Cy Young Predictions
1st place: Gerrit Cole – New York Yankees
2nd place: Justin Verlander – Houston Astros; 3rd place: Mike Clevinger – Cleveland Indians
I’ve seen a lot of early predictions favoring Shane Bieber over Mike Clevinger, but I’ll take the slightly longer track record of Clevinger over his teammate. He has increased his K-BB percentage and decreased his ERA in all four of his major league seasons with Cleveland. The 2011 draft pick could’ve ended up in this spot last season if he didn’t miss two months with a muscle strain in his upper back.
Death, taxes, and Justin Verlander pitching 200 innings. The reigning Cy Young winner has reached that mark in 12 of his previous 13 seasons and has struck out at least 250 batters in three of his last four seasons. With the Astros “busy” offseason and the fact that Verlander finally won his second Cy Young in 2019, there is an opportunity for a new face to win the award.
That new face will more than likely be Gerrit Cole. The new toy in New York could’ve easily won this award last season, but Cole now has the stage all to himself, and the biggest spotlight in the sport is shining on him. He led the league with a 2.50 ERA, 2.64 FIP, 185 ERA+, and 326 strikeouts in 2019, and the Yankees rewarded him with a massive contract this offseason.
He will be the face of the Yankees rotation for years to come, and adding some personal silverware in his first season feels strangely inevitable. The knight in shining pinstripes leading New York to a second-straight division title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs will be more than enough to lock up Cole’s first Cy Young award.