MLB Player Futures: Odds to Win the American League Cy Young

The American League Cy Young Award is given to the best pitcher in the AL for that year. The members of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America vote on the award with one representative from each team. Each member places a vote for first, second, third, fourth and fifth among the pitchers in the National League. The formula used to calculate the final scores is a weighted sum of the votes. Obviously, the pitcher with the highest score wins the award.

Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays was a somewhat surprising winner of the award in 2018. This year Snell is given just the fifth best odds in the field to take home the Cy Young with the Indians Corey Kluber currently listed as the odds-on favorite.

Below you will find the latest odds to win the AL Cy Young along with some advanced metrics for each player last year. We have included Skill-Interactive Earned Run Average (SIERA) as well as Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Below the odds you will find more detailed information about these metrics. A player with a DNQ (Did Not Qualify) for their SIERA last year simply means they did not have enough innings pitched to accurately assess their performance.

The final column represents the implied probability of each player winning the award given the current market odds.

Cy Young Odds courtesy of BetOnline

Updated Vegas Odds to Win the 2019 AL Cy Young Award

Player Team 2018 SIERA 2018 WAR Odds Change Cy Young
Corey Kluber Indians 3.23 5.4 +260 New 21.22%
Chris Sale Red Sox DNQ 6.1 +325 New 17.97%
Luis Severino Yankees 3.26 5.5 +600 New 10.91%
Justin Verlander Astros 2.63 6.7 +1400 New 5.09%
Blake Snell Rays 3.3 4.9 +1600 New 4.49%
Carlos Carrasco Indians 3.03 5.3 +1600 New 4.49%
Gerrit Cole Astros 2.91 5.9 +1600 New 4.49%
Trevor Bauer Indians 3.21 5.8 +1600 New 4.49%
David Price Red Sox 3.82 2.4 +2000 New 3.64%
James Paxton Mariners DNQ 3.7 +2200 New 3.32%
Jose Berrios Twins 3.8 3.2 +2800 New 2.63%
Masahiro Tanaka Yankees DNQ 2.5 +2800 New 2.63%
Yusei Kikuchi Mariners Rookie Rookie +3300 New 2.25%
Rick Porcello Red Sox 3.77 2.6 +4000 New 1.86%
Andrew Heaney Angels 3.74 2.7 +5000 New 1.50%
Charlie Morton Astros 3.52 2.9 +5000 New 1.50%
J.A. Happ Yankees 3.64 3.1 +5000 New 1.50%
Marcus Stroman Blue Jays DNQ 1.4 +5000 New 1.50%
Michael Fulmer Tigers DNQ 1.3 +5000 New 1.50%
Mike Clevinger Indians 3.86 4.2 +5000 New 1.50%
Nathan Eovaldi Red Sox DNQ 2.2 +5000 New 1.50%

SIERA Explained

SIERA (Skill-Interactive Earned Run Average) tries to eliminate in-game factors that are beyond a pitcher’s control. It also factors in things like walk rate and ground and fly ball rates. SIERA is considered a better indicator of a pitcher’s overall ability than ERA, because ERA doesn’t account for these ball in play factors that can many times inflate a player’s ERA despite a strong pitching performance. The players with the best SIERA will be those that strikeout a lot of batters, induce grounders and popups, as well as limit their walks.

SIERA Formula

6.145 - 16.986*(SO/PA) + 11.434*(BB/PA) - 1.858*((GB-FB-PU)/PA) + 7.653*((SO/PA)^2) +/- 6.664*(((GB-FB-PU)/PA)^2) + 10.130*(SO/PA)*((GB-FB-PU)/PA) - 5.195*(BB/PA)*((GB-FB-PU)/PA)

WAR Explained

WAR is something of a catch-all statistic that evaluates how many wins a player is worth to their team compared to a replacement player.  WAR basically says, if this player did not play for this team in this season and their backup was at best and average player, how many wins would that team be expected to lose? What is great about WAR is that it also factors in a player’s fielding contributions, not just their hitting statistics.

WAR is a bit more complicated for pitchers since they have less control over how the team around them will perform in the field, but using a metric called Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) helps give a better idea of how to fairly compare pitchers to league averages.

WAR Formula (Position Players)

(Batting Runs + Base Running Runs +Fielding Runs + Positional Adjustment + League Adjustment +Replacement Runs) / (Runs Per Win)

WAR Formula (Pitchers)

[[([(League “FIP” – “FIP”) / Pitcher Specific Runs Per Win] + Replacement Level) * (IP/9)] * Leverage Multiplier for Relievers] + League Correction

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