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Can Anyone Challenge Chris Sale in the American League Cy Young Race?

Chris Sale pitches in his prime.

Chris Sale pitches in his prime. The Red Sox scored big with the Chris Sale trade. | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

We’re hitting the stretch run in Major League Baseball, with the division and wild-card races starting to take shape and the awards outlook for each league becoming more clear. Is there any doubt that Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger will take home the Rookie of the Year awards in their respective leagues?

But what about the Cy Young award? A handful of players are having excellent seasons, especially in the American League. While the race may clearly favor one player over others, plenty can change between now and the end of September. Will any of the contenders in the American League Cy Young race be able to top Boston Red Sox left-handed starter Chris Sale?

[Note: We wanted to include Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who has a 1.67 ERA in 11 starts. But he currently is not qualified based on innings pitched.]

7. Marcus Stroman

Marcus Stroman signals to his Blue Jays catcher.

Marcus Stroman signals to his Blue Jays catcher. Marcus Stroman and the Blue Jays are off to a disappointing start. | Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

What a difference a year can make for Marcus Stroman. The Toronto Blue Jays right-hander is actually posting pretty similar numbers to his 2016 season, which most would consider a disappointment. His K/9 (7.5), BB/9 (2.6), and WHIP (1.263) are all very close, and his FIP (3.80) is actually slightly higher than it was in 2016 (3.71).

But Stroman has been very good in the run prevention department. He has stranded 80.3% of base-runners so far this season, compared to just 68.6% last year. That’s a big reason for the drop in his ERA from 4.37 to 2.98. The ERA alone will get him a few extra glances from Cy Young voters this year, even if he probably doesn’t come close to the top of the list.

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