2023 MLB Power Rankings: Who are the favorites for the AL Cy Young? (June Edition 1.0)
Top dogs top the list.
We’re a third into the regular season, but it’s never too early to think about MLB awards season. With Justin Verlander no longer in the American League, a new Cy Young winner is guaranteed for the junior circuit this year. But, which pitchers have put themselves above the rest of the pack? Here’s a look at our early favorites for the 2023 AL Cy Young award.
Related: 2023 MLB Power Rankings: Who are the favorites for the AL MVP?
5. Joe Ryan
The fifth spot was a tossup between Joe Ryan and Nathan Eovaldi, the latter of whom won four games and posted a stellar .96 ERA for the Rangers in May. We went with Ryan, who’s been the better overall starter this season. The 27-year-old continues to put up stellar results for the Twins, as he’s given up two or less earned runs in nine of his 12 starts.
On the season, Ryan is 7-3 with a 2.76 ERA, .95 WHIP, and 80 strikeouts over 71.2 innings pitched.
4. Kevin Gausman
No pitcher in the American League has more strikeouts than Kevin Gausman. The 32-year-old’s recorded 100 punchouts and walked just 18 over his 75 innings of the 2023 season. Fifty-seven of those strikeouts have come off his splitter, which has proven yet again to be a dangerous weapon for the former LSU star.
The 4-3 record on Gausman is not a clear indication as to how good the Jays righty’s been this season. And given the struggles of Alek Manoah, one can’t emphasize how important Gausman has been to Toronto this season.
3. Framber Valdez
With Justin Verlander no longer in Houston, Framber Valdez has established himself as the new ace of the Astros rotation. Through his first 12 starts of the 2023 season, Valdez went 6-4 with an impressive 2.16 ERA and 84 strikeouts, both of which ranked in the top ten of Major League Baseball. The left-hander’s 1.82 BB/9 is also good for tenth in the league.
The 29-year-old keeps hitter off balance with a hard fastball, coupled with a slower curve and two pitches — a cutter and changeup — that he can play off his fastball. Valdez was impressive for the World Series champions last year, but he’s pitching at another level in 2023.
2. Shane McClanahan
No pitcher in the Majors has more wins than Rays LHP Shane McClanahan. McClanahan won his MLB-best ninth game on June 5 against the Red Sox and lowered his ERA down to a stellar 2.02 ERA. The hard-throwing lefty’s struck out 87 batters over 75.2 IP for a Rays team that currently sits atop the American League standings.
The 26-year-old’s changeup continues to be the perfect compliment to his fastball, the latter of which has seen more action this season. While McClanahan has run into trouble with his command at times, the lefty’s stuff is extremely difficult to catch up to.
1. Gerrit Cole
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole continues to put up stellar numbers for the Bronx Bombers. Cole, who’s yet to lose a game in 2023, has struck out 80 batters — good for tenth in the Majors — and a strong 2.82 ERA for a Yankees team in the midst of a battle for an AL Wild Card spot.
Cole may not be striking out as many batters as he has in the past, but he’s been effective at getting outs. And if we had to pick one pitcher that would win the AL Cy Young should the season end today, Cole would be the selection.
Note: All stats as of June 5.