Look out Jacob deGrom. You saw it first-hand Matt Scherzer. Aaron Nola is now your competition for the Cy Young award.
What looked like a two-horse race for Cy Young award just a few weeks ago now has a third candidate, as the Phillies ace is quickly moving up the National League Cy Young odds.
Yesterday Nola out-dueled Scherzer for a 2-0 win in Washington as he improved to 15-3 with 2.13 ERA. Unlike the competition, Nola has a few things going for him.
First and foremost, he has the wins, as does Scherzer. With six or seven starts left in the season Nola has a chance to win 20 games, which would make him the clear favorite. Unlike the Mets and Nationals, Nola is in a pennant race, which makes him more likely to get those wins, as the Phillies are a better team this year.
Obviously, his manager Gabe Kapler agrees with this assessment. “It’s tough to account for three pitches and I think part of that is why Aaron Nola in my opinion is the Cy Young this year,” Kapler said to Phillies reporters in Washington. “Of course, Nola is our guy. But. I watch him every time out there and just the dependability, the consistency, the creativity, the numbers. The numbers speak for themselves. I think today was an example of how he beat Max Scherzer.”
Nola’s numbers are close to catching Scherzer and he has a large lead in wins over deGrom. You can argue about the value to his team as well. The Mets are 15 games under-.500. The old argument is that they would be that way without deGrom and his 8-8 record. Although the Mets will have something to play for with their teammate in the next six weeks, the Nationals are selling off their parts and you have to wonder how much the veteran team will be interested in playing down the stretch.
If Nola is able to lead his team into the postseason, you may see him get the votes for the award. It happened before in 2007, when Jimmy Rollins beat out David Wright for the MVP award. Wright had better numbers, but Rollins proved to be more valuable. If voters view the Cy Young like the MVP, then Nola may just beat out his NL East competition for the CY Young.
Nola’s 2.13 ERA edges out Scherzer by one ten-thousandths of a point (2.1301 vs. 2.1302) for the second-lowest mark in the National League behind deGrom. He’s one win behind Scherzer for the lead in wins and his WHIP (0.97) batting average against (.198) are the second-best rates in the NL behind Scherzer’s 0.89 WHIP and .178 average against. Nola leads the National League in OPS against with a .539 mark and has a better home run rate than both of his competitors.
Right now, though all of this means the rest of the season becomes very interesting in three NL East cities. DeGrom needs his team to score runs for him, while maintaining his stellar 1.71 ERA and Scherzer must increase his lead over Nola in every other category.
It’s going to make things very interesting.