The Top 10 American League Cy Young candidates for 2023 MLB season

Justin Verlander won his third AL Cy Young in 2022. Who has the best chance of becoming his successor?

NEW YORK — Last year, right-hander Justin Verlander returned after missing the entire 2021 season due to surgery by Tommy John, and at the age of 39 won the American League’s Cy Young Award for the third time of his career.

It was one of the best seasons of his career, he led the majors with a 1.75 ERA in 28 starts, and he was the unanimous choice of writers.

But now Verlander is in the National League with the New York Mets and it’s someone else’s turn to win the American League, Cy Young.

Who do the Locked On Podcast Network MLB hosts across the country think he can be on the hunt for victory in 2023?

There was a list of players, ranked and then tallied by each host, and that was the order they came up with. (Feel free to discuss among yourself.)

The five players who narrowly missed the cut were: Cristian Javier (11th), Logan Gilbert (12th), Tyler Glasnow (13th), Kevin Gausman (14th) and Robbie Ray (15th).

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10) Luis Castillo, RHP, Seattle Mariners

Castillo was the big fish during last year’s trading period and Seattle caught him. After that, he helped lead them to their first playoff appearance in more than 20 years by winning 4-2 in 11 starts with a 3.17 ERA. He had his best year overall in 2022 with an 8-6 and a 2.99 ERA in 25 starts between Cincinnati and Seattle. So expect him to become more acclimated to the Pacific Northwest and contribute even more to the team’s success.

9) Shane Bieber, RHP, Cleveland Guardian

Bieber, a 2021 All-Star, had a strong 2022 campaign with a 13-8 and a 2.88 ERA in 31 starts. He pitched 200 innings, hit 198 batters and walked just 36 times. Already a Cy Young Award winner and receiving votes in last year’s competition, he was a surefire pick for our top 10.

8) Jacob deGrom, RHP, Texas Rangers

deGrom is an obvious choice even after switching leagues and struggling with health issues for the past two seasons, because when he’s on, it’s hard to argue that deGrom isn’t the best pitcher in baseball. That’s why Texas gave him a five-year, $185 million contract at the age of 34. 2023 will be a test for deGrom, who has played in the National League his entire career up to this point.

And now he’s in the American League West, where the Rangers are battling the Houston Astros to win a division. The test will be tough and many eyes will be on deGrom, but if anyone can pass, it’s him. He would likely be ranked much higher as a candidate for this award if it weren’t for his injuries over the past two years.

7) Carlos Rodon, LHP, New York Yankees

Rodón’s last two seasons have been the best of his career and are the main reason the Yankees rewarded him with a six-year/$162 million contract this offseason. He spent the first seven years of his career in the AL and after a year in the NL with the Giants, Rodon is back in the American League hoping for a third straight season. He finished 2022 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA in a career-high 178 innings with 237 strikeouts.

6) Dylan quits, RHP, Chicago White Sox

Cease was one of the few major White Sox players not to be bitten by the injury virus in 2022. And he batted so well that he finished second to Justin Verlander in the AL Cy Young vote. Cease tied a career high in starts at 32 and he was 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA. He also knocked out 227 batters in 184 innings of work. He’s definitely a good choice for Cy Young in 2023.

5) Shane McClanahan, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays

McClanahan, who debuted for the Rays in 2021, had a strong 12-8 in 2022 with a 2.54 ERA in 28 starts. He batted 194 batters in 166 and a third innings and finished 6th in the 2022 Cy Young poll. He’ll only be 26 this season so he’s got a long career ahead of him and there’s a reason he’s fifth on this list.

4) Alek Manoah, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

Manoah was one of baseball’s top pitchers of 2022, posting a 2.24 ERA in 31 starts while mostly pitching against a tough American League East Division. His control issues are still something special as he led the American League in hit batsmen in both 2021 (16) and 2022 (15). Finishing third in the Cy Young voting in 2022, he’s only 25 and has a bright future with the Blue Jays. So don’t be surprised to see him back at the top of the Cy Young list in 2023.

3) Framber Valdez, LHP, Houston Astros

Valdez had a career-best season in 2022, finishing 17-6 with a 2.82 ERA. He seems to have gotten better every year since 2020 and was in the top 5 of the Cy Young poll in 2022. He led the American League in innings pitched in 2022 with 201 and a third, and he faced an AL-high of 827 batters. He’s a workhouse that was almost without lights in the playoffs, and everyone found out who he was while helping Houston win the title.

2) Gerrit Cole, RHP, New York Yankees

Cole has always been a bridesmaid, but never the bride. He’s been in the top 5 or top 10 of the Cy Young votes since 2018 — and finished second in 2021 — but he can never win the award. But hey, having so many good seasons isn’t a bad thing at all. He had a down year in 2022, finishing with a 3.50 ERA and giving up an AL high of 33 home runs, but he also led the majors with 257 strikeouts. The point of all this is to never sideline Gerrit Cole.

1) Shohei Ohtani, RHP, Los Angeles Angels

Ohtani won the 2021 American League MVP because of his scoring, but in 2022 his pitching was the best since arriving in the majors. He was 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA and he served 219 batters in 166 innings. And while none of those numbers led the league in any category, the man did, while also batting enough to finish second in AL MVP voting.

It’s not just that Ohtani is a two-way player, he’s a very good to excellent two-way player and it wouldn’t be at all shocking if he won his first Cy Young Award in 2023.

SUBSCRIBE: The Locked On Podcast Network has a daily podcast for EVERY MLB team, find yours today! Free and available everywhere The Top 10 American League Cy Young candidates for 2023 MLB season

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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