- Veteran Zack Greinke has emerged as the ace of the Houston Astros’ pitching staff with Justin Verlander injured
- Greinke’s odds to win the American League Cy Young Award have improved significantly in the last week
- The Cleveland Indians’ Shane Bieber stands as the current Cy Young favorite with his 5-0 record and 1.11 ERA
The Houston Astros have needed Zack Greinke to become the ace of the pitching staff in the wake of Justin Verlander hurting his forearm on opening night and being on the injured list since then.
Greinke has stepped into that role and is thriving, as evidenced by his improving AL Cy Young odds.
He was at +5000 on Aug. 18. A week later, he has improved to +2000.
2020 American League Cy Young Odds
|Player||Odds at BetMGM|
|Shane Bieber (Indians)||+150|
|Gerrit Cole (Yankees)||+200|
|Lance Lynn (Rangers)||+400|
|Dylan Bundy (Angels)||+1600|
|Blake Snell (Rays)||+1800|
|Zack Greinke (Astros)||+2000|
|Frankie Montas (Athletics)||+2000|
|Carlos Carrasco (Indians)||+2500|
|Lucas Giolito (White Sox)||+2500|
|Tyler Glasnow (Rays)||+3000|
|Mike Clevinger (Indians)||+3500|
|Jesus Luzardo (Athletics)||+3500|
|Lance McCullers Jr. (Astros)||+4000|
|James Paxton (Yankees)||+4000|
|Charlie Morton (Rays)||+5000|
|Jose Berrios (Twins)||+5000|
|Hyun-Jin Ryu (Blue Jays)||+5000|
|Liam Hendriks (Athletics)||+5000|
|Justin Verlander (Astros)||+8000|
|Corey Kluber (Rangers)||+8000|
|Mike Minor (Rangers)||+8000|
|Nathan Eovaldi (Red Sox)||+8000|
|Dallas Keuchel (White Sox)||+8000|
|Sean Manaea (Athletics)||+8000|
|Jake Odorizzi (Twins)||+8000|
|Matthew Boyd (Tigers)||+8500|
|Kyle Gibson (Rangers)||+10000|
|Masahiro Tanaka (Yankees)||+10000|
|Reynaldo Lopez (White Sox)||+10000|
|Aroldis Chapman (Yankees)||+15000|
|Jose Urquidy (Astros)||+15000|
Odds as of Aug. 25.
Quality Start Streak
Greinke’s record is just 1-0 through six starts but he has a 2.29 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. Just like his odds, Greinke has gotten better as the season has gone on.
He lasted just 3.1 innings in his first start on July 26 against the Seattle Mariners, giving up three runs. He was better his second time out, allowing two runs in 5.1 innings at the Los Angeles Angels.
Now, Greinke has put together four consecutive quality starts, allowing just four earned runs in 26.1 innings during that span for a 1.37 ERA.
Zack Greinke … 5 called strikes, 5 different pitch types, 5 different pitch speed “decades”
50s — 53.5 mph true eephus
60s — 69.6 mph slow curve
70s — 79.3 mph changeup
80s — 86.1 mph slider
90s — 90.0 mph fastball
— David Adler (@_dadler) August 23, 2020
He sandwiched scoreless outings of six innings at the Oakland Athletics and eight innings against the Colorado Rockies around a one-run effort in 6.1 innings against the San Francisco Giants.
Greinke was not quite so sharp in his latest outing Sunday at the San Diego Padres as he was charged with three runs in six innings in a no-decision. Nevertheless, it was a quality start.
ERA is Elite
While his win total is low, Greinke is fifth in the AL in ERA. He trails the Indians’ Shane Bieber (1.11), the Rangers’ Lance Lynn (1.59), and a pair of Twins: Randy Dobnak (1.78) and Kenta Maeda (2.21).
Greinke is 36 years old, in his 17th season, and has pitched over 2,900 innings in his career. Yet durability has not been a concern as he stands eighth in the AL with 35.1 innings pitched, an average of nearly six innings per start in this pandemic-delayed season that has proven to be tough physically on many pitchers.
Furthermore, Greinke’s peripheral statistics are outstanding while also keeping his reputation as a bit of an eccentric intact.
Zack Greinke is a treasure pic.twitter.com/9Dl42660Fy
— Blake Peterson (@blakepete27) August 23, 2020
His FIP is two-tenths of a run lower than his ERA at 2.09. He also has a fine 4.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio with 29 punchouts and six bases on balls. And he has yet to allow a home run.
Greinke has also kept the Astros competitive in the American League West. They are second place in the AL West, 3.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics. The top two finishers gain automatic entry into Major League Baseball’s expanded 16-team postseason field.
Oddsmakers Believe in Bieber
Bieber is understandably the favorite, though just slightly over the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole. Bieber is currently on pace to win the AL pitching triple crown as he leads the league in wins (5-0), ERA (1.11), and strikeouts (65 in 40.2 innings).
Shane Bieber has 65 strikeouts this season. He has allowed 25 hits, 6 walks and 1 hit by pitch.
Bieber has more than twice as many strikeouts (65) as he has baserunners allowed (32).
— Devan Fink (@DevanFink) August 21, 2020
Cole has not been quite as dominant as Bieber, but he has been good in the first season of a nine-year, $324-million contract, the largest ever given to a pitcher. Through six starts, Cole is 4-0 with a 2.75 ERA.
Lynn bolstered his case Monday night when he beat the Athletics to snap the Rangers’ seven-game losing streak, allowing two runs in six innings. He raised his record to 4-0 and his ERA is among the best in the league.
Even with his odds getting shorter, Greinke looks like the best value on the board at +2000. It would be wise to jump on him now before the value diminishes further.