2006 Cy Young Award Betting
by Mike Hayes - 09/09/2006
According to the oddsmakers, the Twins' Johan Santana has all but wrapped up the American League Cy Young Award, but the race for the premier-pitching award in the senior circuit remains up for grabs with three weeks left to play.
In posting odds for Major League Baseball's post season honors this week, Pinnacle Sportsbook has made Santana the 1/5 choice to capture the award. So prohibitive is Santana that Pinnacle is offering every other pitcher in the entire league as a field bet at 9/2.
After starting the season at 0-3 with an ERA of 4.81, Santana currently leads the majors in wins at 17-5 with a 2.84 ERA and 219 strikeouts. The 2004 Cy Young Award winner's stiffest competition for the trophy would likely have come from teammate Francisco Liriano, (12-3, 2.19 ERA) who fell out of consideration when he landed on the disabled list a month ago.
The Tigers Justin Verlander is about the only other pitcher you could even remotely make a case for. Verlander is 16-7 with a 3.19 ERA.
The National League, however, is a different story entirely. Pinnacle lists the six most likely to receive the honor, but the race appears so close that the eventual winner might very well be the pitcher among the group that puts up the best numbers over his last four or five starts. Here are the contenders as seen by Pinnacle and an analysis of their chances.
Chris Carpenter - 2/1 - 13-6, 2.97
The reigning winner, Carpenter is a tepid choice to repeat due to the overwhelming mediocrity of NL pitching. My guess is someone with better odds will step up over their last few starts and win the award.
Carlos Zambrano - 3/1 - 14-6, 3.50
The ERA is a bit high, but again there's not much better so a couple of solid outings down the stretch could seal the deal.
Brandon Webb - 9/2 - 14-6, 3.14
Like Zambrano, has a decent chance with a few good starts and a couple of wins down the stretch. At 9/2 Webb is the best value play of those listed at Pinnacle.
John Smoltz - 17/2 - 12-8, 3.63
Even with a few more wins, I don't see how Smoltz could win what would be his second Cy Young Award. In fact, former teammate Tom Glavine, not even listed by Pinnacle, would be more deserving with another win or two.
Josh Johnson - 17/2 - 12-7, 3.20
A lot would have to happen here. A few more wins and a Marlin wild card berth for starters. Such a scenario would help draw attention to Johnson's success and make him a sentimental choice of sorts. Not likely.
Trevor Hoffman - 23/1 - 37SV, 1.87
In a season with no standout starter, why not give it to a reliever? And who better than Hoffman, who entering the weekend needs just five saves to tie Lee Smith as the all-time leader. If no clear consensus emerges among the starters over the course of the next few weeks, this could actually happen and at 23/1 the price is right. Hoffman finished a close second in the voting to Glavine in 1998.
In such a wide-open year the odds seem a bit high. That is, of course, until you look for someone other than those listed that could garner consideration. There aren't many, if any. A few more wins would make Glavine a possibility (13-6, 3.98) but the ERA is too high compared to the others. After a rough start Billy Wagner has quietly put together a nice season (35 SV, 2.24), but I don't see how you can give it to him ahead of Hoffman.
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