With the 2023 season nearing the home stretch, a clear favorite has emerged for the American League Cy Young Award. On the NL side, however, several contenders are in the mix for the league’s top pitching honor.
As in our previous Cy Young polls 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 2023 Cy Young Award frontrunners right now (all numbers through Sunday's games).
1) Gerrit Cole, Yankees (38 first-place votes)
Cole is currently on pace for his best season in a Yankees uniform. The American League leader in innings pitched with 156 1/3, he’s on pace for 214 innings in 2023 -- which would be a career high. He’s been strong overall with a 2.76 ERA, second among AL starters, although his strikeout rate has dipped to its lowest level since 2017. Despite five finishes in the top five, Cole has never won the Cy Young; if he keeps up his current performance, that will likely change.
2) Kevin Gausman, Blue Jays (6 first-place votes)
Gausman leads the AL in strikeouts with 183 in just 139 innings -- an impressive 32.5% strikeout rate. In his 11th MLB season but just his second with the Blue Jays, Gausman is likely to make his first top-five finish in Cy Young voting in either league. If he can maintain his 3.04 ERA (tied for third in the AL) and keep the K’s coming, he should finish high on the ballot -- if not win the award outright.
3) Shohei Ohtani, Angels (2 first-place votes)
The top starter on the playoff-hopeful Angels, Ohtani has pitched like an ace in 2023. He has struck out 165 batters in 130 2/3 innings, and his 3.17 ERA ranks eighth in the AL. Ohtani is also tops among all qualified starters with a .185 opponents’ batting average. While the news that Ohtani will skip Tuesday's scheduled start due to arm fatigue is a concern, his recent one-hit shutout of the Tigers was a reminder of what he can do on the mound. (Rumor has it he can hit a little bit, too.)
4) Nathan Eovaldi, Rangers (2 first-place votes)
Eovaldi has been on the injured list since July 30 with a right forearm strain, the principal fact hurting his Cy Young chances. When he has pitched, he’s been among the best starters in MLB, owning an AL-best 2.69 ERA in his first season with the Rangers. Eovaldi was throwing off a mound as of Wednesday, so he still has time to return and continue to make an impact.
5) Framber Valdez, Astros
Valdez no-hit the Guardians on Aug. 1 in Houston, although the brilliant performance was sandwiched between a pair of six-run outings. Still, the left-hander has become an ace in the midst of several pitching injuries in the Astros’ rotation. Valdez, who took a 3.30 ERA into Monday night’s start, has thrown the seventh-most innings of any AL starter and is the only MLB pitcher with two shutouts this season.
Others receiving votes: Sonny Gray, Félix Bautista (1 first-place vote), Zach Eflin, Luis Castillo, George Kirby, Pablo López, Logan Gilbert
1) Zac Gallen, D-backs (14 first-place votes)
Gallen has been nothing but effective since making his MLB debut with the Marlins in 2019, and this season has been no exception. His 3.24 ERA ranks fourth among National League starters, and his 155 2/3 innings are third in that group. Gallen has been the ace of a surprising D-backs team, owning a 10-1 record and a 1.82 ERA at Chase Field. He’s been one of the best starters in the National League and, according to our voters, he remains the Cy Young Award frontrunner.
2) Blake Snell, Padres (21 first-place votes)
Snell actually garnered more first-place votes in our poll than Gallen did, but his intriguing numbers this season gave other voters pause. While Snell’s 2.63 ERA leads all qualified MLB starters (and that mark is just 1.13 since May 31), he’s issued 76 walks in 130 innings -- an average of 5.3 free passes per nine innings. Snell is also averaging a little more than 5.4 innings per start -- the eighth-lowest mark among 61 qualifiers.
3) Justin Steele, Cubs (5 first-place votes)
Last season, Steele showed flashes of what was to come. In 2023 -- just his third MLB season -- the Cubs left-hander has become one of the Majors’ best starters. Despite missing two weeks in June with a forearm strain, Steele is tied for the NL lead with 13 wins; his 2.79 ERA is second in the league. Only three of the NL’s other 30 qualified starters have walked fewer batters than Steele (28) this season.
4) Spencer Strider, Braves (9 first-place votes)
Strider is lapping the field in terms of strikeouts, having fanned 217 batters entering play Monday -- 34 more than Gausman, the next closest pitcher. With six weeks left in the season, 300 strikeouts is certainly in play for the Braves’ young star -- as of Monday, he was on pace for exactly that number. Despite that, though, Strider has just a 3.75 ERA this year, including a 4.52 mark over his past 12 starts. While his strikeout prowess earned him a handful of first-place votes, Strider was dinged for his recent ineffectiveness in our poll.
5) Logan Webb, Giants
No MLB pitcher has thrown more innings in 2023 than Webb has, and the Giants right-hander has been efficient, too: His 3.26 ERA ranks fifth among NL starters. Webb hurled a shutout of the Rockies in July and nearly had another complete game Sunday against the Rangers. Webb has yet to finish in the top 10 in NL Cy Young voting -- he ended up 11th last season -- but a strong finish to 2023 will certainly change that.
Others receiving votes: Zack Wheeler, Corbin Burnes, Kodai Senga, Merrill Kelly, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Hader, Devin Williams, Alexis Díaz