MLB AL Cy Young Odds: Justin Verlander Leads but Yankees Pitchers Loom
MLB AL Cy Young Odds: Verlander Leads but Yankees Pitchers Loom
The American League Cy Young race is beginning to heat up as the season continues to roll on. Right now, the current leader of the pack is Justin Verlander but there are a couple of Yankees who are hot on his tail. Let's dive into the MLB AL Cy Young odds.
MLB AL Cy Young Odds
Alex Manoah Cy Young Odds (+1200, Previous: Unranked)
Manoah, with just 31 major league starts to his name, is now top ten among all starters in wins, ERA, WAR, walk rate, and innings pitched this year. He has become the third head in the monster that is the Blue Jays pitching staff, joining Kevin Gausman and Jose Berrios.
But for all of Manoah's success, there are some signals that we must proceed with caution despite the massive levels of success through two months. First, among the top-12 ERA leaders in MLB this season, Manoah's 7.88 K/9 is the second-lowest. His 38% groundball rate is also second-lowest among that group, and his flyballs are now approaching 41%. But the major concern is what happens in August and September. Manoah threw 25 total minor league innings before coming up and tossing 111.2 last year. Can his arm sustain 175+ innings? He certainly has the talent, but the questions give me pause even at an attractive +1200.
Kevin Gausman Cy Young Odds: (+1000, Previous: +1000)
As we can start to see, two of the teams in the AL East have had very strong pitching performances from multiple guys, despite their division being known as one with three elite offenses. Kevin Gausman was one of two splashy free agents for the Blue Jays and he started off the year with an absolute bang, with a 2.19 ERA and 31 strikeouts compared to zero walks.
Since then, he has been more firecracker than big bang but still has a 2.78 ERA with a 27.5% strikeout rate and less than one walk per nine innings. But with just how dominant and unhittable the guys next on this list have been, Gausman drops just by nature of being incredible instead of otherworldly. But there is now a great buying opportunity here as Gausman certainly has the stuff and the offense behind him to bring home the award.
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Nestor Cortes Cy Young Odds: (+800, Previous: Unranked)
Cortes and his 10.20 K/9 and minuscule 0.60 HR/9 innings rate have contributed to him being the league leader in ERA through June 7th (1.50). He has been an absolute revelation and is rivaling teammate Gerrit Cole for supremacy in the New York Yankees rotation. The Yankees are being careful with his innings (just 60 innings pitched in 10 starts), but this likely means he will be able to give us a full season.
How is he doing all of this after four up and down years? Primarily, it's because he dropped his flyball rate by 10% and increased his groundball rate by 10% from last season. The strikeout rate is also up a tick, but it's the first pitch strike percentage (71.2%) that is up more than 11% from 2021. He is attacking the zone with better results and looks like he will be a serious Cy Young contender all season.
Gerrit Cole Cy Young Odds: (+650, Previous: +900)
For the second straight AL Cy Young Odds update, Cole checks in behind Justin Verlander. But in all metrics besides strikeout rate, it does appear Verlander should be the one in front. Cole has made the necessary adjustments after last year's 3.10 ERA and 1.19 HR/9. He has decreased his flyball rate by six percent and is holding steady at just 2.09 walks per nine innings.
Considering the incredible success the Yankees are having this year, it would not surprise anyone if a Cy Young winner came from this team. But will Cole and Cortes split votes and will any of them catch Verlander unless he has a major drop in production? Still, for someone who has finished in the top five of Cy Young voting five times, this could be the year he wins considering he is the face of the pitching staff for New York and they are lapping the field in the AL East. It's certainly closer than the oddsmakers have it listed right now with Cole +200 behind Verlander.
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Justin Verlander Cy Young Odds: (+450, Previous: +800)
Perhaps lost in the overwhelming success of the Yankees is that the Astros have won 36 games (7-3 in their last 10) and have opened up a 9.5-game lead in their own division. Verlander anchors that success from the pitching side with his 2.13 ERA and 1.13 HR/9 innings. He is tied for first in the majors in wins (seven) which is often a major factor that voters consider when looking at this award. Coming off an almost two-year recovery period from Tommy John surgery, no one knew how Verlander would perform this year. But he is showing no ill effects of the time off.
The only problem is, Verlander has lost so much betting value over the last month, can we still consider this a valuable use of our funds? Just over one month ago, Verlander was +2000 to win the AL Cy Young. Now at +450, there is still value, but it has shortened precipitously over the last five weeks. I would certainly say Verlander is the "safe" bet right now considering the Astros' success and his dominance. But the better value likely lies elsewhere on this list.
MLB AL Cy Young Odds
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