Red Sox ace Chris Sale among AL Cy Young finalists

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Chris Sale
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Chris Sale /
2 of 4
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 14: Luis Severino (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 14: Luis Severino (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Luis Severino

This year’s AL Cy Young ballot boils down to a two-man race, but since three are required for the list of finalists we have Severino included.

That’s not to say that Severino isn’t worthy of some consideration. The young Yankees ace is coming off an outstanding breakout year, ranking third in the league with a 2.98 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. He was fourth in the AL with 230 strikeouts and his 5.3 WAR ranked fifth among AL pitchers.

After showing flashes of brilliance in an abbreviated rookie year in 2015, Severino struggled with inconsistency the following season, bouncing back and forth between the Yankees rotation and bullpen. He ended with an underwhelming 5.83 ERA in 22 appearances, including 11 starts.

The 23-year got back on track with a career year in 2017, making his first All-Star appearance while setting career-highs in virtually every category. Severino dramatically lowered his walk rate to 2.4 BB/9 and increased his strikeout rate to an elite 10.7 K/9. Combine that with his 3.08 FIP and we can see that his improved ERA is no fluke.

Severino clearly has a bright future as one of the top pitchers in the league. His inclusion on the ballot is warranted, but he remains a tier below the top two aces on this list – at least for now.