Who are the early Cy Young favorites?

May 17th, 2023

We’re now one-quarter of the way through the 2023 regular season, and a number of pitchers are putting together strong Cy Young Award cases.

In our first Cy Young poll of 2023, we asked MLB.com voters to assess the worthy candidates and rank their top five in each league based on what's happened so far and what they expect will happen the rest of the way.

Pitchers received points on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale -- five points for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote and so on, with 49 voters participating.

Here are the results. (All stats are through Monday.)


1) , Yankees (23 first-place votes)
After several close calls in previous Cy Young Award races, including second-place finishes in 2019 and 2021, Cole is once again looking like a top contender for the honor in 2023. With three-fifths of the Yankees’ projected starting rotation sidelined, Cole has put New York’s pitching staff on his back, going 5-0 with a 2.22 ERA and 62 K’s over 56 2/3 innings spanning nine starts.

2) , Rays (7 first-place votes)
Coming off a breakout 2022 season in which he finished sixth in the AL Cy Young Award voting, McClanahan is on his way toward cementing his place among the game’s top aces in 2023. Although his walk rate has spiked, the southpaw is still missing bats at an elite level (93rd percentile whiff rate) and limiting hits. He’s 7-0 with a 2.34 ERA and 61 strikeouts over 50 innings for a Rays club that owns MLB’s best record.

3) , Twins (6 first-place votes)
Gray has had his share of success during his 11-year career, but he’s rarely been this dominant for this long of a stretch. The 33-year-old leads the Majors with a 1.39 ERA and the AL with a 1.89 FIP, recording a 56-to-16 K/BB ratio while surrendering nary a home run over 45 1/3 innings. Gray has allowed one or no runs in seven of his eight starts this season.

4) , Angels
Ohtani has hit a bit of a rough patch on the mound as of late, allowing eight homers and posting a 6.12 ERA in his past four starts, but our voters like the two-way superstar’s chances of righting the ship. Ohtani had a 0.64 ERA through five starts this season, and he still leads MLB in opponents’ batting average (.145) and the AL in strikeouts (71).

5) , Twins (1 first-place vote)
The second Minnesota pitcher in our top five, Ryan has been nearly as good as his teammate Gray in 2023, going 6-1 with a 2.16 ERA over 50 innings. The righty ranks third in the Majors in WHIP (0.84) and fourth in K/BB ratio (8.14).

Others receiving votes: Eduardo Rodriguez (3 first-place votes), Nathan Eovaldi (1 first-place vote), Kevin Gausman (1 first-place vote), Luis Castillo, Framber Valdez (1 first-place vote), Shane Bieber, Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, Jacob deGrom, Pablo López


1) , D-backs (32 first-place votes)
Although his streak of 28 consecutive scoreless innings came to an end on May 2, Gallen has continued to roll right along this month. The righty has allowed six runs over 46 2/3 innings in his past seven starts (1.16 ERA), striking out 60 batters with just four walks in that span. He leads the NL with a 0.85 WHIP and 8.75 K/BB.

2) , Braves (13 first-place votes)
After an electric rookie season, Strider somehow has managed to get even better in 2023, notching a 2.53 ERA while leading the Majors in strikeouts (79), FIP (1.63) and K/9 (15.2) over 46 2/3 innings. No qualifying NL hurler has allowed a lower opponents’ batting average than Strider’s .169.

3) , Dodgers (2 first-place votes)
Kershaw hasn’t finished among the top five in the NL Cy Young Award voting since 2017, and he last won the award in 2014, but that could change if he stays healthy this year. Still going strong at the age of 35, Kershaw has recorded a 2.36 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP over his first eight starts this season.

4) , Pirates
The progress Keller made in the second half of 2022 has carried over into '23: The former top prospect has pitched to a 2.38 ERA with 69 strikeouts over 56 2/3 innings for a surprising Pirates club. Keller threw his first career complete game and shutout on May 8 and followed it up with 13 K’s over seven scoreless innings on Sunday.

5) , Cubs (1 first-place vote)
Although the Cubs have floundered after a hot start, Steele has remained a source of consistency for Chicago’s rotation. The left-hander entered his scheduled outing against the Astros on Tuesday with a 6-0 record, a 1.82 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP through eight starts this season.

Others receiving votes: Alex Cobb, Zack Wheeler, Corbin Burnes (1 first-place vote), Sandy Alcantara, Dustin May, Bryce Elder, Julio Urías, Yu Darvish, Drew Smyly, Logan Webb, Marcus Stroman