By Trevor Smith
The Cy Young is awarded to the top pitcher in the American League and National League each season. Over the past few years, the Cy Young Award winners have tended to lead their teams to serious postseason runs and this year is shaping up as more of the same.
Max Scherzer, starter, Nationals: 220 strikeouts, 2.25 ERA, 0.85 WHIP
Max Scherzer, who is coming off the disabled list Friday, is looking to continue his dominance as the Washington Nationals’ ace. He leads the NL with 220 strikeouts in only 160.1 innings pitched, trailing only Boston’s ace Chris Sale, who has an AL-leading 250 strikeouts. Scherzer has a WHIP (walk/hits per inning pitched) of 0.85, which is the best in the MLB, while also boasting a 12-5 record. The Cy Young could be Scherzer’s for the second straight year if he can keep up his dominance the rest of the season. His next start is scheduled for Friday against the New York Mets.
Clayton Kershaw, starter, Dodgers: 168 strikeouts, 2.04 ERA, 0.88 WHIP
Clayton Kershaw is the clear ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitching staff, boasting an incredible 15-2 record. He has a top-5 WHIP, as well as striking out 168 batters in 141.1 innings. He leads the MLB with a 2.04 ERA. Kershaw is Scherzer’s biggest competition for the NL Cy Young and the only thing standing in Kershaw’s path is a disabled-list stint that looks to derail his season. He looks to get back on track with a short Triple-A stint in Oklahoma City on Saturday before heading back to the majors.
Kenley Jansen, reliever, Dodgers- 34 saves, 89 strikeouts, 1.28 ERA, 0.69 WHIP
Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers’ top relief pitcher, is arguably having the best year of his career. Jansen is boasting a strong 0.69 WHIP while posting an absurd 20:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He is looking to become first reliever to win the Cy Young Award since former Dodgers pitcher Eric Gagne did so in 2003.
Chris Sale, starter, Boston Red Sox: 250 strikeouts, 2.62 ERA, 0.89 WHIP
Chris Sale has been a dominant force since joining the Boston Red Sox during the most recent free-agency period. He has an impressive 14-6 record while leading the MLB with 250 strikeouts in 175.1 innings pitched. Sale also boasts a 0.89 WHIP while recording 10-plus strikeouts in three out of his past six outings, making him the clear front runner in the AL Cy Young race. His next outing is Thursday against the Cleveland Indians.
Corey Kluber, starter, Cleveland Indians: 196 strikeouts, 2.67 ERA, 0.92 WHIP
Cleveland’s ace Corey Kluber is having another strong season for the Indians. He has posted a 12-3 record with an impressive 0.92 WHIP against opposing batters. Kluber is looking to make a run at his second Cy Young in four years with a strong end to his season. The Indians’ ace will need to take advantage of every start if he wants a chance at catching Boston’s Chris Sale.
Carlos Carrasco, starter, Indians: 12-6 record, 167 strikeouts, 3.95 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
Carlos Carrasco has been a key piece in the Indians’ push to make it back to the World Series this season. Carrasco, after missing the tail end of last season with a nondisplaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal, has continuously produced strong outings on his way to a 12-6 record. He also boasts a solid 1.14 WHIP, to go along with a 3.95 ERA. Carrasco’s next outing is Sunday against the Kansas City Royals.