As the home stretch of the baseball season begins, theScore’s MLB editors break down the leading candidates for the MVP and Cy Young awards in the American and National Leagues. Today, we’re ranking the early favorites for the 2018 NL Cy Young.
5. Miles Mikolas
Mikolas is transplanted from another era of baseball solely to stare directly into the void of the three true outcomes and laugh. Despite striking out batters at the second lowest rate in the National League, Mikolas owns the fourth-best ERA and ranks sixth by WAR. Returning to the major leagues after an extended stay in Japan, some were unsure what Mikolas would be capable of. However, he has certainly proved his mettle atop the Cardinals rotation.
4. Patrick Corbin
After a hot start, Corbin has cooled off substantially, and his inclusion on this list is more a testament to how shallow the NL Cy Young contenders truly are. That being said, the left-hander is still striking out opposing hitters with impunity, posting the third-best mark in the Senior Circuit among qualified starters and the best pace of his career. Even further, the humidor seems to have worked for the 29-year-old, as Corbin is limiting home runs, allowing 11 over 23 starts.
3. Aaron Nola
The 25-year-old Nola has cemented himself as an ace the Phillies pitching staff can revolve around going forward. If all goes well this year, Nola will finally make 30 starts and pitch more than 170 innings for the first time in his career. He strikes out a batter per inning, which is good but low for the current climate, but his home run suppression is what has made him so dominant this year. Peripherals indicate that it may be unsustainable, but Nola has allowed eight dingers all year and boasts the lowest HR/9 of any qualified starter in the NL.
2. Max Scherzer
Scherzer already has three Cy Youngs on his mantle, and is still somehow having the best year of his career at 34 years old. Despite struggles in early July, Scherzer owns career-best marks in strikeout rate, ERA, and FIP. By the archaic metrics, Scherzer’s 15-5 win-loss record is a big part of the reason the Nationals are still in the conversation at all, but the Cy Young electorate has evolved beyond relying on win-loss record. Or hopefully it has, if the No. 1 on this list wants to add hardware to his bare trophy case.
1. Jacob deGrom
The Mets ace has been nothing short of a world beater this year, authoring an unfathomably low 1.85 ERA. The best fun fact – unless you’re a Mets fan, probably – regarding deGrom is the fact that he owns a 5-7 record thanks to a total lack of run support, but has been worth 5.4 WAR by FanGraphs. Put alternatively, he has been worth more actual wins than his team has won while he has been on the mound.
Honorable mention: Zack Greinke (Diamondbacks), Mike Foltynewicz (Braves), Kyle Freeland (Rockies)