Gerrit Cole Still Odds-On AL Cy Young Favorite Despite Struggles; Who Should Be Favored?

Gerrit Cole catching a ball on the mound

New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole reacts during the fourth inning of the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the New York Mets on Sunday, July 4, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

  • New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole remains the -159 odds-on favorite to win the 2021 American League Cy Young Award
  • Cole leads the AL in strikeouts but is just 8-4 with a 2.91 ERA
  • No other pitcher shows odds of better than +275 in this betting market, though

Through his recent years of dominance, New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole has never managed to win the American League Cy Young Award. Could it be that this year, the Yankees right-hander is going to win it on reputation?

Cole is enjoying a decent year but he’s certainly not pitching lights out as he has in previous campaigns. However, no other AL hurler is dominating, either. At this point, that means the Cy Young remains Cole’s to lose.

He’s currently listed at -159 to win the award in the AL Cy Young odds. Carlos Rodon of the Chicago White Sox is at +275. No other AL pitcher is showing better odds than +600.

2021 AL Cy Young Odds

Pitcher (Team) Odds at DraftKings
Gerrit Cole (Yankees) -159
Carlos Rodon (White Sox) +275
Lance Lynn (White Sox) +600
Shane Bieber (Cleveland) +2000
Nathan Eovaldi (Red Sox) +2000
John Means (Orioles) +2500
Hyun-Jin Ryu (Blue Jays) +3500
Kyle Gibson (Rangers) +3500
Tyler Glasnow (Rays) +4000
Zack Greinke (Astros) +4000
Jose Berrios (Twins) +5000
Dylan Bundy (Angels) +5000
Lucas Giolito (White Sox) +5000
Cristian Javier (Astros) +5000
Chris Bassitt (Athletics) +5000
Dylan Cease (White Sox) +6000
Danny Duffy (Royals) +6000
Aroldis Chapman (Yankees) +6000
Aaron Civale (Cleveland) +6000
Shohei Ohtani (Angels) +6600

Odds as of July 5.

King Cole’s Crown Slipping?

Cole occupies his usual place atop the AL strikeout leaders. He’s fanned 135 batters in 105 innings.

That averages out to 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings. Cole’s 36.6% strikeout rate over the past three seasons is #1 in baseball. He’s also #1 in the AL this season in strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.75).

Other than that, his numbers aren’t awe-inspiring. Cole’s ERA and his hits per nine innings (6.9) are his highest totals in five seasons.

Cole is 3-3 over his last six decisions. He’s been touched for five earned runs in two of those losses. In his last trip to the mound, the Boston Red Sox got to Cole for six runs, five earned, over five innings. That included three home runs.

During his first season pitching at home-run friendly Yankee Stadium, Cole’s home run-per-nine innings rate went from 1.23 to 1.73. This year, though, it’s gone down to 1.3.

Cole was fourth in Cy Young voting last season. In 2019, despite leading the AL in wins and strikeouts with the Houston Astros, Cole finished second in the balloting to teammate Justin Verlander.

2021 MLB MVP Odds Tracker

Surprising AL Contenders

A number of pitchers who weren’t prominent on the AL Cy Young radar at the start of the season have pitched themselves into a position of prominence.

Lance Lynn of the Chicago White Sox is 8-3 with a 2.02 ERA. His betting line has shortened from +1700 to +600. Nathan Eovaldi of the Red Sox is allowing the fewest homers per nine innings of any pitcher in the AL (.369). He went from +4000 to +2000.

Lynn’s teammate Rodon, fourth in the AL in strikeouts, and Gibson (+3500) of the Texas Rangers weren’t really considered in the preseason AL Cy Young odds. Gibson leads AL pitchers in WAR (4.4) and ERA (1.98). Cleveland’s Aaron Civale (+6000) is atop the AL in wins (10) and winning percentage (.833).

Is Zack A Factor?

Houston’s Zack Greinke won the AL Cy Young with the 2009 Kansas City Royals. The veteran campaigner leads the league in innings pitched (111.1) and games started (18).

He’s won eight games and shows an .800 winning percentage. Yet his betting line has lengthened to +4000 after being +3300 to start the season.

It sure looks like this award is Cole’s to lose. Now it’s up to him not to lose it.

Pick: Gerrit Cole (-159)

Author Image

Robert Duff

Sports Writer