MLB AL Cy Young Breakdown
The MLB season is just 24 hours away, so we’re going to continue with our series speculating on how the season will go. After covering the Rookie of the Year awards, we’re now going to turn our attention to the Cy Young races. Below we break down the current betting odds for the AL Cy Young award, as well as give you our picks for betting favorites and a few darkhorses.
Make sure to read our NL Cy Young and both Rookie of the year pieces here
AL Cy Young Odds
|Player||Team||Odds to Win CY|
|Lucas Giolito||White Sox||+1000|
|Dylan Cease||White Sox||+1400|
|Kevin Gausman||Blue Jays||+1600|
|Jose Berrios||Blue Jays||+2000|
Cy Young of the Year: Top Picks
Gerrit Cole (+425)
Despite finishing second in last year’s AL Cy Young race, Gerrit Cole has the best odds to win the Cy Young of any pitcher in either league. The Yankees’ ace was his consistent self in 2021 again, pitching to a 3.23 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 181.1 innings while also registering 243 strikeouts.
Despite some concerns around Cole and the “sticky stuff” ban in Major League Baseball, the right-hander posted a 0.51 ERA in the month of August and remained solid in September apart from two starts where he allowed 12 earned runs in 11.2 innings against the Guardians and Blue Jays. His spin rates corrected themselves as the fall began, and Cole still had an elite 33.4% strikeout rate over the second half of the season.
Cole remains the best pitcher in the American League and the rightful favorite to take home the award. The only reason Cole didn’t win the award last year is because of a career year from Robbie Ray. It would take the same type of feat for him to not win the award this year.
For more MLB content, like this Cy Young betting guide, click here
Shane Bieber (+700)
One pitcher with the talent to rip the award away from Cole would be Shane Bieber. The Guardians’ ace won the award in the 2020 season and finished 4th in 2019, so he’s used to having his name discussed when it comes to the Cy Young.
However, there are some injury concerns when it comes to Bieber as he was limited to just 96.2 innings last year with a shoulder injury. The right-hander claims he’s 100% healthy heading into the 2022 season, and considering he was healthy enough to make an MLB return in September of last season, there is optimism that a full offseason has him back to the Bieber of old.
Before going down with the injury last year, Bieber was electric, with a 33.9% strikeout rate over 90 innings. In fact, his first six weeks were close to the 2020 highs which were the best stretch of his career. In his first 42 plus innings, Bieber had just a 2.76 ERA, a .176 average against, and a 39.5% strikeout rate. Then the velocity started to decrease and the rumblings of a shoulder injury started.
The health risk is baked into his current odds, but if we do get a fully healthy Shane Bieber, he has as good a chance as any to take home the title.
Cy Young: Darkhorses
Dylan Cease (+1400)
You want a young pitcher with the raw ability to jump into the conversation among the elite? Look no further than Dylan Cease. The one-time Chicago Cubs top prospect took his game to another level in his third season with the White Sox, posting a 3.91 ERA and 1.25 WHIP across 165.2 innings with 226 strikeouts.
While the numbers don’t jump off the page, there are two things that make Cease’s case interesting. For starters, the 1.25 WHIP was clear progress from his 1.44 mark the year before and the right-hander cut his walks per nine down from 5.25 to 3.69. There is still room for continued growth there, but it was a clear step in the right direction as he works to harness his plus stuff and be more consistently effective.
The other piece of evidence to support Cease’s bid is the way he ended his season. After adjusting to the sticky stuff ban, Cease was pitching his best baseball at the end of the season. In August, in particular, Cease had a 2.83 ERA and 36% strikeout rate and cut the walks down to 3.09 per nine innings. He struggled a bit in his final starts of the season, which skewed his numbers, but considering he had only thrown 58 innings the season before and his previous career-high in innings was just 73, it’s easy to see how he started to tire at the end of the season.
With another year of development under his belt, Cease is an intriguing longshot bid to put together a career year and steal the trophy.
Justin Verlander (+1600)
Lastly, we have a returning king. Verlander is a two-time Cy Young winner, eight-time All-Star, and former MVP. After throwing just six innings in 2020, Justin Verlander attempted to rehab his arm before deciding on Tommy John Surgery and missing the entire 2021 season. But now he’s back and demands our attention.
Despite being 39-years-old, Verlander looked good this spring, with a 1.32 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 13.2 innings. His opponent quality metric was 8.6, which means that Verlander was pitching exclusively to hitters who were either high Triple-A or MLB players. Obviously, it’s not the ideal barometer of success, but it’s worth noting after essentially two years away.
In his last full season, in 2019, Verlander pitched to a 2.58 ERA and 0.80 WHIP in 223 innings, while notching 300 strikeouts. I mean, even just typing that out seems absurd. There are no pitchers who are throwing that many innings now, and Robbie Ray led the majors last year with 248 strikeouts.
All of which is to say that even if we get an 80% Justin Verlander, he’s the type of pitcher who could put up elite results in 140-150 innings and become a real contender for the AL Cy Young.
For more MLB Future of League Leaders odds, check DraftKings Sportsbook