Phillies: Aaron Nola’s Cy Young chances looking slim

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BOSTON, MA - JULY 30: Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in the first inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 30, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 30: Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in the first inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 30, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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As we size up the case for the National League Cy Young award, the odds that Aaron Nola of the Phillies will bring home the trophy are slim.

By every measure, Aaron Nola is having a tremendous season on the mound. He has a 2.45 ERA, 3.00 fielding-independent pitching, 0.979 WHIP, 216 strikeouts, and 54 walks in 32 starts and 205.1 innings pitched. He has been worth 9.8 wins above replacement on the mound per Baseball Reference, the most in MLB. His 9.3 cumulative wins above replacement are the most for any Phillies player since Steve Carlton‘s 10.2 in 1980.

While Nola is putting together one of the best seasons of any Phillie on the mound, his odds of winning the NL Cy Young award aren’t great. As of September 19, Jacob deGrom is the clear favorite for the award according to Bovada at -250, while Max Scherzer has the second-best odds at +250. Nola comes in at a distant third at +850.

Nola’s case has been hampered by a sub-par September by his standards. In five starts this month, he has a 4.60 ERA, giving up nine home runs and posting a 1.057 WHIP in 29.1 innings. Meanwhile, Scherzer has a strong FIP this month, while deGrom continues to be dominant. Nola was arguably neck-and-neck with these two a month ago, but now he has fallen behind.

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Nola ranks among the top five in several pitching categories, but Baseball Reference WAR is the only one he leads in on their leaderboards page. Nola is second in ERA and ERA+, tied for fourth in wins and win-loss percentage, third in WHIP and innings pitched, fourth in strikeouts, home runs per nine innings pitched, and fielding-independent pitching. Nola ranks fourth in Fangraphs wins above replacement with 5.5, while deGrom is in first at 8.3 and Scherzer is in second at 6.8.

Both rank ahead of Nola in multiple other categories as well.

With only one start left this year, Nola’s numbers are more or less final. His season has certainly been amazing, although it likely won’t be enough to overtake Scherzer or deGrom.

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Even though Nola may not win the Cy Young award, he should definitely be a finalist. If he keeps pitching like this moving forward, he should bring home one by the time his prime is over.

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