2018 AL AWARDS PREDICTIONS – AL CY YOUNG
Rich: The AL is chock full of great starting pitchers (relievers too, but I do not see a reliever winning the Cy Young). Dallas Keuchel, Corey Kluber (last season’s AL Cy Young winner), Chris Sale, and Luis Severino should all be in the running for the AL Cy Young in 2018. Severino spent part of the off-season before last season working with Pedro Martinez and it paid off in 2017. Hopefully, everything he learned then is able to be carried over for a second season. Last year Severino showed the Yankees that he is their ace of the future now. Masahiro Tanaka is also a possibility for the AL Cy Young. If he pitches the entire season like he did last October, the Yankees may have two pitchers vying for the Cy Young award; if that is the case, they may end up spitting votes like many teammates do when it comes to awards. I predict Severino will win the AL Cy Young in 2018 (Tanaka will have a very good season, but will not take votes away from Severino).
Adam: American League Cy Young? Hmm, the short list involves Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Dallas Keuchel, Luis Severino, Carlos Carrasco, and maybe Justin Verlander. To me that short list is really two tiers at this point in time. Tier one consists of Kluber and Sale while the other four are in tier two. Both are great places to be but the players in tier two have some questions around them.
Severino was brilliant for the Yankees last season (in no part thanks to Pedro Martinez) but it is one year and the season prior he was horrid. So what do you get? Verlander was resurgent after the trade to Houston but the winter has passed, he has a title, and he is a year older. What will we get? Keuchel had injury issues last season and was limited to 23 starts. When healthy, he was good but it might be that the 2015 season was an aberration for the ground baller. Carlos Carrasco gets better each and every year and in 2017 he chased 20 wins. He has good strikeout numbers and plays for a contender but can he take the next step?
Tier one is where the proof has been in the pudding already. Chris Sale and Corey Kluber are the two frontrunners to win the award. These are the two most dominant pitchers in the American League. Both had sub-3.00 ERAs, both with a WHIP below 1.00, both with a FIP of 2.50 or better, and both striking out over 11/9. Sale would have won the Cy Young last year if it was not for Kluber. The breaking point between the two is Kluber will finish games (giving the bullpen a rest). Now last year is not always a precursor to this year but they are young and dominant. 2018 AL awards predictions are hair splitters sometimes and since Kluber gets to play the vaunted Yankees lineup less than that should be enough to keep him on top.