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We're coming up on the six-week mark in terms of what is left on the 2021 Major League Baseball season. Given that last year was only 60 games, this has been especially fun, but that's beside the point we're here to make. As an admitted awards junkie, the individual races are always being monitored over here. 

Let's take a look at the race for the National League Cy Young, which is wide open thanks to Jacob deGrom's lingering absence. The following candidates are by no means the only ones who have a chance to win the award, but they are the ones most in the mix, in my opinion. They are not ranked. 

Zack Wheeler, Phillies

Zack Wheeler
PHI • SP • #45
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Last time out, Wheeler totally dominated the Mets, throwing a two-hit shutout while walking one and striking out 11. It was a bit of an exclamation point after the work he's been doing this season. He leads the majors in innings and batters faced while still posting a 2.42 ERA, 165 ERA+, 0.99 WHIP and 2.42 FIP. His 181 strikeouts lead the majors and he's third in win probability added as well. All this adds up to him leading in WAR. He's sixth in ERA and ERA+, but with that workload to ease the pressure on a shaky bullpen, this might be the most impressive resume. I've long maintained innings pitched from an effective starter is an underrated stat and it might be more true than ever coming off the season that was 2020. Give him bonus points for that. 

Walker Buehler, Dodgers

Walker Buehler
LAD • SP • #21
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Any good analyst knows that limited yourself to just one stat to define a pitcher is totally foolish and ignorant. We need a complete picture in order to evaluate the entire situation. ERA is still my top one, though, much to the dismay of many FIP fans. Buehler leads the league in ERA. He's also fifth in WHIP, third in innings, ninth in strikeouts, third in WAR, fourth in win probability added and one win away from the league lead, if you're into that archaic stat. 

Trivia tidbit for your friends: The Dodgers have the most Cy Young winners at 12 and also lead all franchises with the eight different pitchers having won it. Buehler would be the ninth if he can pull it off. Can you name the previous eight? Clayton Kershaw and Sandy Koufax are your free spaces. 

The Brewers' trio: Woodruff, Burnes, Peralta

Brandon Woodruff
MIL • SP • #53
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Corbin Burnes
BAL • SP • #39
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Freddy Peralta
MIL • SP • #51
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Those numbers are straight 🔥, huh? In ERA, Woodruff is second, Burnes third and Peralta fourth. In WHIP, Woodruff is second, Peralta is third and Burnes is fourth. In ERA+, Woodruff is first, Burnes is second and Peralta is fourth. In win probability added, Woodruff is first and Peralta is sixth. In strikeouts, Burnes is second, Woodruff is third and Peralta is fifth. Burnes leads the majors in FIP, home run rate, walk rate, strikeout rate and strikeouts-per-walk, the latter being one of the best in MLB history (he's at 172 K, 21 BB right now). The only thing to watch would be workload. Only Woodruff (seventh) is in the top 10 in innings pitched and all three have already hit their career highs. How much further can they go and still hope to be effective in October? It's a tough tightrope for the organization and might hurt their chances at individual hardware if things are ramped down. 

Still, each of the three is a deserving candidate and they are all on the same team. What a trio. 

Jacob deGrom, Mets

Jacob deGrom
TEX • SP • #48
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Yeah, he's still in the mix if he comes back in time. I mean, look at those numbers. Ridiculous. He's still sixth in WAR despite only 92 innings. The longer it takes him to come back, however, the longer the odds are of him having a shot at winning. Surely he needs to make at least 20 starts. He's at 15 now and time isn't waiting around. 

Max Scherzer, Dodgers

Max Scherzer
TEX • SP • #31
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We've previously discussed how Trea Turner winning MVP would be the first time a player was ever traded in season and won the award. If Scherzer would pull this off he'd join Rick Sutcliffe (1984, Cubs) as the only players to take the Cy Young after being traded in season. It would also mark the fourth win for Scherzer. Only Roger Clemens (seven), Randy Johnson (five), Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux have won at least four Cy Youngs. Scherzer is seventh in ERA, 10th in WAR, first in WHIP and third in strikeouts. 

Kevin Gausman, Giants

Kevin Gausman
TOR • SP • #34
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Through 12 starts, Gausman had this thing won, but he's fallen back in his last 11. He's "only" pitched to a 3.62 ERA in that time after starting 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA. Still, he's built up a great foundation and a hot finish could net the hardware. He's fifth in WAR, fifth in ERA, sixth in WHIP, ninth in innings, fifth in strikeouts and eighth in win probability added.