The 2018 Major League Baseball season is about a ⅕ of the way complete and things will start to heat up in the divisional races. There have already been several starting pitchers that have shown that they are at the top of their game in 2018. Let’s take a look at some early season Cy Young candidates in both leagues.
Justin Verlander: The hard throwing right hander has been completely dominant for the Astros this season. Verlander is 4-1 on the young season and has only allowed 7 earned runs through his first 8 starts. He is also second in the American League in strikeouts, trailing only teammate, Gerrit Cole. The Astros entire starting rotation is off to a historic start, but it is Verlander that is the best of the bunch.
Rick Porcello: The Boston right hander currently sits at 5-0 after making 7 starts for the Red Sox. Porcello leads all American League pitchers in WAR, and is a key reason that the Red Sox got off to such a fast start. Porcello has done it with command, striking out 46 batters while only allowing 5 walks all season. If Porcello can keep up his insane strikeout to walk ratio, he might find himself at the top of the Cy Young list in October.
Corey Kluber: The “Klubot” is off to another great start in 2018 for the Indians. The reigning Cy Young Award winner is 5-1 with a 2.41 ERA through 7 starts for the Tribe. The Indians look to be the AL Central favorite again this season, and Kluber is the ace that will take them there. Kluber looks like a great bet to repeat as Cy Young.
Honorable Mention: Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox), Gerrit Cole (Houston Astros), Sean Manaea (Oakland Athletics)
Max Scherzer: The inclusion of Max Scherzer on this list shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. The two-time defending Cy Young is off to another great start in 2018. Scherzer is 6-1 with a sparkling 1.74 ERA through his first eight starts. The Nationals starter leads the National League with 80 strikeouts on the young season. The Nationals might be off to a slow start as a team, but Scherzer is still pitching at an elite level.
Patrick Corbin: The Arizona Diamondback ace has been pitching at a high level for awhile now, but appears to have taken his game to new level this season. The Arizona hurler is 4-0 with a 0.76 WHIP through seven starts. Corbin has only allowed 9 walks this season, while striking out 60 batters. Corbin has his Diamondbacks team at the top of the NL West.
Carlos Martinez: The St. Louis Cardinals ace has shown great improvement in both his command and maturity level this season. Martinez has always had excellent stuff, but at times has been derailed by his attitude. Martinez currently leads the entire National League in ERA, posting a 1.40 mark through 7 starts. A dominant Martinez could push the Cardinals past the Cubs in the NL Central Division.
Josh Hader: The Brewers reliever probably doesn’t realistically have a shot at the Cy Young, but that doesn’t diminish his 2018 season to date. Hader has appeared in 12 games for the Brewers and has posted a 1.80 ERA in those appearances. The most surprising stat though is the strikeout total. Hader has struck out an astonishing 43 batters in just 20 innings of work. Hader is a force at the back end of the Milwaukee bullpen.
Honorable Mention: Aaron Nola (Philadelphia Phillies), Chad Bettis (Colorado Rockies)