With the MLB season approaching its midway point, it’s time to start taking a serious look at the AL Cy Young race in 2023.
There is surely no shortage of American League Cy Young candidates. Yet, no clear favorite has emerged. Even if a couple have started to separate themselves from the pack, there is still a lot that can happen with a few dark horses worth watching closely.
AL Cy Young race 2023
Now is a good time of year to start making some AL Cy Young predictions and perhaps even look closely at the betting odds for each candidate.
Again, this race is far from decided with a lot of the season left to play. But let’s take a closer look at the AL Cy Young race in 2023 and the candidates you should be watching.
As the best pitcher on the best team, Shane McClanahan is an ideal Cy Young candidate. He was an all-star and finished sixth in Cy Young voting last year, only to take another big step forward in 2023.
He already has double-digit wins and is leading the American League in ERA. If that continues, McClanahan will be among the serious contenders at the end of the season.
In terms of the best ERA in the American League, Framber Valdez isn’t far behind McClanahan. Houston’s new ace isn’t winning as many as he did a year ago when he finished fifth in the Cy Young race.
But he has one of the best WHIPs in baseball and thrives at keeping hitters off-balance, allowing fewer home runs than almost every other starter in baseball.
Speaking of not allowing homers, Sonny Gray has conceded just two long balls over his first 15 starts of the season. Gray was utterly brilliant in April but has evened out since then. He also hasn’t racked up that many wins because the Twins are hovering around .500.
But if he can put together another stretch like he did in April, Gray will factor into the AL Cy Young Race in 2023.
Eovaldi has always had great stuff but appears to be putting everything together. If he continues to win games and lead the Rangers to victories, Eovaldi will be hard to rule out of the Cy Young race.
Cole has a chance to change that this year because he’s racking up wins for a Yankees team that needs its ace. Cole also ranks among the top-five AL pitchers in ERA and strikeouts, helping to make him a serious candidate.
The Blue Jays had a Cy Young winner with Robbie Ray two years ago and they might have another one this season if Kevin Gausman keeps it up. Toronto’s ace currently leads the American League in strikeouts, which should at least put him on the Cy Young radar.
His ERA and WHIP surely need to come down a little too. It’s also important that the Blue Jays make the playoffs in a crowded Wild Card race. But Gausman certainly has a chance at the midway part of the season.
In his first full season in Seattle, Luis Castillo is giving the Mariners exactly what they need. He’s pitching like the team’s ace and doing everything he can to keep them in the playoff hunt. Of course, as far as his Cy Young hopes are concerned, Castillo has some work to do.
He’s keeping his ERA under 3.00 and is close to the top in the strikeouts. But Castillo has a losing record because he’s not getting the support he needs. He might be pitching like a Cy Young contender, but he needs a record that reflects that if he hopes to win.
It’s almost a given that Shohei Ohtani is going to be the MVP in the American League, at least if the Angels are a playoff contender in September.
However, while his bat is doing a lot of the work these days, Ohtani’s arm could put him in the Cy Young discussion as well. He has a legitimate chance to lead the league in strikeouts and is just one of two starts in the American League holding opposing hitters to an average under .200. If he can keep winning games and make his ERA a little more competitive, Ohtani could win the Cy Young and MVP in the same year.
The Orioles have surprised a lot of people this year. Even more surprising is the fact that Tyler Wells is on the Cy Young radar.
Wells has the lowest WHIP in the American League and is a close second behind Ohtani with regard to opponents’ batting average. While his strikeout numbers lag behind and he’s given up too many home runs, Wells has been one of the most efficient pitchers in baseball. With a lower ERA and more wins during the second half of the season, Wells will need to be taken seriously as a Cy Young candidate.
While his teammate is arguably the frontrunner right now, Zach Eflin is also putting together a remarkable season for the Rays and is a Cy Young dark horse. Much like McClanahan, it’s been easy for Eflin to rack up the wins.
He also has one of the lowest WHIPS in the AL. However, since he’s not a pitcher who’s going to amass a lot of strikeouts, Eflin needs to collect as many wins and continue to lower his ERA if he’s going to make a serious Cy Young push.