Corbin Burnes

  • Corbin Burnes holds the best odds to win the 2021 National League Cy Young award at (-170) after leading the Milwaukee Brewers to an NL Central title.
  • Max Scherzer holds the second-best odds (+145) to win the NL Cy Young after going 7-0 since being acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline.

MILWAUKEE – As the 2021 MLB regular season heads towards its close, interest in the end-of-season awards is at its yearly peak. Perhaps the most prestigious of these awards is the Cy Young, which is awarded to the best pitcher in each league.

In the National League, Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Corbin Burnes currently holds the best odds to win the Cy Young, with his odds currently listed by legal sportsbooks at (-170).

Coming into 2021, Burnes was considered the Brewers’ #2 starter behind Brandon Woodruff. Although Woodruff had a solid season himself (2.56 ERA and 0.965 WHIP through 179.1 innings), Burnes was historically good in 2021.

Through 165 innings, Burnes holds an 11-4 record with a 2.29 ERA, 0.933 WHIP, and 230 strikeouts. He has been absolutely dominant, averaging more than a strikeout per inning and leading the NL Central-winning Brewers’ pitching staff.

Scherzer Just Behind

While Burnes’ impressive season has shot his odds to win the Cy Young to the best in the National League, Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer is hot on his tail, holding (+145) odds.

Scherzer has been a key part of the playoff-bound Dodgers since they acquired him at the trade deadline, going 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA, 0.820 WHIP, and 89 strikeouts in 68.1 innings since they acquired him.

Between Washington and Los Angeles, Scherzer holds a 15-4 record with a 2.46 ERA, 0.864 WHIP, and 236 strikeouts in 179.1 innings pitched.

While their stat lines on the season are very close, Burnes has a higher strikeout rate, a lower ERA, and a higher WAR (5.8 to Scherzer’s 5.2) in 14.1 fewer innings pitched. On top of the superior rate stats, Burnes has led an inferior roster to a division championship.

Even before the acquisition of Scherzer (and his Nationals teammate Trea Turner), the Dodgers were considered the favorite to win the National League. Though Scherzer’s productivity has helped the Dodgers materialize their playoff hopes, it is fair to assume that Los Angeles – debatably the best team in baseball – would have made the playoffs without him.

On the other hand, the Brewers were not considered frontrunners in the National League and only emerged as such with the rise of Burnes as their ace.

Though there is no set-in-stone criteria for Cy Young voters to abide by, historically, the pitcher that is most instrumental to the team’s success wins the award when two or more candidates have similar stat lines. With Burnes’ superior rate stats and his importance to the Brewers’ success, it makes sense that Burnes is the (-170) favorite. Though these awards (which are voted on) are always subject to a bit of randomness, it would be quite surprising if Burnes was snubbed in 2021.

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