MLB has entered the back end of the season, and award races are starting to shape up. The Cy Young award is no different, with a fun race that could come down to the last few games
The Cy Young award is intriguing in that many of the voters have very different takes on what should be worth their vote. Is it ERA, wins, strikeouts, or a combo of many stats like WAR? It truly will come down to the voters’ interpretation.
With this is mind, we will attempt to give the power rankings of the top 10 Cy Young award hopefuls regardless of if they are in the NL or AL.
It should be noted this is not a list of who is most deserving, but rather the rankings of how they would receive voting points. These are not the same thing.
Had Zack Wheeler pitched more than 138 innings at the time of this writing, he would take this spot.
With Wheeler out, that puts 2020 Cy Young winner Shane Bieber in the 10 spot. Bieber is having himself a fantastic year.
Short of a shaky July, in which he had a 4.23 ERA, Bieber has had a very good season overall.
He is 7th among all pitchers with a 4.0 fWAR. He has a 2.96 ERA (129 ERA+) with a 9.22 strikeouts-per-9 innings, and a 5.03 strikeout-to-walk ratio (K/BB). He has 171 strikeouts total, which is good for 6th in the AL.
One reason why he is tenth in power rankings is because he has an expected ERA (xERA) of 3.52, so there is a chance that he could regress. However, we can’t truly count that against him, because it is not reflected in his on field results
Very rarely does a relief pitcher win the Cy Young award. In fact, only 9 relievers have ever won, with the last to do it being Eric Gagne in 2003 when he had 55 saves and was in the middle of setting the record of 84 consecutive saves.
Odds are slim for Diaz to be the next to win, but he has been absolutely dominant. He leads all relief pitchers in fWAR with 2.5. The second best is Ryan Helsley with 2.0. In other words, Diaz has been 25 percent better in terms of fWAR than the second-best pitcher in that category. That’s insane.
In terms of fWAR, the league leader in fWAR is Aaron Nola with 5.3 in 177.1 innings. If Diaz were have pitched that many innings, we would have 8.3 fWAR.
Diaz currently has 29 saves, with an insane 17 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. His K/BB ratio is also very good at 5.94. He sports an ERA of 1.52 which equates to an ERA+ of 258 (158% better than the league average).