2021 Midseason Awards: Cy Young
Picking midseason NL, AL Cy Young Award frontrunners
Last July, MLB kicked off a pandemic-shortened season that lasted just 60 games. Almost a year later, most teams hover around the 81-game mark, and the All-Star break is right around the corner. So, we’re revealing our midseason MLB award winners.
Thankfully we’re working with a sample size of 21 games more than Baseball Writers’ Association of America members had to analyze last season. Our second installment focuses on the Cy Young Award, following the AL and NL MVP races.
This season, the American League Cy Young race is between two pitchers who have reinvented themselves. In the National League, it’s one pitcher’s to lose, but who are the runners up?
Midseason Awards: AL Cy Young
Prior to the start of the 2021 season, Carlos Rodón was non-tendered by the Chicago White Sox. It appeared that after two arm surgeries, he just wasn’t the same pitcher the Sox thought they had.
Then, after agreeing to a pay cut, the 28-year-old Cuban American agreed to return to the Southside of Chicago. The rest, as they say, is history.
This season, Rodón has completely reinvented his career. He has completely abandoned his sinkerball and increased the use of his four-seam fastball, which has increased velocity. Pair that with improved offspeed pitches, and he has become nearly unhittable.
Statistically, Rodón has the best K/9 rate in the American League. He also leads in FIP – similar to ERA but taking fielders out of the equation – and is tied with Nathan Eovaldi with a 3.2 fWAR, which is tops in the AL.
Speaking of Eovaldi, he’s our next candidate for the midseason AL Cy Young award. Like Rodón, Eovaldi needed to reinvent himself post Tommy John Surgery in 2017. Several years later, he is finally the pitcher he was once projected to be.
This season, Eovaldi has a top two record of 9-4. Also, he is the best at keeping the ball in the park. His 0.4 HR/9 rate is the lowest of any pitcher in the American League.
Midseason AL Cy Young Verdict: Carlos Rodón
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