Miami Marlins stud Sand Alcantara was a one-man wrecking crew and ran away with the 2022 National League Cy Young Award last season. The odds are in his favor for a repeat performance, but is he the best bet on MLB to go back-to-back?
1. Sandy Alcantara +500
Sandy Alcantara is coming off a historic season in which he won his first Cy Young Award. While I believe he’s a great bet to do so again, I’m not sold that another Cy Young is in the cards for 2023. After all, Alcantara led the majors in pitched innings, which could begin to wear away at his relatively young arm. It’s worth noting that Alcantara also led baseball in complete games while posting a 2.28 ERA in 32 starts. He pitched so well that he ended up on the short list of finalists for the National League MVP.
Alcantara has the skills to repeat but will face stiffer competition this time.
2. Justin Verlander +600
What Justin Verlander did in 2022 was simply insane. At 39 years old and coming off Tommy John surgery, many questioned whether he would contribute or fail. Well, Verlander did more than contribute and won his third Cy Young Award as a member of the Houston Astros. He won by unanimous vote, by the way. The veteran powerhouse led MLB with a microscopic 1.75 ERA and 0.83 WHIP while going 18-4 with 185 strikeouts.
Verlander is a guy that I trust most nights when I bet online. But, in this case, I think the situation may be challenging for him to adjust to in New York with the Mets. We shall see the MLB odds for the 2024 season and revisit this conversation then.
3. Max Scherzer +1000
Max Scherzer is the second Met to make this list, with he and Verlander potentially providing the best one-two punch in baseball. Mad Max was hampered by injuries in 2022 and failed to win 12 games for the fifth season in a row. His 2.29 ERA and 0.91 WHIP are still elite, but an 11-5 record doesn’t win Cy Young Awards.
Talent aside, it’s hard to ignore that Scherzer will turn 39 this season, and its evident that durability is becoming an issue. Unlike potential highlander Verlander, Scherzer looks mortal and may never return to the days when he was a perennial finalist for the award.
4. MLB Bet: Corbin Burnes +600
Corbin Burnes is atop my MLB picks for the NL Cy Young Award winner in 2023. Some outlets list him as the odds-on favorite, while BetUs offers Burns with great MLB odds of 6/1. After finishing 2022 with the best Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) in the MLB, there is nowhere to go but up for the 28-year-old.
Corbin Burnes, Filthy Curveball. 😷 pic.twitter.com/Z02vetTA6k
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 2, 2023
Burnes accumulated the highest swinging-strike percentage with 243 punchouts and a 12-8 record with a 2.94 ERA.
Burnes really needs his team to pitch in and win some games. Cy Young voting is notoriously stingy for players on “bad teams”. Burnes fell victim to that before, but the voters will eventually have to cave and accept that the best pitcher in the MLB is on a mediocre team.
Burnes must also keep the ball in the park after jumping from seven home runs in 2021 to 24 in 2022 for my MLB predictions to come true.