Aaron Nola Blatantly Disrespected in NL Cy Young Betting Market

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola has the third-best wins-above-replacement, or WAR, amongst NL starters, but is seventh in NL Cy Young odds.
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola has the third-best wins-above-replacement, or WAR, amongst NL starters, but is seventh in NL Cy Young odds. / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

In Aaron Nola's final game of the first half, he joined the likes of Steve Carlton, Curt Schilling and Cole Hamels with at least 25 games of 10-plus strikeouts in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform.

Not bad company to keep for a player that's been all but dismissed in the National League Cy Young betting market.

Nola's odds at several sportsbooks are posted at +4000, or 40/1 to win the NL Cy Young. Sandy Alcantara of the Miami Marlins remains the undisputed favorite at -130; leading the league in ERA, innings pitched, and wins-above-replacement (WAR) at 4.1.

Alcantara's deserving of being the top name at the top of the board, but should there be seven other pitchers ahead of Nola?

Absolutely not.

If the oddsmakers aren't going to pay attention to his stellar season, bettors absolutely should, because this race will be substantially closer by the time the winner is announced.

Aaron Nola Remains the Best Cy Young Value Bet on the Board

According to Fangraphs, only two pitchers in the National League have a higher wins-above-replacement, or WAR than Nola (3.5): the aforementioned Alcantara (4.1), and Carlos Rodón of the San Francisco Giants.

Alcantara's lead of 0.6 WAR may be tough to catch up to, but Nola, along with Max Fried of the Atlanta Braves hold a 0.4 WAR lead over fellow Phillies starter Zack Wheeler, and the same 0.6 WAR lead over the next candidate behind them; last year's NL Cy Young champion Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Nola's ability to induce weak contact in and around the zone has been a huge plus for the 29-year old right hander. In his MLB Statcast profile below, he's been dominant on the inside part of the plate to left-handers, as well as to right-handers on the outside part of the zone. He's had some balls leave the yard middle down and inside up to right-handers, but there's very little red when it comes to his batting average against.

Next, he's also figured out how to win away from Citizens Bank Park. Over his career, Nola is 41-22 with a 3.22 ERA at home in 94 games. In 96 starts outside of Philadelphia, he's 32-34 with a 3.03 ERA.

This year, however, it's been the opposite. Nola, despite a 3-5 record has been stellar on the road with a 2.30 ERA in 70.1 IP; jolting his K/9 up to 10.

Finally, if you're going to put your trust in a longshot pitcher to get to a Cy Young level, you might as well see their numbers for the second half. Nola's best months of his career have come in July and August, pitching to a 3.01 and 2.93 ERA respectively. In case you're curious, Alcantara's career ERA goes up nearly a full run in the second half; rising from 2.74, to 3.62.

While September/October (4.60 ERA) haven't gone well for Nola in the past, it's not because the stuff has gone flat. His K/9 the final month of the season is actually the best of his career at 11.53. The issue has simply been mistakes. His HR/9 balloons to 1.52, compared to an average of 0.80 in the previous two months.

So far this season, Nola's HR/9 is the lowest it's been since 2018 at 0.92; perhaps a positive indication of what may be to come the rest of the season.

Nola starts tonight for the Phillies as a slight home underdog as they look for two straight wins vs. the Braves.

Another dominant performance tonight, and we may see Nola's odds start to sizably shrink on the board.

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