There is still plenty of baseball left in the season, but it’s never too early to take a look at the potential candidates for the Cy Young Award. This season, we will track the performance of each starting pitcher throughout the season and provide weekly predictions for who we think will take home the hardware.
The Good: Chris Sale (Red Sox) and Noah Syndergaard (Mets)
New team, new number, same pitcher. Boston gave up a lot to acquire Sale, including Yoan Moncada, one of baseball’s best prospects. So far, it looks like a solid acquisition for Boston, as Sale dominated the Pirates, going seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits while striking out seven. No Pirates runner advanced to scoring position with Sale on the mound.
In the National League, Syndergaard started two games last week and dissected opposing offenses, going 13 innings and allowing just one earned run while striking out 16 and not surrendering a walk. His ERA currently sits at a microscopic 0.69. Syndergaard likely would have pitched more innings had a blister not forced him out of his opening day start, but the injury didn’t slow him down against Miami. Marlins All-Star Giancarlo Stanton went 0-for-3 against him last night and has never recorded a hit in 11 at bats against Syndergaard.
Other names to keep an eye on so far are Brandon Finnegan (Reds), Jacob deGrom (Mets), Dallas Keuchel (Astros) and Dylan Bundy (Orioles).
The Bad: Carlos Martinez (Cardinals) and Masahiro Tanaka (Yankees)
Tanaka was rocked in his Opening Day start, surrendering seven earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings of work. He bounced back last in the week against Baltimore, but still struggled, allowing three earned runs and finding himself in a pair of bases-loaded jams in the game and plunking a pair of batters.
Martinez dazzled in his first career Opening Day start, going 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball and striking out 10 in a win over the defending World Series champions Chicago Cubs. His next start against the rebuilding Reds, however, he looked flat, allowing five earned runs in five innings and only striking out three batters. His ERA ballooned to 3.65.
The Ugly: Jeremy Guthrie (Nationals) and Francisco Liriano (Blue Jays)
The combined stat line for Guthrie and Liriano this week: one inning pitched, 15 earned runs allowed, eight walks and only one strikeout. To add insult to injury, Guthrie, who has not pitched at the MLB level since 2015, was hammered for 10 runs on his 38th birthday. The next day, Guthrie was designated for assignment.