2023 American League Cy Young Odds
Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole Lead The Way
Even though it’s the beginning of March and Spring Training is just getting started, it’s never too early to get a head start on MLB futures bets. Now’s a great time to scour the lines for smart value picks despite the regular season being a few weeks away. The American League Cy Young odds are a good place to start as the AL — thanks to some big offseason pickups by the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees — is especially stacked at the top.
Between Jacob deGrom in Texas, Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodón in New York, and the likes of Alek Manoah, Dylan Cease, and Shane Bieber, the AL Cy Young race should be an incredibly interesting and exciting one to follow as the 2023 season progresses. The preseason MLB Cy Young odds for either league are always cool to check out because they can tell us a lot about who Vegas is high, or low, on as well as what the public may think.
Let’s take a look at the top candidates, their current odds and the cases for and against them taking home the AL top pitching prize in 2023:
Jacob deGrom (+500)
Of course, the best pitcher in the world — when healthy — leads the pack even though he has already had an injury scare (his left side tightness seems to have subsided) and has multiple scares per season. deGrom only threw 64 1/3 regular season innings last year for the Mets and hasn’t eclipsed 92 innings since his back-to-back NL Cy Young campaigns in 2018 and 2019, so there is certainly reason to be skeptical about expecting him to pitch the 150+ innings generally required to win the title.
There isn’t much concern about his effectiveness, though, even as he adjusts to the AL and Texas. If deGrom can stay on the mound for more than 22 starts or so, this is his award to lose. That’s an enormous risk, however, and it’s why he might not be the smartest of MLB betting picks. He’s also 34 years old and probably won’t be able to go particularly deep into games especially with the Rangers likely keeping a close eye on his health. You can’t question the talent and ability but there are just too many questions with deGrom for him to be the unquestioned favorite.
Gerrit Cole (+550)
While Cole might have his blowups in the postseason every now and then, he’s still certainly one of the most consistent top-of-the-rotation arms in baseball. He led the Majors in strikeouts in 2022 but only finished ninth in the AL Cy Young voting because of his 3.50 ERA which was significantly inflated by the league-leading 33 home runs he allowed. To be sure, giving up that many long balls is not a fluke but it seems highly unlikely he will be victimized by dingers as much in 2023.
The American League Cy Young odds love Cole for a reason, though, and that’s his durability and command. Besides the shortened 2020 season, Cole has made 30+ starts in five of his last six seasons and he hasn’t walked more than 2.2 batters per nine innings since 2018. When you combine Cole’s strikeout ability with his rubber arm and his strike-throwing, you have a really good perennial Cy Young candidate.
Alek Manoah (+800)
We’ll stay in the AL East for the pitcher with the third-best odds to take home the hardware. Manoah followed up a solid 2021 rookie campaign with an even-better 2022 sophomore season, finishing third in AL Cy Young voting while allowing just a .202 opponent batting average. His strikeouts did dip significantly and he led the AL in HBPs allowed, for the second-straight time, but in terms of opposing batter contact, there was no better pitcher in the AL than Manoah.
The lack of track record — he’s only 25 years old and has thrown just 308 MLB innings — is a potential reason to stay away as is the Blue Jays’ decision to bring in the fences at Rogers Centre. But, in terms of pure value, it’s hard not to take a flyer on someone as promising as Manoah. He’s an imposing mound presence who will benefit from MLB’s balanced schedule by not having to face the rest of the brutally tough AL East as often.
Dylan Cease (+850)
The only thing stopping Cease from winning the AL Cy Young Award last season was Justin Verlander’s historic campaign. Cease managed to post a 2.20 ERA despite leading the AL in walks allowed which, while concerning for sure, underscores just how electric his stuff is in terms of missing bats.
The American League Cy Young odds don’t like Cease’s chances as much in 2023. That’s understandable considering his control issues and that he didn’t strike out as many batters last season as he did the year before. If that trend continues, then it’s hard to believe Cease will be able to prevent runs as well this season.
Shane Bieber and Carlos Rodòn (+1000)
Bieber was incredible in his first full season since 2019, tossing exactly 200 innings of sub-3.00 ERA ball with nearly a strikeout per inning. Nothing is “flashy” about Bieber, per se, but he just doesn’t give up many base-runners and is extremely steady. His strikeouts also nosedived from 2020 and 2021 but maybe that’s what allowed him to pitch a full season. At +1000, Bieber is a great bet.
His former AL Central counterpart, Rodón, is now with the Yankees after an impressive season with the Giants. The key for Rodón has always been health and he was healthy with San Francisco, making 31 starts. He led baseball in strikeouts per nine (12) and in FIP, indicating just how many bats he missed in 2022 and how he did a great job of preventing home runs. From a pure stuff perspective, Rodón probably should be given a better chance to win but the always-lingering injury concerns — and adjustment to New York — bring him down a bit.
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