Between the baseball carrying far more than in years past and rule changes designed to boost offense, pitching has been unsurprisingly a bit harder to come by so far in the 2023 MLB season. And yet, from a stuff standpoint, pitching has never been better. The result: among the most wide-open AL Cy Young Award races in memory, with a slew of absurdly talented arms duking it out and seemingly nothing set in stone.
Who’s the favorite? How have the first few weeks of the season impacted things? Where can you find value? Let’s break it all down with the first three weeks of the year in the books, with odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Updated AL Cy Young odds as of April 17th
Gerrit Cole +400 Shohei Ohtani +500 Jacob deGrom +700
Dylan Cease +900 Shane McClanahan +1000 Luis Castillo +1200
Kevin Gausman +1600 Framber Valdez +2000 Shane Bieber +2000
Cristian Javier +2500 George Kirby +2500 Carlos Rodon +2500
AL Cy Young race: Takeaways and best bets
Best Bet: Luis Castillo, Seattle Mariners
Castillo nearly made history in his last start, taking a perfect game into the seventh en route to a win over the Colorado Rockies. After years in the hitter’s paradise of Great American Ballpark, the righty is making the most of his move to spacious Seattle, with a minuscule 0.73 ERA and 26 strikeouts over 24.2 innings thus far this year.
While others on this list (Ohtani, deGrom, McClanahan) come with workload concerns, the Mariners will be more than willing to lean on their ace as they look to get back to the postseason — and Castillo’s stuff is as good as anyone on this list when his changeup is on.
Luis Castillo, Wicked Changeups.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 16, 2023
7Ks thru 4 pic.twitter.com/ywoAvlN77G
Best Bet: Kevin Gausman, Toronto Blue Jays
Gausman feels like he’s been a Cy Young dark horse for years now, and 2023 may be the year he finally gets it done. After getting BABIPed to death last season, the new, more pitching-friendly dimensions at Rogers Centre should help him out, and you know Toronto will provide more than enough run support. The righty is sporting a 1.35 ERA and an 11.3 K/9 through his first three starts, and he’ll have plenty of spotlight starts pitching in the AL East this summer.