Thanks to a perfect 4-0 start in his first four starts of 2016, Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale remains a solid favorite to win his first American League Cy Young Award. This is the first time Las Vegas sportsbooks are offering betting on MLB postseason awards, including the Cy Young and MVP. Sale is listed at +350 to win the AL Cy Young at William Hill books in Nevada.
The 27-year-old southpaw is a four-time AL All-Star and led the league in strikeouts in 2015, but he has yet to break through and finish better than third in Cy Young voting. Last season, he set the team record for most strikeouts in a season with 274 in 208.2 innings and tied the MLB mark for most consecutive starts with 10 or more strikeouts (eight). Sale’s top competition for the award this year are currently Felix Hernandez (+500) of the Seattle Mariners and David Price (+600) of the Boston Red Sox.
Both Hernandez (1-1, 1.00) and Price (2-0, 4.50) previously won the AL Cy Young in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Price is playing with his fourth different team in three seasons and earned the award as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays when he finished 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA, while Hernandez went 13-12 with a 2.27 ERA and 232 strikeouts when he won it. Hernandez actually had better numbers in 2014 when he went 15-6 with a career-low 2.14 ERA and a career-high 248 strikeouts, but he placed second behind winner Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians and just ahead of Sale.
Kluber (0-3, 6.16) is listed at +1000 as the fifth choice to win the Cy Young in the AL, tied with Sonny Gray (2-1, 2.33) of the Oakland Athletics behind 2015 winner Dallas Keuchel (2-1, 2.18) of the Houston Astros (+800). Cleveland’s ace has struggled since going 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA and 269 strikeouts in 2014, as he went 9-16 last year with a 3.49 ERA and has yet to win a game this season. Like Sale, Gray has never won it.
In the National League, the Cy Young race is essentially between two starting pitchers who have combined to win four of the past five awards. Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 1.64) of the Los Angeles Dodgers is a three-time winner and finished second behind Jake Arrieta (3-0, 1.23) of the Chicago Cubs a year ago despite notching a career-best 301 strikeouts. Kershaw is the +200 favorite in the NL to win his fourth with Arrieta right behind him at +300. Arrieta went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA and 236 strikeouts in 2015, helping lead the Cubs to their first playoff appearance in seven seasons.
The favorites to win the AL and NL MVP are also both previous winners. Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals won his first NL MVP last season and is +250 to repeat. Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels is +250 in the AL as well and won it in 2014.