Who will win the NL Cy Young?

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(© Sean Gladwell – stock.adobe.com)

The NL Cy Young race in the shortened 2020 MLB season seems to be a race between several quality arms, although there are a few names that stand out above the rest. There is Jacob deGrom, from the New York Mets, who has won the award in each of the past two seasons and has been lights out for the Mets once again. Dinelson Lamel (San Diego Padres) and Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers) have also had impressive seasons while posting ERAs under the 2.20 mark.

However, the race for the award might be decided between just two pitchers: Trevor Bauer, from the Cincinnati Reds, and Yu Darvish, from the Chicago Cubs. Both are having career years in 2020 and the numbers do not lie. Let’s take a look at what both pitchers have done this season to determine which pitcher has the edge in the race for the Award for the best pitcher in the National League in 2020.

First, let’s take a look at what Bauer has done leading the Reds rotation. The outspoken pitcher joined the Reds after several solid years with the Cleveland Indians, but he has never pitched at this level. He owns an NL-best 1.73 ERA and a 5-4 record, although he has only made 11 starts. He has two complete-game shutouts, though, something that’s quite rare in today’s baseball. His 100 strikeouts rank second in the National League while pacing the NL in both batting average against (.179) and WHIP (.159).

Bauer’s numbers make a strong case for the award, but Darvish has done enough to emerge as a reliable NL Cy Young contender as well. The Japanese hurler had struggled with injuries for the better part of the last two years, but he is completely healthy in 2020 and the numbers have backed him up. His 2.01 ERA ranks second in the National League and has made 12 starts while pitching 76 innings, pacing Bauer in both categories (11 starts and 73.0 IP). Darvish also has a 93:20 K:BB in 2020 and his opposing batting average of .211 ranks eighth in the NL.

Another area where Bauer edges Darvish is the WHIP, as Darvish owns a 0.96 WHIP that ranks fifth in the National League, quite far from Bauer’s 0.79. However, Darvish leads all top-five pitchers in the WHIP department in innings pitched, which increases his chances of posting a higher figure. In any way, a sub-1.00 WHIP is stellar in any way you look at it.

Darvish does lead the National League in wins (eight) and he’s pitching for a Cubs team that owns the third-best record in the NL and has the NL Central title all but wrapped up. Meanwhile, Bauer is pitching for a Cincinnati team that might end in third place of the NL Central. Winning matters a lot, and old-school voters might put a lot of weight in the Cubs’ success when analyzing Darvish’s numbers — which are stellar already.

That said, Bauer has the edge here and should be the MLB consensus for the award. When it comes to individual numbers and, by most metrics, he’s been the best pitcher in the National League. He should be able to cap the 2020 MLB season by winning the first Cy Young Award of his career.

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Story by Juan Pablo Aravena


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