Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease missed a no-hitter by one out. The outing showed that Cease is capable of closing out a frustrating season for the Chicago White Sox strong and win the American League Cy Young Award.
He is currently in a tight race with Houston Astros legend Justin Verlander and Tampa Rays ace Shane McClanahan.
Cease is currently running third in the race according to MLB.com’s latest straw poll.
Nearly throwing a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins on national television hopefully has narrowed the gap. Also, it helps that Verlander and McClanahan are both currently on the IL.
Both are expected to pitch sometime before the season is over but Cease does get a few more extra performances to show why he is the best pitcher in the American League.
The numbers for all three are nearly identical.
Verlander has more wins but in today’s game with starters pitching limited innings, individual wins are overrated. You want to look at WAR and other stats to compare the pitchers.
Verlander is ahead of Cease and McClanahan in ERA but Cease leads both in expected-ERA. Also, Cease has a lot of starts where he gave up no more than one earned run.
Verlander also barely leads Cease in adjusted pitching wins and base-out runs saved.
Cease is also ahead of Verlander and McClanahan in strikeouts. McClanahan is ahead of both in hits per nine innings. The only blemish Cease has on his resume is he leads the American League in walks.
Cease’s September will determine if he wins the Cy Young.
You can compare the numbers all day long but narratives will also play role. The narrative supports Verlander over Cease and McCalanhan.
Verlander is the veteran two-time winner pitching great coming off missing 2021 after Tommy John surgery. He also happens to be the ace for the best team in the American League. A lot of voters will feel compelled to reward the future Hall of Famer with another Cy Young.
McClanahan is anchoring a rotation for a team within striking distance of catching the New York Yankees for the AL East title. Voters might pick him over Cease based on that little nugget.
Cease’s Cy Young hopes will come down to how he pitches in September. If he dominates like his outing against the Twins during the rest of his starts, he should have a chance to leapfrog both.
If the Chicago White Sox can complete a once unthinkable comeback and win the AL Central Division, that will only bolster Cease’s chances. The Chicago White Sox chances of winning the division are still below 30% according to Fangraphs.
The Sox still have a shot though despite playing below expectations. If they can close out the season by winning the division, Cease will have to put on some outstanding performances. If he turns those in along with the Southsiders somehow pulling off a September comeback to win the AL Central, Cease should win the AL Cy Young.