Spring Training games are starting this weekend as the 2023 MLB season kicks off. We’ve started our pre-season awards discussion by looking at the best value bets for the World Series, the best bets for the AL MVP and NL MVP, so today we’ll dive into the AL Cy Young odds.
Last year, Justin Verlander won the award, taking all 30 first-place votes. It was quite a comeback season for the 39-year-old, who is now a member of the New York Mets, coming off Tommy John surgery to go 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA in 28 starts. He led the AL in wins, ERA, WHIP (0.83), opponents’ OPS (.497), and opponents’ batting average (.186).
Dylan Cease of the White Sox finished in second in the AL Cy Young voting, Alek Manoah of the Blue Jays finished third, and Shohei Ohtani finished fourth, but none of them were close to Verlander and no other pitchers other than these four were even really in the conversation.
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2023 AL Cy Young Odds
|Player||Team||Odds to win|
|Alek Manoah||Blue Jays||+800|
|Dylan Cease||White Sox||+900|
|Kevin Gausman||Blue Jays||+1500|
Odds courtesy of Draftkings Sportsbook, click here to see up-to-date odds.
Jacob deGrom (+500) has the top odds to win the AL Cy Young because he’s the most talented pitcher in baseball. There isn’t really any debate about that. When the 34-year-old is healthy, there is simply nobody that can do what he does, which is why he’s already on the NL Cy Young twice. However, lately, deGrom has rarely stayed healthy, making just 26 starts over the past two seasons. He pitches in a great pitcher’s park for a team that should be in playoff contention, but I just can’t bet deGrom at these odds, especially when he is already dealing with side tightness.
Gerrit Cole (+600) is another pitcher I’m avoiding at this cost right now. Is Gerrit Cole one of the best pitchers in the AL? Yes. Does he have a concerning home run issue? Also, yes. The Yankees right-hander allowed 1.43 HR/9 innings last year, but this has been an issue his whole career, giving up 1.73 HR/9 in his first season in New York too. Cole will rack up strikeouts on a good team, but I also think he could finish with a 3.50 ERA, which is not going to win him the AL Cy Young.
Alek Manoah (+800) was in contention for the AL Cy Young last season and wound up finishing third. He set a career-high with 16 wins, which was good for third in the AL. However, his lack of strikeouts (8.2 K/9) and hitter-friendly home stadium are working against him a bit. His 2.24 ERA was a little lucky, according to his 3.85 SIERA and 3.97 xFIP, so given the above concerns I’m also not going to bank on Manoah at this price.
Of the favorites, I might prefer Dylan Cease (+900) at this current odds. Cease has always had great stuff, but it was just about harnessing it. His slider is legitimately one of the best pitches in baseball last season, and he was dominant down the stretch last year, posting a 2.20 ERA and 11.10 K/9. He remains a risky bet given his history with poor control, but I believe his gains are legitimate, and he’s even been working on adding a changeup as a true fourth pitch, which could take him to another level this year.
Carlos Rodon (+1000) is the Yankee starter I’d prefer to bet on. The left-hander is coming back to the AL after one year with San Francisco in which he set a career-high in wins, with 14, but also followed up his breakout 2021 with 11.98 K/9. He’ll now have to adapt to a much less pitcher-friendly park in Yankee Stadium but the only knock on him has been health and throwing 178 innings last year should help to alleviate those concerns. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he’s the best pitcher on the Yankees next year.
Shane McClanahan (+1200) looked like a legit AL Cy Young contender from a two-month stretch last season where he posted an 8-1 record, 1.27 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, and across 85.1 innings for Tampa. He has a triple-digit fastball and the breaking pitches to make life difficult for hitters, but he ended last year dealing with a shoulder injury that he didn’t get any procedure on over the winter. That could mean all he needed was rest, but shoulder injuries are a major concern for pitchers, and we saw how it hampered his performance at the end of last season, so I’d be nervous betting too much on him.
Framber Valdez (+1500) is one of my favorite longer-shot AL Cy Young bets after he broke out in 2022, posting a 2.82 ERA over an AL-leading 201.1 innings. Valdez then posted a 1.44 ERA in four playoff starts for Houston. Much of his success can be attributed to the cutter he learned from teammate Luis Garcia, which gave him another weapon to add to his dominant curveball. That means Valdez was no fluke. When you add to that the fact that he’s an innings workhorse, I think getting him at +1500 is a great price.
My final dark horse is Luis Castillo (+1800). He benefited from moving out of a hitter-friendly park in Cincinnati and into a much more pitcher-friendly one in Seattle. He posted a 5-2 record with a 2.92 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 10.5 K/9 in his 86.1 innings with the Mariners and also had a 1.88 ERA in the playoffs. Castillo has always had talent, and an absurd changeup, but the Mariners are a good organization when it comes to developing pitching, and the home park improvements make him a solid AL Cy Young contender and a great value bet.