With the 2023 MLB Trade Deadline in the books, now’s the time to start looking ahead to October — and November. There are just two months before the MLB Playoffs, but it’s not too early to think about awards season. With a little less than eight weeks remaining in the 2023 regular season, let’s take a look at which pitchers are the frontrunners for the AL Cy Young.
5. Shane McClanahan
Rays ace Shane McClanahan looked like a lock to finish in the top three after the end of the first half — but that changed rather quickly. The left-hander owned an unsightly 7.11 ERA across 19 innings (4 GS) in the second half, and a forearm issue landed him back on the IL. He still possesses the AL’s eighth-best ERA (3.29) and tied for the second-most wins (11), but McClanahan’s chances at the Cy Young continue to fade.
4. Kevin Gausman
Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman leads the Junior Circuit in strikeouts with 177, twelve more than Twins right-hander Pablo López. The 32-year-old also owns a 3.20 ERA, good for sixth in the American League. Toronto expected to have a dominant 1-2 punch atop the rotation with Gausman and Alek Manoah. Manoah’s pitched better of late, but it’s been Gausman who has held the rotation together.
3. Framber Valdez
Astros left-hander Framber Valdez took over as the team’s ace after the departure of Justin Verlander – who’s now back in Houston after being traded from the Mets at the Trade Deadline – in 2023. Through the first four months of the year, he’s pitched like an ace. Valdez owns the fourth-best bWAR (3.3) for pitchers, the third-best ERA (3.07), and yes, we have to mention the no-hitter he threw on August 2. The 29-year-old finished fifth in the Cy Young vote in 2022, and he should be in the conversation again this season.
2. Nathan Eovaldi
Rangers hurler Nathan Eovaldi’s been a gem for Texas. Eovaldi’s second in the AL in pitching bWAR (3.6), ERA (2.69), and wins (11), and he’s been a very steady hand for a Rangers team that sits in first place in the AL West. The 33-year-old showcased great command thus far, as Eovadi’s consistently punished hitters up with the fastball and down with the splitter.
1. Gerrit Cole
Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole has never won a Cy Young award in his career, but 2023 looks to be his chance. The Yanks ace is first in the AL in pitching bWAR (4.9), ERA (2.64), and his 143.1 IP also leads the Junior Circuit.
Cole’s not only put himself ahead of the pack for the Cy Young, but he should also garner consideration for the AL MVP. However, that award seems out of reach at this point – thanks to a two-way sensation in Anaheim.
Note: All stats as of August 5. This article will be updated throughout the year.