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Donny Diamond: AL CY YOUNG THOUGHTS

Donny Diamond is an indy league baseball legend. Stories of him are told throughout the country and his slider is the stuff of legend. He watches four times more baseball than your therapist would recommend and devotes much of his other time to thinking about baseball. He will be a contributor for Godzilla Wins as we enter into the MLB playoffs.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an expert on betting nor baseball, just a real big fan of the game and making bar tab related bets with friends. Thus, my shitty opinions should bare no weight on your future gambling endeavors. Now all that’s outta the way, let’s dive in!

AL CY Young: The Big Favorite

It’s the homestretch for awards season in Major League Baseball and ’22 has given us some pretty fun races. The AL Cy Young chase has shaped up to be one of (if not the most) interesting of the lot. Young talent has provided a breath of fresh air to this year’s conversation. Some of the newer faces include Rays lefty Shane McClanahan and Jays righty Alek Manoah. Both are having incredible seasons that deserve more than just a tip of the cap (PAY THOSE KIDS!), but will likely not factor into the final discussion too heavily due to injuries and meat grinder AL East schedules. Young hurlers such as Dylan Cease and Framber Valdez are looking to supplant their current staff aces with the monster seasons they’re having. There are also some familiar faces like the ageless wonder, Justin Verlander, who is showing those pups who is still the biggest dog in the yard, and Shohei Ohtani who is doing things that we haven’t seen since Steve Nebraska.

Speaking of old dudes who you thought were washed a decade ago, Verlander (-10000) is still the massive Vegas favorite for the ’22 AL CY Young. That guy hadn’t thrown a pitch in the Big Leagues since June of 2020. It’s downright ridiculous that he has bounced back in this dominant fashion. He was a shoe-in for his four- pardon me, THIRD, third Cy Young award until a calf injury forced him to the 15-Day IL on August 30th. JV made his return to the hill on Friday against the Oakland A’s. It didn’t go so well for Athletics who at present moment trail Houston by… a loooooootta games. Anyway, Verlander tossed 5 shutout innings, allowed only 1 batter to reach on a walk, and punched out 9. Verlander is still really good. I’m starting to think he was never hurt at all, Dusty just told him to take a couple weeks off. “Ya know, it’s a long season and we’re gonna need these innings more in October. Go find a beach witch a cool breeze and some cold beverages. Meet us back here for a tune up in September.” – Direct quote from Dusty Baker (Probably). This little bit of extra rest may cut into his chances at winning the award for the AL’s best arm, but that 39-year old wing may still have an edge due to the BBWAA voters current preference for “dominance” numbers and rate-based value (see Corbin Burnes, 2021 NL Cy Young) over some of the more old-timey stats, of which Verlander still racks up with the best of ‘em. Some writers may also be influenced by the memory of that one time they gave the award to Rick Porcello over Verlander, feel something that resembles guilt or remorse, and repent by voting Verlander. How ever it shakes out, it’s been a treat to watch vintage JV again.

The Framchise

While Verlander was on vacation, his rotation-mate, Framber Valdez (+30000), shoved his way into the conversation. The young southpaw has followed up his impressive 2021 playoff run with an ace-caliber ’22 season. He leads the American League in Innings pitched (185.2), complete games (3), shutouts (1, tied, still counts), and homers per nine (0.4). Framber’s first-half effort earned him his first trip to the All Star Game, a game he happened to be the winning pitcher in. That shouldn’t, and likely won’t, factor into his Cy Young bid, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless. What will contribute to his case is the Major League record he set on Sunday. With 6 innings of 2 run-ball against the A’s (why you gotta pick on them so much, Astros?), The Framchise surpassed Jacob deGrom’s previous high-water mark of 24 consecutive quality starts. That’s 25 straight games he’s given his team a chance to win and 25 times that he has given at least a couple of bullpen buddies the night off. Revisit that thought when the Houston bullpen is still mowing down lineups in the postseason.

Sneaky Sox Darkhorse

One of those potential victim lineups could be that of the Chicago White Sox. If they do get to the playoffs, it’ll be due in large part to the emergence of Dylan Cease’s mustache (+6600). Since the debut of the facial dish duster, Cease has been flat out filthy. Cease has not missed his turn in the rotation once this season and has almost exclusively provided high quality innings. His fierce ‘stache and whiffle ball fastball/slider combo have been nightmare fuel for hitters in ’22. Case in point, it took the Minnesota Twins 8.2 innings to scratch out a measly single against Cease the last time they saw him, but that didn’t prevent him from throwing his first career CG Shutout. Though Cease is tied for the lead in starts his innings are hampered by a large number of walks, 71 to be exact, which leads the league. He also happens to lead the AL in pitcher’s bWAR with an incredible 6.1. He currently sits at second among AL starters in ERA (2.13), ERA+ (186), K’s (217), and ranks third in K/9 (11.28) and hits per nine (6.087). According to what we’re seeing outta Cease, all you need to do to be a highly effective Big League starter is grow a mean lip warmer and go frolfing every day in the offseason. Keep twirling it, young man. Lean on the extra motivation provided by that potential postseason birth if you’re interested in throwing some cheddar on Cease and his thunderous mustache.

Shohei Ohtani is from a different planet

Ohtani is my favorite long shot at +15000. Not only because I like the potential payout, but because Shohei is the most unbelievable player to ever step on the field. There are not enough superlatives to describe what he’s doing, yet many are already a bit jaded by it because he makes it look so damn effortless. It’s not that easy, folks. Don’t let it go unappreciated. As noted previously, the voters love dominance and what is Shohei, if not flat out dominant? He won’t finish the season with anywhere near the workload of Framber, Manoah, or even Verlander, but what he lacks in quantity, he more than makes up for in quality. Shotime is leading ALL of the starters in Major League Baseball with 11.9 punchies per nine and is second in bWAR (5.3) behind the aforementioned Cease. That said, it has taken Cease 5 more starts and 25 more innings than Shohei to build that 8 tenths of a point lead. Ohtani also happens to be chasing the AL MVP award along side the Bronx Behemoth, Aaron Judge. With the writers’ penchant for pin stripes, it’s all but certain Judge will take home the biggest honor. That may lead to an influx of higher Cy Young votes for Shohei in an effort to recognize his greatness in some capacity. Give him all the awards. He is that great.

One last thing

However this all shakes out, It’s gonna be so much fun to watch these stallions race to the finish. Don’t be surprised if you see another jaw-dropping performance or two before the regular season ends. One way or another, a very deserving candidate will take home some well-earned hardware and we might even win a little extra scratch in the process. Win-Win, I say! All that stated, we’re talking about wagering on the outcome of a vote by a group of people who can’t unanimously agree on which statistics are most relevant to and/or indicative of the best performance. So investing any amount of money in this screams, “BAD IDEA!”… but don’t forget your boy when you cash in that Parlay ticket.

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