Published On: Tue, May 29th, 2018

NL Cy Young Power Rankings: Mad Max continues to reign supreme

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At the end of each month, theScore’s MLB editors will break down the leading candidates for the MVP and Cy Young awards in the American and National Leagues. Below, we’re ranking the early favorites for the 2018 AL Cy Young.

5. Noah Syndergaard, Mets

64.2 3.06 1.18 10.6 1.9

The 25-year-old has struck out 76 hitters in 64 2/3 innings, good for fifth in the NL. Although these numbers are on-par with his career average per nine, this could be just the beginning of a dominant campaign for the towering right-hander.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Noah Syndergaard yet,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway told Greg Joyce of the New York Post at the beginning of May.

Callaway may be right.

Syndergaard is healthy and showing no signs of the lat injury that hampered him throughout 2017. Alongside the equally-impressive Jacob deGrom and the much-improved Steven Matz, the top of the Mets’ rotation is in good shape as they continue to chase the Braves, Phillies, and Nationals in the NL East.

4. Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks

69.1 2.47 0.89 11.4 1.6

Zack Greinke may be the ace in Arizona, but Corbin has looked like one himself.

The left-hander has struck out hitters at an 11.4 per nine rate, which is miles ahead of his previous career high of 8.4.

“He is definitely legit,” an American League scout told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick of Corbin. “He commands his fastball, has a swing-and-miss slider, and excellent mound presence. At 28 years old and assuming health, he’s setting himself up for a large payday.”

Corbin’s 0.89 WHIP leads the NL and his 5.6 hits per nine is also a career best. His only real flaw has been the long ball. He’s allowed eight in 69 1/3 innings.

3. Aaron Nola, Phillies

71.1 2.27 0.98 8.5 2.1

The surprising Phillies look like legit contenders in the NL East and Aaron Nola is one of the many reasons why.

The 24-year-old was impressive during the first three seasons of his big-league career and he’s only gotten better, crafting the fourth-lowest ERA in the NL alongside a career-best 0.98 WHIP.

After Nola took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Toronto on Saturday, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler had nothing but sparkling reviews for the right-hander.

“He just continues to be creative,” Kapler told’s Joe Bloss. “He continues to refine his arsenal. His curveball just seems to keep getting better. He knows how to mix his pitches. He was tremendous.”

Using WAR as a metric, only Max Scherzer and deGrom have been more valuable to their teams as starting pitchers than Nola has been for Philly.

2. Jacob deGrom, Mets

65.1 1.52 1.01 11.7 2.5

Syndergaard’s long-flowing blond locks and Twitter persona may get most of the Mets’ press in the Big Apple, but deGrom is silently pitching better than he has ever done before – which is saying a lot considering how good he’s been since his debut in 2014.

The 29-year-old is a perfect 4-0 and leads the NL with a 1.52 ERA in 11 starts. The next closest to him is Gio Gonzalez at 2.10.

DeGrom’s 2.12 FIP is ridiculous and so is the fact he’s allowed just three home runs in more than 65 innings, which may be due to his new mistake-free mindset.

“You’ve really gotta focus and I try to make every pitch. You want a mindset (where you feel) like it’s two strikes when they step in, every pitch is like a two-strike pitch, and you try not to leave anything in the middle of the plate,” deGrom told’s Aimee Sachs after pitching through a rain delay on Monday.

1. Max Scherzer, Nationals

71.2 2.13 0.91 13.6 2.8

Scherzer will turn 34 in July, and in a sport dominated by young hurlers, the three-time Cy Young winner continues to find ways to meet his goal of staying on top.

“Yes, this is the best I’ve thrown the ball in my entire career, but it’s only because I continue to get better every single year,” Scherzer explained to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. “That’s my only goal.”

Scherzer, once again, leads the NL in strikeouts and is on pace to win 20 games for the third time in his career – he’s actually responsible for eight of Washington’s 30 wins.

He’s also allowed home runs at his lowest rate per nine since 2014 and his 185 ERA+ is the best mark of his career.

If he continues at this kind of torrid pace, a fourth Cy Young for Scherzer, which would be his third consecutive, may not be far behind.

Honorable mention: Miles Mikolas (Cardinals), Greinke (Diamondbacks), Sean Newcomb (Braves)

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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