Alcantara, Verlander still lead in Cy Young poll

September 1st, 2022

A dominant September can seal a Cy Young Award for an ace pitcher. These are the top contenders entering the stretch run of the season. 

In's newest Cy Young Award poll, there are big favorites in both leagues with just over a month to go in the regular season: Sandy Alcantara in the National League, and Justin Verlander in the American League. 

But keep in mind that a slew of recent injuries to top candidates, including Verlander and Shane McClanahan in the AL and Tony Gonsolin in the NL, means there's a lot of uncertainty in both Cy Young races right now. Those aces' ability to return down the stretch could decide the awards.

For our poll, voters ranked their top five Cy Young candidates in each league based on what's happened so far and what they expect will happen over the final month of the season. Pitchers received vote 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 43 voters participating. 

Here are the results. All stats are entering Wednesday's games.


1) , Astros (37 first-place votes)

Verlander was just placed on the 15-day injured list with a right calf injury, but he seems to have avoided the worst and has a "relatively short-term" recovery timetable. As it stands, the 39-year-old veteran is leading the Majors with 16 wins and a 1.84 ERA. Verlander remains the AL Cy Young favorite from the last poll, as he seeks his third career award.

2) , Rays (3 first-place votes)

The top 2 AL Cy Young contenders are both dealing with injuries -- like Verlander, McClanahan just went on the IL, as the Rays' ace is dealing with a left shoulder impingement. McClanahan is right behind Verlander in the AL ERA race at 2.20, and he ranks third in the league with 182 strikeouts. The breakout lefty is in the "Cy Young finalist" tier for a second straight poll.

3) , White Sox (3 first-place votes)

Cease ranks third in the AL behind Verlander and McClanahan with a 2.27 ERA and second with 190 strikeouts, trailing only Gerrit Cole in the latter category. Though his streak of 14 straight starts allowing one earned run or fewer recently came to an end, the hard-throwing righty remains in the top 3 from the last poll -- and could make a late-season Cy Young push with Verlander and McClanahan injured.

4) , Blue Jays

The Blue Jays ace just got done dueling Shohei Ohtani with seven innings of one-run, eight-strikeout baseball in his last start. The start before that, he held the Yankees to one earned run in six innings with eight more K's. Manoah, who's 12-7 with a 2.60 ERA and 147 strikeouts this season, remains in the No. 4 spot in the Cy Young poll.

5) , Astros

Valdez is an emerging Cy Young candidate thanks to his current streak of 22 straight quality starts for the AL West-leading Astros. The lefty could help pick up the slack in Verlander's absence, and make his own Cy Young push in the process. Valdez leads the AL with 164 innings pitched and is 14-4 with a 2.63 ERA and 150 strikeouts.

Others receiving votes: Shohei Ohtani, Kevin Gausman, Gerrit Cole, Shane Bieber, Emmanuel Clase, Martín Pérez, Nestor Cortes, Triston McKenzie


1) , Marlins (42 first-place votes)

Alcantara is a machine, and the NL Cy Young Award is his to lose. The overwhelming favorite in our poll yet again, Alcantara leads the Major Leagues with 185 2/3 innings pitched and four complete games -- the latest a 10-strikeout gem to beat the Dodgers. He's also second in the MLB ERA race with a 2.13 mark, and is 12-6 with 167 strikeouts.

2) , Braves

The ace of the defending World Series champs has the Braves back in position for another playoff push. Fried is 12-5 with a 2.56 ERA and 143 strikeouts, and his performances since the last Cy Young poll include a seven-inning, two-run, six-strikeout victory over the rival Mets, whom the Braves are fighting for the NL East title. Fried moves up from No. 3 to No. 2 in this poll.

3) , Dodgers (1 first-place vote)

The third injured Cy Young contender, Gonsolin will be out at least a few weeks with a right forearm strain. Before his injury, the 28-year-old right-hander was helping the Dodgers to the best record in baseball despite missing both Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler in the starting rotation. Gonsolin is 16-1 with a 2.10 ERA and 116 strikeouts for L.A.

4) , Brewers

The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is in contention again, backed by a league-leading 195 strikeouts. Burnes is about to post his second straight 200-K season, and he also has a 2.84 ERA. He's had a couple of rocky outings his last two times out, but he also had a strong seven-inning performance against the division rival Cardinals since the last Cy Young poll.

5) , Dodgers

Urías breaks into the top five in the NL for this poll and gives the Dodgers two Cy Young contenders. The 26-year-old lefty has followed up on his 20-3 record, 2.96 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 2021 with a 14-7 record, 2.32 ERA and 137 strikeouts so far in '22. Like Gonsolin, he's a big reason why the Dodgers are the only team in MLB with 90 wins despite their starting pitcher injuries.

Others receiving votes: Carlos Rodón, Aaron Nola, Edwin Díaz, Zac Gallen, Max Scherzer, Tyler Anderson, Kyle Wright, Merrill Kelly