Jacob deGrom favored to reclaim NL Cy Young Award in 2021
New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom came tantalizingly close to winning his third consecutive National League Cy Young Award in 2020. Oddsmakers don’t expect the veteran right-hander to be shut out again.
DeGrom is the clear-cut favorite to win the NL’s top pitching award in 2021 at +500. His attractive 5/1 odds place him directly ahead of last year’s recipient, Trevor Bauer, who signed a lucrative three-year, $102 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Feb. 11.
National League Cy Young 2021
Wed, September 1 2021, 5:00 PM
If deGrom wins the honor again, he will become just the 10th player in MLB history to capture three or more Cy Youngs awards. That distinction alone won't guarantee him a place in Cooperstown, but it would be an impressive achievement for a player who didn’t make his big league debut until age 26.
DeGrom was sensational in 2020
MLB’s schedule makers didn’t do deGrom any favors in 2020, as the three-time All-Star squared off exclusively against NL East and AL East teams in all 12 of his starts. Despite that distinct disadvantage, deGrom still finished with the best win-loss percentage of his career (.667), and led the league in strikeouts (104) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.8). The 32-year-old also did an outstanding job of keeping runners off the bases once again, and finished third in WHIP and fourth in ERA.
DeGrom will have a powerful new battery mate this season in James McCann, whom the Mets signed to a four-year, $40.6 million deal on Dec. 15. The All-Star catcher recently spoke to reporters about working with a pitcher of deGrom's caliber.
"I’m not coming in and trying to change or do something with… I have to get on his page," he said. "The best way to do that is to catch him, get to know him, and I’m really looking forward to learning from him. He’s mastered a craft that few can master."
Bauer should get plenty of support in L.A.
DeGrom’s main competition is likely to be Bauer, who finally fulfilled his enormous potential in his ninth season. The brash North Hollywood native led the NL in ERA (1.73), ERA+ (276), complete games (2), shutouts (2), and WHIP (0.795).
The only black mark against Bauer was his pedestrian 5-4 record, but that should improve considerably with the Dodgers. The defending World Series champs finished first in the NL in home runs and slugging, and ranked in the top three in total bases and OPS.
"There’s obviously a tremendous amount of talent here on the team already," Bauer said during his introductory press conference. "I’d have to spend about an hour and a half to mention everyone’s name to get down the list of tremendous talent."
Speaking of talent, Bauer should also benefit from getting to spend time with three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, whom he has called "the greatest pitcher our game has ever seen."
Scherzer is lurking
Oddsmakers aren’t ready to count out 36-year-old ace Max Scherzer despite a shaky season in 2020. The three-time Cy Young winner posted his highest ERA in nine years and finished outside the top five in Cy Young voting for the first time since 2013.
Although age and recent performance seem to be working against him, it’s worth noting that Gaylord Perry and Roger Clemens both won Cy Young awards after turning 40, so a later-career renaissance isn't out of the question.
The 2021 MLB season is scheduled to begin on Thursday, April 1 with all 30 clubs in action.