These are the Cy Young leaders at the break

July 21st, 2022

The second half of the MLB season gets underway Thursday, and the top arms in the sport are gearing up for the stretch run.

Postseason berths are at stake, and so are the AL and NL Cy Young Awards. As things stand coming out of the All-Star break, there is a clear favorite in each league, per the results of the latest poll. But that hardly means the competition is over, with a number of strong candidates waiting in the wings to stake their claims over the final two months.

Once again, voters were asked to rank their top five Cy Young candidates in each league based on what has happened so far and what they expect will happen in the months to come. 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 39 voters participating. Here are the results.


1) , Rays (34 first-place votes)
DraftKings Cy Young odds: 2-to-1

No, McClanahan didn’t have his best stuff in his All-Star Game start on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, allowing two first-inning runs on four hits. But that has no bearing on his Cy Young Award prospects, which look just as strong as the last time we conducted this poll, three weeks ago. After all, the 25-year-old entered the break leading the Majors in ERA (1.71) and WHIP (0.795). McClanahan posted a 1.15 ERA over his final 12 starts of the first half, with 100 strikeouts and only 10 walks.

2) , Astros (3 first-place votes)
DraftKings Cy Young odds: 2.6-to-1

Can JV put together a big second half and claim Cy Young No. 3? It would be an incredible accomplishment for a pitcher coming back from Tommy John surgery and one that would vault him into elite company. Only 10 pitchers have ever won it at least three times, including two active pitchers (Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer). Verlander leads the Majors with 12 wins and has held the opposition to no more than one earned run in 12 of 17 starts.

3) , White Sox
DraftKings Cy Young odds: 9-to-1

If Cease wins the award, he will have done so despite being left off the AL All-Star roster. One could forgive the right-hander for any hard feelings about that, given that he leads the Majors with 150 strikeouts and ended the first half on a tear. The White Sox won six of Cease’s final seven starts entering the break, in which he produced a 0.65 ERA.

4) , Blue Jays (1 first-place vote)
DraftKings Cy Young odds: 18-to-1

If the national audience didn’t already know about Manoah before, it certainly does after his All-Star Game performance, during which he struck out three batters while mic’d up on the broadcast. Just 24 years old and in his second season, the right-hander continues to make an impression and give Toronto a chance to win every time he takes the ball. Manoah is 15-for-18 in quality starts, ranking third in the AL in innings and fourth in ERA (2.28).

5) , Blue Jays
DraftKings Cy Young odds: 17-to-1

If Manoah doesn’t give Toronto a second straight AL Cy Young, perhaps it will be Gausman -- the pitcher the Blue Jays signed to replace 2021 winner Robbie Ray. The right-hander’s case looks better the more you peek beneath the surface, as he leads the Majors with a 1.85 FIP, which gives him the AL’s top pitching WAR (3.7), per FanGraphs’ formula.

Others receiving votes: Gerrit Cole, Shohei Ohtani (1 first-place vote), Shane Bieber, Nestor Cortes, Framber Valdez, Martín Pérez, Emmanuel Clase, Logan Gilbert


1) , Marlins (26 first-place votes)
DraftKings Cy Young odds: -125

Like McClanahan, Alcantara has only tightened his grip on the No. 1 spot since our last poll, as his incredible run of success continued through the end of the first half. The numbers simply boggle the mind. Alcantara has completed at least seven innings in 13 consecutive starts -- the longest such streak by any pitcher since 2014 -- while posting a mere 1.31 ERA and holding opponents to a .460 OPS in that span. Overall, he leads MLB in innings (138 1/3), ERA+ (233) and Baseball-Reference WAR (5.3).

2) , Brewers (2 first-place votes)
DraftKings Cy Young odds: 6-to-1

Is it possible for the reigning winner to be flying under the radar? Burnes actually has a lower ERA (2.14) this year than in 2021 (2.43) and may only be getting stronger. Since authoring two subpar outings to open June, he has a 1.54 ERA over six starts, with three 10-strikeout efforts.

3) Max Fried, Braves
DraftKings Cy Young odds: 15-to-1

The left-hander was fifth in our last poll but jumps up two spots here, on the heels of his first career All-Star selection. Like the Braves, his season really got going over the past couple of months. Fried owns a 2.18 ERA in 11 starts since May 24, with Atlanta winning 10 of those games.

4) , Dodgers
DraftKings Cy Young odds: 12-to-1

Gonsolin is 11-0 this season, so it was a bit of weird baseball fortune that he ended up taking the loss in the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium. That performance came on the heels of allowing a season-high five runs in his final first-half outing, July 13 at St. Louis. That bumped Gonsolin’s ERA up a half-run, to a still-excellent 2.02. It will be interesting to see how a pitcher who only threw 55 2/3 Major League innings last year will hold up in the second half.

5) Carlos Rodón, Giants (1 first-place vote)
DraftKings Cy Young odds: 19-to-1

His numbers look strong enough on their own, but if you remove one aberration of a start on May 15 at St. Louis (eight runs allowed), Rodón would boast a 2.04 ERA. As it is, he leads the NL with a 2.14 FIP and is third with 131 strikeouts, including a 12-K complete game on July 9 at San Diego.

Others receiving votes: Joe Musgrove, Aaron Nola, Max Scherzer, Miles Mikolas, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Wheeler, Logan Webb