Boston appears loaded with AL Cy Young candidates according to the MLB futures odds. but our handicapper believes 2017 belongs an arm someplace other than Beantown.
Since we reached Y2K, the National League has produced back-to-back Cy Young winners three times. Clayton Kershaw was the most recent (2013-14), preceded by Tim Lincecum (2008-09) and Randy Johnson (1999-2002), the Big Unit's string actually starting before two-triple zero.
Not once in that span has the American League seen it happen, and Boston's Rick Porcello would like to change that in 2017. MLB futures odds don't believe he will with the lanky righthander posted at 33/1 to win his second consecutive trophy. Those same odds do believe, however that one of his teammates has a strong chance to replace him.
Boston is drunk with Cy Young candidates, one of several reasons the Red Sox appear on a collision course with the Chicago Cubs in this year's World Series. At the top of the chart is newly acquired lefty Chris Sale. over from the Chicago White Sox in an offseason trade. Sale is the chalkiest of picks on a +350 price with teammate and fellow southpaw David Price at +1600. Lefties have a history of struggling at Fenway Park, and while Sale could change that with his arsenal and a solid chance to win 20+, neither him nor Price, who has already been in the trainer's room for elbow issues this spring, is my choice.
Kluber & Verlander Looking For 2nd CY's
Corey Kluber, the winner in 2014 when he went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA, follows Sale on the MLB odds at +500. He's coming off another 18-win season that saw him pitch the Cleveland Indians to the World Series with a 1.83 ERA in six postseason assignments. The Indians fell just short of their first championship in nearly 70 years, and Cleveland manager Terry Francona has been holding back on Kluber during the spring after last year's heavy workload.
Three righthanders stand next on the list, each as +1200 picks. Justin Verlander won the honor in 2011 when he was also AL MVP for the Detroit Tigers, and he placed second in the voting in 2012 and last year. That second place finish in 2016 upset girlfriend Kate Upton, ho fired off angry tweets after Verlander bounced back from an injury-marred 2015 with a 16-9 record, 3.04 ERA and league-leading 254 strikeouts, his fourth AL K title.
The other two at 12/1 are Toronto's Aaron Sanchez and Yu Darvish of Texas. Sanchez established himself as one of the rising young hurlers in the AL after going 15-2 in 30 starts with a 3.00 ERA. He seems destined for more success, but it's Darvish who piques my interest for success in the trophy hunting this year. After sitting out all of 2015 and starting late a year ago, the Japanese star seems poised to lead the Rangers into the postseason with an outstanding campaign.
Lone Star Southpaws Are Intriguing Wagers
Chris Archer is next on the list at +1400, and the 28-year-old veteran of five seasons has the stuff to win the award. But it would take a huge season this year considering Archer will be lucky to notch 14 dubyas with the rebuilding Tampa Bay Rays.
A couple of southpaws down in the Lone Star State offer 20/1 returns, and both Cole Hamels and Dallas Keuchel are intriguing plays. Hamels had a very consistent 2016 season, the Rangers winning 24 of Hollywood's 32 starts. Keuchel won the trophy in 2015, then really fell off in 2016. He appears back on track in spring training, and if Kid Keuchy can get back close to the 20-win plateau while pitching Houston to a division title, he can snag a second award.Free MLB Pick: Yu Darvish +1200