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Cole Injury Shuffles Picks to Win AL Cy Young

The 2024 MLB regular season is upon us, with the official Opening Day set to feature all 30 teams in less than 72 hours. Although the Padres and Dodgers have already opened their season with two games in Seoul, South Korea, the real domestic action begins on Thursday afternoon. The Mets and Brewers are scheduled to start at Citi Field, with the first pitch expected at 1:10 p.m. in Queens, weather permitting.

 

Cole Injury Shuffles Picks to Win AL Cy Young
Kevin Gausman #34 of the Toronto Blue Jays | Stephen Maturen/Getty Images/AFP

As the season approaches rapidly, it’s the perfect time to delve into the league’s major awards. In each league, we’ll look at the odds for the Most Valuable Player (MVP), Cy Young and Rookie of the Year (ROY).

First up is the American League Cy Young. But before we dive into the predictions, let’s review the MLB lines for the favorites to hoist the hardware.

1. Kevin Gausman +650
2. Framber Valdez +800
3. Tarik Skubal +900
4. Cole Ragans +900
5. Luis Castillo +1000
6. Pablo Lopez +1200
7. George Kirby +1400
8. Gerrit Cole +2000
9. Logan Gilbert +2000

 

 

AL Cy Young Award Favorite: Kevin Gausman +650

Earlier this month, Kevin Gausman emerged as the new favorite for the AL Cy Young Award following Gerrit Cole’s injury announcement on March 13. And he’s a worthy odds-on favorite.

The Blue Jays ace was third in last year’s Cy Young voting and led the AL in strikeouts per nine innings at 11.5, boasting an impressive 31.1% strikeout rate. His fWAR of 5.3 topped even Cole’s 5.2, and he had the league’s second-best FIP (2.97) among qualified starters.

 


Gausman, who was noted for his effective splitter and consistent health, has been in the top 10 of Cy Young voting for the last three years, underscoring his status as one of the game’s elite pitchers. While MLB betting on the favorite can be risky due to baseball’s high injury rate, Gausman appears to be a solid candidate leading the race.

AL Cy Young Award Contender: Pablo Lopez +800

Pablo López experienced the most significant increase in strikeout rate from 2022 to 2023 among pitchers who pitched at least 150 innings each season, with his 29.2% rate ranking him fifth among qualified starters. His evolution from promising talent to a Cy Young Award contender came after integrating a sweeper into his existing arsenal of a four-seamer and changeup.

The 2023 season marked López’s breakout year, earning his first All-Star selection and receiving Cy Young votes for the first time. His development has been impressive, and the anticipation for his performance in 2024 is high as he builds on last year’s advancements.

Should López continue on this trajectory and win the Cy Young, he would become the first Minnesota Twins pitcher to do so since Johan Santana (2006), a pitcher he grew up admiring. Sounds like a Lifetime movie in the making

AL Cy Young Award Dark Horse: Gerrit Cole +2000

The outlook for this year’s Cy Young Award has shifted significantly following news that Gerrit Cole, previously the favorite to clinch the honor for the second consecutive year, will be sidelined until possibly May or June due to nerve inflammation and fluid accumulation in his right elbow. As a result, Cole has dropped to the outskirts of the top 10 in the award’s betting odds, given his expected absence for at least two months.


But here’s the thing. Injury or not, when he’s on, Cole is the best pitcher in the American League. If he can make it back on the early end of his predicted date, say late April, he should have enough time to work his way into the Cy Young conversation if he pitches like he did last season. For this reason, I like the value that Cole’s Vegas betting odds provide. It’s a risk, sure, but how often do you get preseason odds on a reigning Cy Young champion anywhere near +2000? A half-unit bet online for Cole to repeat is my favorite AL Cy Young bet heading into Opening Day.

 

 

Questions of the Day

Which contender is the riskiest bet to win the AL Cy Young?


If you want to wager on Gerrit Cole before Opening Day, you take a major risk. He might not play until June, and it’s not a guarantee.

Who is a longshot worth a bet online to win the AL Cy Young Award?


As stated in the first FAQ, Cole is a risky wager. But he also sports a very attractive +2000 betting line, which is a fantastic price for a pitcher of his caliber. Even with an injury, he’s a tempting bet.

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