of rust in his first start of the season on March 31st as he gave up just one hit and struck out nine in seven innings against the Minnesota Twins. The game was played in chilly 34 degree conditions, but the right-hander didn’t mind, later crediting the cool weather for the effectiveness of his changeup.

Bauer one-upped himself on April 4th by holding the Blue Jays hitless over seven stellar innings. Indians manager Terry Francona made the difficult decision to pull his ace after 117 pitches, but the normally contentious Bauer didn’t fault his skipper for yanking him in the middle of a no-no.

“I knew it was probably time to come out,” he acknowledged. “That being said, I think my velocity was higher in that last inning probably than all innings. My stuff was sharp. If I’d gone back out, I feel like I would have gotten it, but it’s a long season. We’re in the second week of it.”

Bauer is scheduled to start again on Wednesday, April 10th against the division-leading Tigers. Detroit’s lineup has hit just .248 with a .682 OPS in 117 at bats against Bauer.

Should You Bet on Bauer?

Bauer’s start has been exceptional, but bettors should be leery of reading too much into such a tiny sample size. The Indians hurler has never finished in the top 5 in Cy Young voting and has averaged just 13 wins over the last four seasons.

He’s likely to continue to mow down batters with his A+ stuff, but it’s questionable whether he’s even the best starter on Cleveland’s staff. That honor belongs to two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, rising star Mike Clevinger, or former 18-game winner Carlos Carrasco, depending on the day.

Bauer has never finished in the top 5 in Cy Young voting and has averaged just 13 wins over the last four seasons.

If you’re looking for slightly better value we recommend Blake Snell at +1200. The Rays southpaw captured the 2018 Cy Young Award after leading the league in wins, ERA, BAA, and lowest contact percentage. His minuscule 1.89 ERA was the lowest in the American League in 18 years, and the third lowest since the introduction of the designated hitter.

Granted, Snell was hit hard in his first start of the season against the Houston Astros, but he looked far better in his second outing against the Colorado Rockies, giving up just two hits and striking out 13 in seven scoreless innings. That’s the version of Snell fans can expect to see more of this season, and at 12-1 odds, he’s the best bargain in baseball.

Pick: Blake Snell (+1200)

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