With Major League Baseball on its All-Star break until regular season games resume on Friday, Bovada has posted updated MLB player awards props involving the Cy Young and MVP in each league.
The Red Sox thought they had two potential Cy Young candidates in the spring in Jon Lester and Josh Beckett, but those pitchers have disappointed as Boston was just 12-20 in their 32 starts during the first half. Neither is a betting option any longer for the AL Cy Young. Thus Boston’s drought without a Cy Young winner continues, with the last Red Sox pitcher to win it being Pedro Martinez. He was the last AL pitcher to win the Cy Young in back-to-back years, during the 1999 and 2000 seasons.
The new betting favorite at the book for the AL Cy Young is Los Angeles Angels right-hander Jered Weaver, who finished second last year to Detroit’s Justin Verlander. Weaver, now 5-2 to win his first Cy Young, is 10-1 and leads all of MLB in ERA (1.96) and WHIP (0.90). He actually was on the disabled list for about three weeks starting in late May but is a dominant 4-0 with a 0.33 ERA in four starts since returning. The last Angel to win the Cy Young was Bartolo Colon in 2005.
Verlander was the favorite in the spring to repeat as the AL winner but is now the second favorite at 3-2 with young White Sox lefty Chris Sale. Verlander won’t put up quite the numbers he did in winning the pitching Triple Crown in 2011 but is a very good 9-5 with a 2.58 ERA and earned the start in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. Verlander leads all of baseball in innings pitched (132.2), complete games (five) and strikeouts (128, tied with Seattle’s Felix Hernandez and Washington’s Stephen Strasburg).
Sale (10-2, 2.19 ERA) has been a godsend for the surprising AL Central-leading White Sox. This is his first season as a starter and he already has pitched more innings in 2012 than in his big-league career, so that’s a potential concern for Chicago in the second half.
The White Sox have another Cy Young candidate in Jake Peavy (20-1). The 2007 NL Cy Young winner is a top candidate for Comeback Player of the Year as well with Peavy going 7-5 with a 2.85 ERA in the first half.
There are three betting options from the AL East for the Cy Young: Tampa Bay’s David Price (5-1), the Yankees’ CC Sabathia (11-2) and Rays closer Fernando Rodney (20-1).
In the National League, reigning NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Phillies ace Roy Halladay, a two-time Cy winner, opened at the book as the spring favorites but neither is in the running in 2012. Kershaw is still having a good season, but Halladay was OK at best before going on the DL in late May. He hasn’t pitched since for the disappointing Phillies but should be back soon after the break.
The new favorite in the NL at 5-4 is 37-year-old Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. The right-hander is having one of the most unexpected pitching seasons in recent memory, going 12-1 with a 2.40 ERA in the first half. He leads the NL in wins, WHIP (0.93), complete games (3) and is second in strikeouts (123). Dickey had never won 12 games in a full season in his nine-season career and was 8-13 a year ago.
Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto (10-5, 2.39) is next behind Dickey at 4-1. Yet Cueto wasn’t even named to the NL All-Star team. San Francisco’s Matt Cain started for the NL in Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic and is in a group with Washington’s Gio Gonzalez and Pittsburgh’s James McDonald at 11-2. Cain (9-3, 2.62) threw a perfect game earlier this season vs. Houston, also striking out 14 in one of the most dominant single-game pitching performances ever.