Welcome to the first edition of RunSportBet’s 2021 Cy Young rankings, in which we pick the top pitchers from each league.
5. Danny Duffy, Royals
The 11-year veteran is enjoying his best stretch ever in the majors. Duffy leads the Junior Circuit in ERA after allowing two earned runs over 30 innings (five starts). The left-hander’s 10.2 K/9 is a career high, and he’s won four games already while leading the upstart Royals to the top spot in the AL Central.
4. Carlos Rodon, White Sox
The former top pitching prospect is finally putting it all together in his seventh season. The 28-year-old has only surrendered seven hits, including one homer, over 25 innings (four starts) while recording a career-high 13 K/9. Rodon’s signature moment came when he threw a no-hitter against the Indians after taking a perfect game into the ninth during his second start of the campaign.
3. Shane Bieber, Indians
The reigning AL Cy Young winner is a strikeout machine. The electric right-hander has struck out 68 hitters, which leads MLB. Only Gerrit Cole (14.8) has registered a better K/9 than Bieber (14.4). His ERA is higher than where Duffy and Rodon stand, but he’s pitched more innings and has accrued a better fWAR, which is why he slots in above those two hurlers.
2. Tyler Glasnow, Rays
Glasnow has been terrific through his first seven starts, averaging 13.2 strikeouts per nine thanks to an elite pitch mix that includes a 97.6-mph fastball and a new devastating slider. The strapping Rays ace sits second among AL starters in fWAR, third in K/9, and fourth in ERA and FIP. Glasnow’s only weakness is shown in a 3.09 BB/9, which is his league’s seventh-highest.
1. Gerrit Cole, Yankees
Cole tops the AL list because of his dominant pitching line, which includes first-place ranks in wins, strikeouts per nine, WHIP, and FIP. Opponents are hitting just .178 against the Yankees right-hander, who’s also striking out nearly 45% of the batters he faces. While Cole’s fastball velocity ranks in the 98th percentile among major-league heaters, increased use of his changeup has been a game-changer. Only one hit has been recorded off the pitch
5. Trevor Rogers, Marlins
The rookie southpaw has impressed through six starts, and his only weak area is a slightly inflated walk rate relative to the other top-shelf arms. Young hurlers are often given strict pitch counts, so Rogers may not be able to stay in the Cy Young hunt all season. But he’s another promising starter in what’s beginning to look like a position of strength in south Florida.
4. Joe Musgrove, Padres
His most recent outing aside, Musgrove has been tremendous for the Padres. In April, the right-hander threw the franchise’s first no-hitter, and he struck out 41 batters in 29 frames. His 1.24 ERA and 0.66 WHIP through the opening month were outstanding, and he also bested the marks that teammates Yu Darvish and Blake Snell set.
3. Brandon Woodruff, Brewers
The Brewers’ co-ace has been steady in 2021. After allowing three earned runs over four innings on Opening Day, Woodruff has recorded five consecutive quality starts with a 1.16 ERA over 31 innings. Few hurlers have avoided barrels quite as well as him. Only Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara has been barreled up less frequently per plate appearance among qualified starters than Woodruff, according to Baseball Savant.
2. Corbin Burnes, Brewers
Burnes was on the verge of making history before being placed on the injured list in late April. He needs three more strikeouts to pass Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen for the most to start a season without issuing a walk since 1893. His remarkable command and wipeout stuff are propelling him to almost unparalleled greatness. The right-hander allowed one run over his first four starts. The Brewers hope his absence is short.
1. Jacob deGrom, Mets
DeGrom is in a league of his own when it comes to sustained velocity among starting pitchers. As of May 3, he had thrown 46 pitches at 100 mph or harder, according to Sarah Langs of MLB.com. The next most has come from Shohei Ohtani, who’s notched nine. While deGrom missed Tuesday’s start with tightness in his right side, the issue isn’t expected to keep him sidelined for long. If he’s 100% going forward, deGrom is the best bet to take home his third Cy Young Award.