NL Cy Young 2021: Odds Favor Zack Wheeler Over Walker Buehler

As the 2021 MLB season continues to roll on, fans are starting to think about who is going to walk away with the individual awards at the end of the season. BetOnline is one of the many sportsbooks looking at MLB award odds, which includes their market for who’ll be named this year’s NL Cy Young winner. At -140 odds, Philadelphia Phillies right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler is favored to walk away with the individual hardware.

After being a solid starter in the New York Mets organization since 2013, Wheeler stepped up his performance in his first season with the Phillies last year, finishing 12th in NL Cy Young voting. Well, he continued that play into the 2021 season. So far, he’s started in 23 games and has pitched to a 10-6 record with a 2.42 ERA and 0.994 WHIP. Wheeler has also leads the MLB in complete games (3), shutouts (2) and strikeouts (181), which shows that he’s been the model of consistency.

What’s impressive is that Wheeler was listed at +2200 odds to win the 2021 NL Cy Young award back on July 1. Since then, he’s gone 4-2 in seven starts — which includes two of his complete games and one shutout — with a 2.90 ERA and 51 strikeouts. As long as Wheeler keeps pitching at this pace or better, he’ll continue being involved in the NL Cy Young conversation going forward.

2021 NL Cy Young Odds

Odds via BetOnline as of Tuesday, August 10

  • Zack Wheeler (-140)
  • Walker Buehler (+300)
  • Brandon Woodruff (+700)
  • Corbin Burnes (+900)
  • Kevin Gausman (+900)
  • Max Scherzer (+1400)
  • Freddy Peralta (+1600)
  • Jacob Degrom (+2500)
  • Julio Urias (+5000)
  • Trevor Rogers (+6600)

Walker Buehler Rises to Second

It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Dodgers, especially after the trade deadline, have one of the best starting rotations in the MLB. One of the players who’s helped the rotation become feared around the league is Walker Buehler. Like Wheeler, Buehler was an afterthought when it came to NL Cy Young projections a month ago, however, his play as of late as propelled him to having +300 odds to win the award.

Buehler has started in 23 games this season and owns an impressive 12-2 record (league-leading .857 win-loss percentage). He also leads the National League with a 2.13 ERA and has a career-best WHIP of 0.935. Needless to say, it’s more surprising that Buehler was as late as he was to joining the NL Cy Young conversation. Still, better late than never.

To put things into perspective, Buehler went 4-1 in seven games since July 1, pitching to a 1.62 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 10.35 strikeouts per 9 IP. Those aren’t stats that your average pitchers put up. Buehler has shown that he’s just as important as any other pitcher in Los Angeles’ starting rotation and he’s integral to any future success they have this year, whether he wins an NL Cy Young award in the process or not.

2021 NL Cy Young Odds: Can deGrom Climb Back Into the Race?

Earlier this season, New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom was set to run away with the 2021 NL Cy Young award. It was looking like no one could catch him, however, his play began to slip at the start of July, which ultimately resulted in him being placed on the injured list with forearm tightness. Prior to being shut down, deGrom was 7-2 through 15 starts while recording a 1.08 ERA, 0.554 WHIP and a career-high 14.3 SO/9. It’s safe to say that had he stayed healthy and continued to pitch that way, his odds would be better than +2500 to win the award.

With less than two months of the 2021 MLB season left, deGrom would have to return to the lineup sooner than later and continue pitching at a high level to make up for some lost time. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. deGrom suffered a setback in his recovery at the end of July and is expected to be out of the rotation until September at best. Even if he plays next month, that only gives him a handful of starts to get back in the race. That’s not even mentioning how he still needs to rehab and work himself back to being in-game day shape.

While deGrom is definitely one of the best pitchers in the MLB, the path to winning his third NL Cy Young award might be too long and difficult to overcome.

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Devon Platana
After graduating with a Masters degree in Journalism, Devon joined USGS to improve his sports writing skills. As a lifelong sports fan, one of Devon’s favorite things to do is analyze statistics across all sports.