The start of the 2021 season has been pitcher dominant. We’ve already seen four no-hitters thrown and we haven’t even entered the summer season. With about six weeks of the regular season already filled with wild results, it is time to start breaking who are the top pitchers in the American League who are in the running for the Cy Young award.
John Means, Baltimore Orioles
John Means shortened season was as much success as his 2019 campaign was when he earned his first and only all-star appearance. He has already blown through expectations to start an important 2021 season. Mean has maintained a 4-2 record with an AL-leading, 1.70 ERA. Means was the third pitcher early in the season to throw a no-hitter that came against the Seattle Mariners. He is looking like an early ace candidate for the Orioles for years to come. His consistent pitching in the future will likely not only make him an all-star for the second time but a top Cy Young contender as well.
Nick Pivetta, Boston Red Sox
After struggling to get his career off the ground for the Phillies, Nick Pivetta was traded to the Red Sox last year and looks like an entirely different pitcher. He had his first two starts at the end of last season where he finished with a 2-0 record and 1.80 ERA. 2021 was also looking like an important season for Pivetta. His start has been impressive. Pivetta has managed a 5-0 record with a 3.16 ERA. He also has a career-low in WHIP at 1.172. Pivetta’s next step going forward is to improve his walk-to-strikeout ratio. For now, he is surpassing expectations and is turning out to be a quality starting pitcher for the Red Sox going forward.
3. Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox
Carlos Rodon is easily the biggest surprise of the 2021 season. Not only has he also thrown a no-hitter this season but he’s drastically improved his stats compared to his career, especially in 2020. Rodon in 2020 only made two appearances where he finished 0-2 and an 8.11 ERA. He also had a career ERA of 4.14 with a losing record and 4.58 in the last three seasons. Now, in 2021, Rodon is 5-1 with an ERA of 1.47. He’s also slated his 0.873 WHIP nearly in half compared to the shortened season where he had a 1.565 WHIP. Only on a one-year contract, Rodon will be due a huge payday at the end of this season if he can maintain these incredible numbers. Rodon will certainly be at least top five for Cy Young throughout the season.
2. Lance Lynn, Chicago White Sox
What’s most impressive for the White Sox, it’s that they have two top Cy Young candidates, the other being Lance Lynn. After two impressive seasons with the Rangers, Lynn was traded to the White Sox to bring veteran play to a young rising team. Despite being 34 years old, Lynn has only continued to improve his production and is now shaping up to be a top Cy Young contender. This season, Lynn has pitched a 4-1 record with a 1.55 ERA. And despite the constant improvement from season to season, he is still hanging new career lows. He is currently maintaining a 0.984 WHIP. Lynn is looking for the new ace in Chicago with Lucas Giolito struggling to start the season. Lynn will also be in line for a huge payday if he can maintain as a top-tier Cy Young candidate.
1. Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees
As great as Gerrit Cole is, he is only showing that he has more room to grow as he now enters his age 30 campaign. He’s lived up to every expectation since going to the Yankees despite an overall disappointing team success, especially in the postseason. He’s also living up to the expectations as one of the highest-paid pitchers in the MLB alongside Jacob deGrom at $36 million a year. He has done an excellent job maintaining a 3.19 career ERA with a 64 percent winning percentage. 2021 is on a whole new level for Cole. Cole has managed a 5-2 record with a 2.03 ERA. He is also setting career highs in WHIP, walks over nine innings, and FIP. What’s most shocking is that Cole has yet to win a Cy Young award in his entire career. Cole’s great start no doubt puts him as the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young award. He would become the sixth winner in the organization and the first since Roger Clemons in 2001.