The final stretch of the MLB season is coming fast and there is a lot at stake for a number of players and teams. It is another great year for the American League Cy Young discussions with a number of players in the mix. It is not set in stone who will win seeing as there is still most of August and September to get through, however there is a good list of probables who will be in the final running.

Some of the candidates are obvious to the casual baseball fan such as Chris Sale, Corey Kluber and Dallas Keuchel, however, there are ones who fly under the radar like Marcus Stroman and Luis Severino. Only one of these will win, but it will be a great battle especially considering most of these pitchers are on teams that are contending or at least in the mix for a postseason berth.

Chris Sale and Corey Kluber

These two names are considered by many to be two of the favorites. Kluber won the Al Cy Young in 2014 and has been one of the better pitchers in baseball since. In his first year in Boston, Sale has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, especially this season. Both these guys are number one and two in a number of statistical categories which is why they are the favorites.

Right now it can be argued that Sale is the number one favorite for the Cy Young. Sale leads the league in strikeouts (229), ERA (2.57), Fielding Independent Pitching (1.98), WHIP (0.88), K/9 innings pitched (12.77), innings pitched (161.1) and fWAR (7.0). He also has a 4.6% walk rate (3rd lowest) and a 0.73 HR/9 innings pitched (2nd lowest). The American League is known more for its offense especially in a division that features the Yankees, Blue Jays and Orioles bats, so Chris Sale being this dominant really speaks for his talent level.

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Kluber is fairly close to him. He has a 2.65 ERA (2nd), 2.43 Fielding Independent Pitching (2nd), 0.91 WHIP (2nd), 183 strikeouts (3rd), 12.41 K/9 innings pitched (2nd), 5.5% walk rate (6th), 0.95 HR/9 innings pitched (6th) with a 4.9 fWAR (2nd) in 132.2 innings pitched (13th). He too is putting up another great season, all of these statistics are well above average it is just challenging for him Kluber to compete with what Sale has been doing. There is still time and it will be interesting to see how Sale fares when he hits the 200 inning marker.

Keuchel's dilemma

Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros won the AL Cy Young in 2015. In 2016 he struggled with a 4.55 ERA in 168.0 innings pitched. This year he has bounced back with a 2.87 ERA, 1.106 WHIP, 3.66 Fielding Independent Pitching, 0.9 HR/9 innings pitched and 7.8 K/9 innings pitched. The problem is he has not even reached 100 innings yet and is currently not qualified for being an ERA leader.

Keuchel has been a household pitcher's name for a few years now and his name often comes up in the discussion, but this year he just likely won't have the innings pitched and dominant stats as the two favorites.

Good bounce-back year for him, but if he wants another Cy Young award he will have to continue this rebound next season pitching a full one.

Underdogs

There are two names who are having very good seasons that cannot be ignored just yet. Yankee's Luis Severino and Jay's Marcus Stroman are two names that have been thrown around. Both these players are pretty young, so this likely will not be their last rodeo in a Cy Young race in their careers.

Severino is only 23 and is playing in his third season in the MLB and has been part of the new young Yankees resurgence. He sports a 2.91 ERA, 2.91 Fielding Independent Pitching, 1.07 WHIP, 162 strikeouts, 6.4% walk rate, 0.84 HR/9 innings pitched, 10.46 K/9 innings pitched and 4.3 fWAR in 139.1 innings pitched. A lot of credit has to go to him for pitching in Yankee Stadium, which is a very hitter-friendly ballpark, and still putting up these numbers. Again, he is not right now with Sale or Kluber but if he keeps this up you never know.

Stroman has turned some heads for most of the season with his pitching. The Blue Jays have greatly fallen off this year compared to the last two postseason years, but credit him with some solid pitching. He has a 3.17 ERA, 3.79 Fielding Independent Pitching, 1.33 WHIP, 120 strikeouts, 7.6% walk rate, 0.87 HR/9 innings pitched and a 2.6 fWAR. It is probably right by now to consider him most likely not to win, these numbers are not bad but compared to the others just not good enough. He will be in some talks though which is why he was mentioned.

There are a lot of good pitchers in the American League right now, which makes the race interesting, but as of right now, this is Chris Sale's race to lose. He is on a whole other level of domination this year.