The Blue Jays and Yankees aren't just fighting for the final AL wild card spot, they also have top pitchers who are battling for the AL Cy Young award. Toronto's Robbie Ray is the favourite to win the Cy Young, with New York's Gerrit Cole trying to close the gap.
The final AL wild card spot is likely going to come down to the Blue Jays or Yankees, but there’s also some individual hardware up for grabs with these teams as we near the final week of the regular season. Toronto’s Robbie Ray has jumped to the front of the pack as a -183 favourite to win the AL Cy Young award on the MLB futures odds, but he’s followed closely by New York’s Gerrit Cole at +154. Here’s your official list of favourites for the AL Cy Young award. We’re also going to take a look at some dark horse candidates and a few interesting long shots.
AL Cy Young Favourites
Robbie Ray -183 (Blue Jays)
It’s essentially a two-horse race at this point and the leader of that race is Ray. It’s pretty incredible Ray is having the season he is after coming off one of the worst years of his career in 2020. He leads the American League in ERA (2.72), WHIP (1.03), innings pitched (182) and strikeouts (238) and he has the lowest rate of hits allowed. Ray’s not only been consistent, but dominant. This is by no means a done deal for Ray, but if he can have one more strong outing, the award should be his.
Gerrit Cole +154 (Yankees)
Cole is the only person who could realistically take this award from Ray. He’s second to Ray in ERA (3.03), WHIP (1.04) and strikeouts (231) and he’s fourth in innings pitched (169 1/3). Cole’s biggest claim to the Cy Young is an AL-leading strikeout rate of 12.88 K’s per nine innings. I think the biggest thing Cole can do to win this award is get the Yankees to the playoffs. If New York beats out Toronto for that final wild card spot, it will be tough to not give Cole the Cy Young.
AL Cy Young Dark Horse Candidates
Lance Lynn +1300 (White Sox)
It’s a big drop-off from Cole to Lance Lynn, but the White Sox pitcher is the best option outside of the favourites. Lynn has anchored the rotation all season and he’s been a big part of Chicago already clinching the AL Central. Through 26 starts, Lynn has posted a career-low 2.47 ERA and is averaging 10.33 strikeouts per nine innings while holding hitters to a combined .200 batting average.
Carlos Rodon +4800 (White Sox)
Rodon is on this list due to his bounce-back year. Because of arm issues, Rodon pitched a combined 42 innings in 2019 and 2020. This year he’s thrown 127 2/3 innings, going 12-5 with a career-best 2.47 ERA. Rodon’s had a great season and it looks like he’ll factor in heavily for Chicago during the playoffs, but it’s tough to see him doing enough in one or two more starts to win the Cy Young.
AL Cy Young Long Shots
Shohei Ohtani +12300 (Angels)
Shohei Ohtani is an absolute unicorn who is both one of the top pitchers and one of the top hitters in the majors. He’s a complete dual threat and a lock to win the AL MVP, but the Cy Young might be a stretch. In 23 starts, Ohtani is 9-2 with a 3.28 ERA and 146 strikeouts over 123 1/3 total innings. When you combine those numbers with 45 home runs and a .255 batting average, you get an MVP winner, but like not a Cy Young winner.
Lance McCullers Jr. +16100 (Astros)
Lance McCullers Jr. has helped Houston all but lock up the AL West division and he reportedly did it without the use of performance enhancing trashcans. He’s put together a 12-5 record this season, posting career-bests in ERA (317) and strikeouts (181) over a career-high 156 1/3 innings pitched.
Jose Berrios +19500 (Blue Jays)
It bodes well for Toronto’s future that two pitchers are on the Cy Young radar, although it’s a long shot for Jose Berrios to win. The Jays’ midseason trade acquisition is fourth in American League WHIP (1.04), fifth in ERA (3.45) and second in innings pitched (180). Berrios will be a key piece of Toronto’s fight for a wild card spot, though the Cy Young seems out of his reach.