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March 30, 2017

Tom Verducci

​Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Francisco Giants

Already a postseason legend multiple times over, one of the game's most reliable elite pitchers is just now entering his prime at age 27. He's coming off a career-best 2.74 ERA and poised to finally win this award after finishing in the top 10 four straight times.

Ben Reiter

​Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Is Trout the Kershaw of hitters, or is Kershaw the Trout of pitchers? Normally you’d say that Kershaw is the prohibitive favorite if he stays healthy, but the three-time Cy Young recipient spent more than one-third of last season on the disabled list with a bad back and still got a few first-place Cy votes. He’s just the prohibitive favorite, full stop.

Albert Chen

Johnny Cueto, RHP, San Francisco Giants

In a league loaded with fire-breathing aces, it’s easy to overlook the dreadlocked one, who was quietly excellent in his first season as a Giant. With four straight seasons of 200-plus innings, Cueto is reliable as they come, but he is also one of the best pitchers on the planet and he's now in that pitcher friendly park. This is the year Cueto finally gets his due.

Jack Dickey

Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets

It’d be a snoozer to pick Trout AND Kershaw (although Kershaw has gone two seasons since he last won the Cy). Syndergaard cruised through his first full season last year, striking out nearly 11 batters per nine while keeping his walks down and the ball in the park. But if your bookie will give you +2000 odds on Arizona's Robbie Ray...

Jay Jaffe

​Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Francisco Giants

Just as Kershaw still has question marks about his ability to rise to the occasion in the postseason, Bumgarner has yet to show he can be the NL's best pitcher during the regular season. Coming off career bests in ERA and strikeouts (251), it seems possible that he's heading in that direction.

Ted Keith

Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets

A moment's pause here for Jose Fernandez, whose tragic and senseless death in a boating accident last September robbed baseball of one of its best pitchers and top ambassadors and who would have been a popular pick for this honor coming off a tremendous season in 2016. The winner will come from the NL East, however, and it will be Syndergaard, whose fastball is as fearsome as his hair is magnificent. Expect his impressive strikeout totals (218 last year) and low ERA (2.60) to allow him to join Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and R.A. Dickey as the only Mets pitchers to win this award.

Emma Span

Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets

The usual pick here, for good reason, is Kershaw, but the Dodgers’ ace did miss more than two months last season with a back injury. Thor, meanwhile, threw 183 2/3 innings in 30 starts, regularly reached triple digits with his fastball even at the end of his outings, and (like AL candidate Aaron Sanchez, whom the Jays picked a few slots ahead of him in the first round of the 2010 draft) is still only 24.

Jon Tayler

Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Like Trout, the calculus here is simple: If Kershaw is healthy, then this award is his to lose.

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