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AL Cy Young race: How MLB season so far has impacted odds

We discuss the AL Cy Young race after the third month of the 2023 regular season.

Shane McClanahan of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field on May 24, 2023 in St Petersburg, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Hard as it is to believe, we’re now two full months through the 2023 MLB season. The sample size is a bit bigger now, meaning we can say with a bit more confidence which breakouts are for real and which slow starts may not be much of a fluke after all. The landscape among American League pitchers has shifted quite a bit over the past few weeks — Gerrit Cole’s home run bugaboo from last year has reared its head again, Eduardo Rodriguez has hit the IL with a finger injury that could cost him months and Nathan Eovaldi just keeps on firing complete games — and the Cy Young market has responded accordingly.

So, just like we did at the beginning of May, let’s celebrate the start of June with a look at how the past month has impacted the AL Cy Young odds over at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Updated AL Cy Young odds as of June 1

Shane McClanahan +350 Gerrit Cole +400 Shohei Ohtani +600
Joe Ryan +1100 Kevin Gausman +1200 Luis Castillo +1400
Framber Valdez +1600 Nathan Eovaldi +1800 George Kirby +1800
Sonny Gray +2000 Eduardo Rodriguez +3500 Logan Gilbert +5000

AL Cy Young race: Takeaways and best bets

Kevin Gausman, Toronto Blue Jays

You can make pretty compelling cases against each of the three betting favorites here: McClanahan comes at the shortest odds, has wavered a bit recently and comes with the risk that the Rays could limit his innings; Cole’s fastball velocity and strikeout rates are down and his home run rate went way up in May; and Ohtani, as good as he is, may get more attention as an MVP candidate than a Cy Young candidate.

So, if you’re looking elsewhere, who should you target? Gausman is putting up elite strikeout numbers, and after some bad BABIP luck last year, he’s got his ERA down to 3.03 — and that’s with two blow-up starts earlier in the year in which he allowed 15 runs over eight innings of work. If you remove those two outings, his numbers look awfully similar to McClanahan’s, and he comes with better odds and a better chance of racking up an innings advantage.

Framber Valdez, Houston Astros

Of course, if you want the ultimate innings advantage, go with Valdez, who might be the single safest choice on this list despite not having the stratospheric ceiling of the guys ahead of him. The lefty has allowed more than two runs in a start just three times all season, and more than three runs just once, pitching at least six innings in all but two of his 11 appearances so far.

Just as importantly, his strikeout rate would be a career high over a full season, and with his sinker producing bundles of ground balls, we know the low ERA is going to be there — he hasn’t had a mark above 3.14 since the pandemic season in 2020. With a new cutter giving him another weapon to attack righties — and Houston looking like the defending champs now that they’re finally getting healthy — he comes with shockingly few question marks at +1600 odds.