Here at The Sports Geek, we are spending this delay in sports action by giving you an in-depth look at all things Major League Baseball. This week we are taking a look at future’s bets for MLB. We kicked off that coverage earlier this week when we broke down the odds to win the 2020 American League Cy Young Award.
In this article, we are going to switch gears and head to the National League and break down the odds to win the 2020 Cy Young Award in the NL. First, we will breakdown the favorites, then we will take a look at the best value bets on the board, and finally, we will give you a couple of guys you are going to want to stay away from. Let’s get started!
Jacob deGrom +250
Max Scherzer +400
Jack Flaherty +500
Walker Buehler +600
It is crowded at the top right now in the National League as we have four guys offering single digit payouts, meaning the race is wide open for the taking. It is a nice mix of players with a couple of established stars like Jacob deGrom, who has won back to back Cy Young Awards, and Mad Max Scherzer, who is always a candidate to take home pitching’s highest honor. Throw in a couple of young stars in the making in Jack Flaherty and Walker Buehler, and we have a race that should be competitive all season long.
Jacob deGrom – New York Mets
How can you not like Jacob deGrom as the betting favorite right now? The lanky right-hander has taken home back to back Cy Young Awards and is the class of the National League. At just thirty-one years old, deGrom shows no signs of slowing down and should be right in the thick of his prime right now.
In a testament to just how good he has been in the last several years, last year, for much of the season, it felt like deGrom was having a bit of a down year, and he still went out and won the Cy Young Award! While deGrom wasn’t able to recreate his historic season from 2018, where he posted a 1.70 ERA, he still finished second in the league in ERA, behind only Hyun Jin-Ryu, with a 2.48 ERA. His 7.6 WAR was the highest amongst all pitchers, and he received twenty-nine out of thirty, first-place votes for the Cy Young Award, winning in a landslide.
Jacob deGrom wins his 2nd straight NL Cy Young Award pic.twitter.com/66l6da7i3v
— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) November 14, 2019
Wins have always been the one part of the equation that have been missing for deGrom as the Mets have gone back and forth between being bad and awful during deGrom’s six-year tenure in the Big Apple. But that is set to change this year as New York looks to be a real threat in the National League this season. The Mets are tied with Atlanta as the second betting favorites behind the Dodgers to win the NL pennant this year.
They currently project to have a six-man rotation with the newly acquired Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello, and Michael Wacha all fighting to stay in the rotation with deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. And that is a great thing for deGrom, as he is going to find some extra rest and have a lot of the pressure taken off of him.
In the last two years, deGrom won the Cy Young Award twice with a combined record of just 21-17. Now that the Mets look like they could score a bunch of runs and win a lot of games, deGrom has a chance to win twenty games for the first time in his career. If deGrom can win twenty games, you might as well hand over the trophy now.
Max Scherzer – Washington Nationals
Mad Max can never be too far away from any Cy Young award conversations, as he has won the award three times, with wins coming in both leagues. Scherzer won the award back to back in 2016 and 2017, before seeing deGrom dethrone him the last two years. Last year, Scherzer missed some action with an injury, but when he did pitch, he was as good as ever as he had a K/9 ratio of 12.7, the highest of his career.
Scherzer led the Nationals to their first-ever World Series title last year and did everything you could ever want out of a pitcher. He started games, pitched a bunch of innings on nearly zero rest, and even worked out of the bullpen at times. All told, Mad max appeared in seven games for Washington in the playoff last year, and the Nats went 7-0 in those games. His playoff stat line read 3-0 with a 2.40 ERA with thirty-seven strikeouts in thirty innings pitched.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 8, 2019
His seven-inning, one hit, masterpiece against the St. Louis Cardinals that gave Washington the sweep over the Cards will go down as an all-time great playoff performance. The Nats will look to defend their title in 2020 without Anthony Rendon, who bolted in free agency. But the Nats still have the core of what won them the World Series in the first place, their elite starting rotation, led by Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin.
Scherzer should be healthy this season, and while he is starting to get up there in age at thirty-five years young, I think he still has a couple of quality years left in him. The Nationals aren’t going to be quite as good as last year, and the division has gotten really tough. So, while Max can never be doubted at this point, I think Washington is going to have a bit of a World Series hangover.
Wins don’t drive the award nearly as much as they used to, but in two of the three years that Scherzer won the Cy Young Award, he won more than twenty games. When he won it back in 2017, he went 16-6. On a team that could finish in third or fourth place this year, in baseball’s toughest division, wins are going to be very hard to come by, so I am going to pass on Mad Max at this price.
Jack Flaherty – St. Louis Cardinals
Pop quiz, who was the best pitcher in the National League last year after the All-Star game? Max Scherzer? Jacob deGrom? Stephen Strasburg? Nope. Nope. Nope. It was Jack Flaherty, and really it wasn’t close. Flaherty was simply unhittable post-All-Star break last year. In fifteen starts, he went 7-2 with a 0.91 ERA!
His slow start to the year cost him the Cy Young Award last year as he was just 4-6 with a 4.91 ERA at the end of June. But man did he more than make up for that in the second half. In seventeen starts after July 1st, Flaherty pitched seven innings or more ten times, and in fourteen of those games, he allowed one run or fewer.
ST. LOUIS (Heartland Newsfeed/Ambush Sports) — Starting pitcher Jack Flaherty has been renewed for the 2020 season with the St. Louis Cardinals, according to a press release Sunday.
— Heartland Newsfeed (@HLNF_Bulletin) March 10, 2020
And what is really exciting about Flaherty is that he is only twenty-four years old! After being a first-round draft pick in 2014, Flaherty was on a fast track to the Major Leagues, making his debut in 2017. He had some growing pains early in his career as nearly all players do, mostly centered around walking too many guys and giving up too many home runs. But he has plugged those leaks and now look to be a guy that is going to have a long reign of terror striking out guys in the National League.
Flaherty has been a bit of a slow starter in his short three-year career, and if he can avoid that this year, he must be considered one of the absolute favorites to win the award in 2020. I was hoping that the public hadn’t quite caught on to Flaherty just yet, as I was able to ride him the entire second half of the year at very attractive odds, but it looks like the cat is out of the bag now. Expect Flaherty to attract huge odds each time out and back them up with some stellar performances. If I could buy stock in one of these guys for the next ten years, it would be Flaherty.
Walker Buehler – Los Angeles Dodgers
The final guy on my list of favorites is another young guy, Walker Buehler of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his two years as a full-time starter, the former first-round draft pick has shockingly supplanted Clayton Kershaw as the lead dog in the Dodgers rotation. While Kershaw is known for his playoff blowups, Buehler has been great late in the year, as he did everything he could for the Boys in Blue last year in the postseason.
Against the eventual World Series Champion, Washington Nationals, Buehler made two starts, and threw twelve and a third innings and allowed just one run and struck out fifteen. In 2018, he started a World Series game, and had a masterful performance against the Boston Red Sox, throwing seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits and no walks. This kid just has a way of stepping up his game when it matters most.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 12, 2020
Most expect the Dodgers to run away with the NL West Division title this year, and while San Diego Padres fans might have something to say about that, the Dodgers could win 100 games again this year. That means lots of runs of support and lots of wins piling up for Buehler.
Buehler is very mature for his age, and if he can ever get his walks under control, he could be very, very good. I think we still haven’t seen the best of Buehler just yet, and the sky is the limit for this kid that is still just twenty-five years old. But I have a feeling that he is still a year or two away from hitting his true top form.
And with a group of National League pitchers that are so good, and so evenly matched, you are going to have to be the best version of yourself to take home the Cy Young Award in 2020. For that reason, I am going to pass on Buehler for now. He is going to win a Cy Young Award at some point in his career, possibly more than one, but this isn’t his year, not yet.
The Value Bets
Unlike the American League, where most of the value came lower down the board, it is hard not to like any of these favorites above as they are all outstanding. In this second section, we will take a look further down the board and show you a couple of guys that, while not the betting favorites, are guys you are going to want to target that could be high risk, high reward, value plays.
Strasburg has always been considered one of the best pitchers in the National League. After coming into the league as the number one overall pick, he has always impressed. But what he did last year in the playoffs will make him a legend in Washington forever. Seven playoff appearances, seven National’s wins. Strasburg went 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA last year in the playoffs and carried Washington to their first World Series title. Staying healthy is always a major issue for Strasburg, but if he can stay on the field for 30+ starts you have to love the value he is showing right now at +1600.
The hype on Nola cooled down a lot last season as he wasn’t able to produce the same stellar results he had in 2018, but Nola is still one of the best pitchers in the NL and is still getting better. He had a career-high 229 K’s in 2019, and most of his struggles surrounded around the long ball, as he got torched for twenty-seven homers. Expect Nola to get back to dominating in 2020, and he is my favorite longshot play on the board right now at +2000.
The Guys To Stay Away From
We already broke down the favorites, and then gave you a couple of value plays on players paying higher odds. In this final section, we are going to give you a couple of guys that you are going to want to stay away from! These are guys that are priced like favorites, but that I feel are longshots.
- Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers +2000
- Yu Darvish – Chicago Cubs +1600
- Noah Syndergaard – New York Mets +2000
We already talked about how Kershaw has given way to Walker Buehler as the alpha dog in LA, and why would I ever want to back Kershaw at just +2000, when I can get Buehler at a reasonable number? Kershaw is on the downswing of his career, and while he is still pretty good, at least in the regular season, he is all done winning Cy Young Awards in his career. Save your money here and stay away from Kershaw, he isn’t the best pitcher on his team, let alone the best in the league.
Darvish has mostly been awful in his time with the Chicago Cubs, but the Japanese star very quietly had a strong second half of the year last year for the Cubs. Post-All-Star break, Darvish had an ERA of just 2.76 in thirteen starts, much better than the ERA north of five runs he had in the first half. That being said, Darvish has just never been able to recapture his dominance from his time in the AL with the Texas Rangers. While he is still a quality arm, he doesn’t deserve to be this high up the odds board right now. He couldn’t win the award when he was pitching at his best, he certainly won’t win it now when he is struggling.
It seems like Noah Syndergaard has been the next big thing now for like a decade. And while Thor has been great at times, he has never quite lived up to the lofty potential we all know he is capable of. Syndergaard has never really come close to winning a Cy Young, only finishing in the top ten once, and that was back in 2016, where he finished eighth. I like this kid, but he is on this list for what he might do someday, and I can’t justify a play on him at the current price on potential alone.
The MLB futures action is starting to heat up, and with the MLB season just around the corner, the time is now to do all of your homework that the other guys refuse to do. If you want to make money this year betting baseball, right now is the time to get to work. Thanks for reading and stay tuned to The Sports Geek all year long for all the sharp betting advice you need to make money betting Major League Baseball in 2020!