The finalists were recently revealed for the 2021 MLB Cy Young awards in both the American League and National League, and in one week, we’ll have our winners.
Some award races (like the AL MVP award) seem like foregone conclusions, but the same can’t be said about the Cy Young conversation in 2021.
The winners of these races are tough to predict, but we’re going to make some picks today.
Let’s get into it, starting with the American League.
AL Projected Winner: Robbie Ray
Lance Lynn is also a finalist, but he’s a long shot to win the award.
Most sportsbooks think that either Ray or Cole will take home the hardware, and it seems like Ray has the edge.
The lefty had a fantastic 2021 season, as he led the league in ERA (2.84), ERA+ (154), strikeouts (248), and WHIP (1.05).
Robbie Ray, Dirty 89mph Slider. 😨 pic.twitter.com/OL3yxX4nFx
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 26, 2021
He was also a horse in the sense that he ate a LOT of innings for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Ray posted league-highs in starts (32) and innings (193.1).
The Blue Jays’ furious postseason push unfortunately fell short, but Ray might win the award regardless.
Cole certainly has a case of his own, but his brutal finish to the season (7.64 ERA over final three starts) might end up costing him.
NL Projected Winner: Corbin Burnes
The Cy Young award is much tougher to predict when it comes to the NL side of things.
It’s between Burnes and Scherzer, and it’s anyone’s guess as to which guy is going to win the award.
Let’s start with Burnes.
The righty had a fantastic campaign, and he has the stats to back it up.
He led the league in ERA (2.43), ERA+ (176), FIP (1.63), home runs per nine innings (0.4), strikeouts per nine innings (12.6), and strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.88).
He also tossed the first eight innings of a combined no-hitter in September.
CORBIN BURNES AND JOSH HADER TOSS A COMBINED NO-HITTER 👏 @BRWalkoff
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 12, 2021
Impressively, the Milwaukee Brewers went 19-9 in his starts, and the team ultimately won the NL Central relatively comfortably.
Scherzer, on the other hand, got into the Cy Young conversation after being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the deadline.
The veteran’s first nine starts with L.A. after the trade were historic.
He pitched to a 0.78 ERA, .136 FIP, and .150 opponent batting average over that span, and the Dodgers went 9-0 in those starts.
Max Scherzer, Unfair 88mph Slider…and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/ald5CxQSv4
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 27, 2021
Unfortunately, Scherzer hit some rocky waters near the very end of the regular season, as he allowed five earned runs in each of his final two outings (10 earned runs total).
That certainly put a dent in his Cy Young chances.
Miraculously, the Dodgers still ended up winning those final two starts of his, so L.A. wound up going 11-0 in Scherzer’s regular-season outings.
Still, the three-time Cy Young award winner might have cost himself his fourth by getting shelled in those final two appearances.
We’re going to pick Burnes to win the award, though it really could go either way.
We’ll get a legitimate answer in seven days.