Who Will Take Home NL Cy Young Honors?

Each outing proved to be critical in this shortened season

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  • Jacob deGrom (4-2), the back-to-back reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, finished with a 2.38 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 104 strikeouts over 12 starts (68.0 innings).

  • Clayton Kershaw (6-2), a three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, finished with a 2.16 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and 62 strikeouts over 10 starts (58.1 innings).

  • Dinelson Lamet (3-1) finished with a 2.09 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and 93 strikeouts over 12 starts (69.0 innings).

  • Yu Darvish (8-3) finished with a 2.01 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 93 strikeouts over 12 starts (76.0 innings).

  • Trevor Bauer (5-4) finished with a 1.73 ERA 0.79 WHIP, and 100 strikeouts over 11 starts (73.0 innings).

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Candidates Galore

The NL Cy Young race in the shortened 2020 MLB season seems to be a race between several quality arms, although there are a few names that stand out above the rest. There's Jacob deGrom from the New York Mets, who has won the award in each of the past two seasons and has been lights out once again. Dinelson Lamet of the San Diego Padres and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers have also had impressive seasons while posting ERAs under the 2.20 mark.

However, the race for the award might be decided between two pitchers: Trevor Bauer of the Cincinnati Reds and Yu Darvish of the Chicago Cubs. Both are having career years and the numbers don't lie. Let’s take a look at what both pitchers have done this season to determine which pitcher has the edge for the best pitcher in the National League.

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Side By Side Comparison

First, let’s take a look at what Bauer has done leading the Reds rotation. The outspoken pitcher joined the Reds after several solid years with the Cleveland Indians, but he has never pitched at this level. He owns an NL-best 1.73 ERA and a 5-4 record over 11 starts. He has two complete-game shutouts, something that’s quite rare in today’s baseball. His 100 strikeouts rank second in the National League while pacing the NL in both batting average against (.179) and WHIP (0.79).

Bauer’s numbers make a strong case for the award, but Darvish has done enough to emerge as a reliable NL Cy Young contender as well. The Japanese hurler had struggled with injuries for the better part of the last two years, but he is completely healthy in 2020 and the numbers have backed him up. His 2.01 ERA ranks second in the National League and he has racked up 76.0 innings over his 12 starts, pacing Bauer in both categories (11 starts and 73.0 innings). Darvish also has a 93:20 K:BB ratio and his opponent's batting average of .211 ranks eighth in the NL.

Another area where Bauer edges Darvish is in the WHIP department, as Darvish owns a 0.96 WHIP that ranks fifth in the National League, quite far from Bauer’s 0.79 mark. However, Darvish leads the WHIP leaders in innings pitched, which increases his chances of posting a higher figure. In any way, a sub-1.00 WHIP is stellar any way you look at it.

Voting Tendencies

Darvish does lead the National League in wins (eight) and he’s pitching for a Cubs team that owns the third-best record in the NL and has the NL Central title all but wrapped up. Meanwhile, Bauer is pitching for a Cincinnati team that might end in third-place in the NL Central. Winning matters, and old-school voters might put a lot of weight in Chicago's success when analyzing Darvish’s numbers -- which are stellar already.

That said, Bauer has the edge when it comes to individual numbers, and by most metrics, he’s been the best pitcher in the National League. He should be able to cap the 2020 MLB season by winning the first Cy Young Award of his career.

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