When Gerrit Cole was unceremoniously booed off the mound yesterday by the Yankee faithful in the Bronx after surrendering a seven-spot in an 11-1 loss, it was not only indicative of the New York Yankees’ playoff hopes taking a hit, but also of Cole’s Cy Young chances.
Enter Robbie Ray: in what is a miraculous turnaround from last season, he is now officially, for the first time, the odds-on favourite in the race to win the American League Cy Young Award (at least according to Las Vegas).
In 2020, all Robbie Ray did was post the worst year of his career—a 6.62 ERA and an MLB-high 45 walks in just 51.2 innings. Dropping his Walks Per Nine innings from an unsightly 7.8 down to this year’s stingy 2.2 is worthy of some kind of award in itself.
In what has been a miraculous improvement from 2020, Robbie Ray is now officially the odds-on favourite in the race to win the American League Cy Young Award.
With Sunday’s blow-up, the Yankees’ ace saw his ERA balloon from 2.75 to 3.03 on the season, while Ray still sports a 2.64 ERA. There’s no doubt that these two pitchers are headed in opposite directions. In fact, in Cole’s last 15 starts, his ERA is 3.70, while Ray has only gotten stronger as the season has progressed, with a 2.05 ERA in his last 15 starts.
But ERA isn’t the only stat where Ray is besting Cole. Let’s have a look at the many ways in which Ray has the edge this season:
WHIP (Walks + Hits/Innings pitched)
WAR (Wins Above Replacement)
WPA (Win Probability Added)
In most cases, the edge is very slim, and we know that when that’s the case, voters will often look at team success. At the moment, that edge also goes to Ray’s Toronto Blue Jays, who hold a 1.5 game lead on the Yankees in the AL Wild Card battle.
In a race this close, these final few starts will undoubtedly be the determining factor in the AL Cy Young balloting. Every single game can be the difference between making the postseason or falling short.
Robbie Ray’s odds face a stern test, then, Monday night against the Tampa Bay Rays. If his last start against Tampa, just five days ago, is any indication—7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 13 K—then Ray and the Jays will be another huge step closer to their goal… And Ray just might walk off with that award.