Justin Verlander has gone 10-1 in the second half to emerge as the clear front-runner for the AL Cy Young award, but his 3.00 ERA since the All-Star break actually ranks “only” 22nd among all pitchers with at least 50 innings.
Here are the MLB leaders in ERA since the break:
Clayton Kershaw 75 1.44
Cliff Lee 66 1.76
Ian Kennedy 74 1.95
Ervin Santana 85 2.13
Tim Lincecum 67 2.16
Jon Lester 58 2.18
Jeremy Hellickson 61 2.37
Zack Greinke 74 2.42
Matt Cain 77 2.47
Tim Hudson 76 2.50
Not a whole lot of surprises on that list. Clayton Kershaw and Cliff Lee have been amazing all season, and along with Roy Halladay are basically neck-and-neck atop the NL Cy Young race right now.
And here are the worst ERAs since the All-Star break:
A.J. Burnett 53 7.81
Brian Duensing 51 7.76
Trevor Cahill 55 6.67
Jason Vargas 59 6.56
Brad Penny 51 6.49
My favorite stat: A.J. Burnett has allowed 46 earned runs in 53 innings since the break. Kershaw has allowed 56 earned runs in 206 innings all season.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.