After finishing third in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2018, Aaron Nola took a step back in 2019. Understandably then, so have his preseason odds to win the award in 2020 when compared to this time a year ago.
New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom, who is the two-time defending award winner, has the best odds at +275. Max Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, has +425 odds. Walker Buehler of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals, Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Luis Castillo of the Cincinnati Reds all have better odds than Nola. New York Mets righty Noah Syndergaard also has +2200 odds as well.
Make no mistake, Nola was still a productive pitcher in 2019, going 12-7 with a 3.87 ERA, 4.03 FIP and 3.4 fWAR over 202.1 innings. However, his 2019 campaign represented regressions when compared to 2018, when he went 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA, 3.01 FIP and 5.4 fWAR in 212.1 innings.
While Nola has been one of the National League’s best pitchers over the last three seasons, the 26-year-old could stand to put together better bookends in his 2020 season. The Louisiana native has traditionally thrived in May, July and August, but not as much in the colder weather at the beginning and end of the season. In 20 career starts in March and April, Nola has a 3.93 ERA. In 21 career starts in September and October, Nola has a 4.49 ERA.
Nola is still expected to be the Phillies Opening Day starter and staff ace, but the Phillies do hope that the offseason signing of Zack Wheeler will alleviate some of the pressure that’s been on Nola over the past two seasons. However, despite posting a 3.37 FIP over the past two seasons, Wheeler isn’t among the top 21 odds for the National League Cy Young Award.
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