Last year’s NL Cy Young race was one for the ages featuring eventual winner Jake Arrieta and pair of former Cy Youngs in the Dodgers rotation in Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. Based on the early season stats, this year’s Cy Young race will feature several legitimate contenders. Let’s take a look at some:
Jake Arrieta: Arrieta leads the NL in ERA with a 1.00 line through his 5 starts in which he is 5-0, including his no-hitter. Arrieta has 32 Ks in 36 IP this year. Opponents are batting .151 against him this year and he has a remarkable 0.78 WHIP.
Stephen Strasburg: Strasburg hits free agency after this year, and based on Greinke and Price’s performance and subsequent payday this past offseason, he’ll attempt to follow in their footsteps as the top free agent in the 2016-17 class. So far, Strasburg is 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 36 innings. He has struck out 40 batters already and opponents are batting .220. Stras has a WHIP of 1.00 thus far.
Clayton Kershaw: Kershaw is going to continue to do what Kershaw does. So far, Clayton is 3-1 with a 1.96 ERA in 6 starts. Through 46 IP, Kershaw leads the NL with 54 strikeouts and he has only walked 3 so far. Kershaw has a WHIP of 0.72 and opponents are batting .182.
Vincent Velasquez: Probably one of the early surprises on a team full of them this year, Velasquez is 4-1 with a 1.44 ERA and he has only given up 5 ER. In 31.1 innings, Velasquez has struck out 39 this year. Opponents are batting .164 and Vince has a WHIP of 0.89.
Jason Hammel: Another Cubs starter has also pitched great to help the Cubs to their current place in the standings. Hammel, the Cubs #4 starter, is 4-0 with a 1.24 ERA. He has given up 4 runs and 10 walks while striking out 25 in 29 IP. Hammel has a WHIP of 1.06 and opponents are batting .206.
Kenta Maeda: The Rookie of the Year contender is also emerging as a Cy Young contender as well this year. Maeda is 3-1 with a 1.41 ERA this year. In 32 IP, Maeda has only given up 5 ER and only 6 walks while striking out 28 batters. Maeda has a stellar WHIP of 0.94.
Now, partly due to the fact that it’s only been a month into the season, there are a boatload of possible contenders so far that I haven’t named but deserve consideration such as Gio Gonzalez, Jon Lester, Noah Syndergaard, Johnny Cueto, and Madison Bumgarner. Next time we look at the NL Cy Young field, there’ll surely be less names up on the board and we can narrow the field down. For now, this will have to do. Next award we’re going to take a look at is the American League MVP.