The 2022 Major League Baseball season is quickly winding down, and two of the divisions already look like a near lock as to who will win the divisions. With seven weeks left, the New York Yankees and Houston Astros hold commanding leads in their AL East and AL West divisions, and it would take a major miracle for either one of these teams to fall out of the top spot in their divisions.
However, there are great races in other places beyond the division wildcard battles. Who will win the Cy Young Award is one such battle, as Justin Verlander has leapfrogged over Shane McClanahan over the last two weeks to become the top contender for the pitching crown.
It can be a challenge trying to figure out who will win the Cy Young Award. While some writers vote solely based upon the numbers the pitcher recorded, there are those who consider other factors. If a hurler is having a great season but their club is struggling, that may not the pitcher down in the eyes of voters, who the top pitcher in the American League to also have a big influence on the success of their club.
Then there are those who have the intangibles going their way. A person pitching for the New York Yankees is going to be seen on a far more regular basis and gain a lot more media exposure than someone pitching for Tampa Bay. That can influence voters and make that pitcher the better candidate. With all that being said, here are five guys who are most likely to win the award.
2022 AL Cy Young Award Odds
AL CY YOUNG HANDICAPPING
Justin Verlander (-150), Houston Astros
The stats for Verlander are absolutely ridiculous. Two weeks into August he is 15-3 with a 1.85 ERA in 21 starts. He has issued just 24 walks and 93 hits while striking out 134 in 136.0 innings pitched. That gives him a 0.86 WHIP and a .190 opponent batting average. The ERA, victories, WHIP, and opponent batting average all lead the American League. It is hard to argue with a guy who has proven himself to be the top pitcher in a number of ways.
Also benefiting him is that he is on quite a roll down the stretch. Since June 24, the right-hander has allowed seven earned runs in 53.2 innings pitched (1.18), allowing one earned run or fewer in seven of those eight starts. It doesn’t hurt that his team leads the AL West and could very well finish with the top record in the American League.
Dylan Cease (+260), Chicago White Sox
The numbers for Cease are also quite impressive. He is 12-5 with a 1.96 ERA in 23 starts. What has been most impressive is that since he allowed seven runs in 3.0 innings to Boston on May 24, he has gone 14 straight starts allowing one earned run or fewer, including allowing zero runs in eight of those appearances.
The one thing hurting Cease is the position of his team in the AL Central standings. Chicago is in third place at the time this article was written and, if this team fails to make the playoffs, his chances of winning this award are minimal at best.
Shane McClanahan (+600), Tampa Bay Rays
McClanahan was the front runner just two weeks ago, but he has dropped back into the pack despite some impressive numbers. The Tampa Bay left-hander is 11-5 with a 2.28 ERA in 22 starts. However, he has allowed 13 earned runs in his last 23.2 innings pitched.
That moved his ERA from a sub-2.00 to its current status. Like Cease, he is likely to be hurt by the fact that his team is slowly dropping in the wildcard standings if the Rays miss the playoffs, he will also be one whose position in the voting will drop.
Shotei Ohtani (+2500), Los Angeles Angels
There are a lot of things going against Ohtani. First of all, oddsmakers are far too hyped on the performance of the right-hander. He is 10-7 with a 2.68 ERA, however, he has not pitched enough innings to qualify. He would be sixth in the league in ERA, but no starting pitcher is going to win this award when he cannot go deep enough into games to even qualify.
Plus, his stats are not eye-popping. He has a 1.05 WHIP and a .214 opponent batting average. The one part that has been very impressive is the 157 strikeouts in his first 111.0 innings pitched, but that cannot overcome his shortcomings in other areas.
Alek Manoah (+3000), Toronto Blue Jays
Manoah looks like the guy who could have shocked the world to win this award, but that is likely not going to be the case. No denying that the numbers are impressive. In 22 starts, the Toronto right-hander is 12-5 with a 2.56 ERA. He has a 1.02 WHIP and a .217 opponent batting average, so stat addicts are going to like the numbers.
He is also on the team that is likely to grab one of the wildcard spots in the American League. However, nine earned runs over his last 16.1 innings pitched is not helping Manoah. He is going to need to get on a run like Cease to earn this award.
Who Wins the AL Cy Young Award?
This looks like it is Verlander’s award to win. He has far too many things going for him. Not only is it the fact that his team is going to enter the postseason with the top record in the American League, but he has been an absolute star on this club. He leads the American League in a number of categories, and it is hard to go against a guy who has proven himself to be virtually unhittable every time he goes to the mound.
The Houston right-hander is on a personal seven-game winning streak. He has allowed more than three runs in just two starts this season and has held opponents to one run or fewer in 16 of his outings. Barring a major collapse down the stretch, Verlander is your American League Cy Young Award winner.