American League (AL) Cy Young Award 2021 Predictions & Odds

AL Cy Young Award

  • A look at those you to back and avoid in the chase for the Cy Young
  • The defending champion is going to be extremely tough to beat
  • Who is the best off-the-radar candidate?

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Baseball is almost here, so we’ve been taking a look at who we think are the best bets to win each of baseball’s most prestigious awards.

We’re on to the American League Cy Young award and it’s one of the most interesting, simply because it feels like two distinct groups. The top two options — and then everybody else.

However, that’s not exactly what the betting lines suggest. Let’s take a look at the favorites, discuss where the value lies on the board and who is worth backing.

2021 AL Cy Young Award Odds

Odds taken from BetMGM, updated on September 30, 2021.

Player Odds
Gerrit Cole +500
Lance Lynn +3000
S. Ohtani +25000

Odds from BetMGM. Get up to a $600 sign-up bonus at BetMGM today or check out more offers and promo codes for the best online sportsbooks.

Favorites to Win the American League Cy Young Award 2021

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

This is one of the two people who in my mind are head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Gerrit Cole is the betting favorite to take home the award and he should be. In his last full season, he struck out 326 batters — the most by a pitcher in a single season since Randy Johnson in 1998.

He has an overpowering fastball and wipeout breaking balls. Cole was 7-3 with a 2.84 ERA and 0.959 WHIP in 73 innings. He was paid more than $300 million by the Yankees just a few years back to be the best pitcher in the game and this is going to be his first full year in pinstripes to prove that he’s exactly that. Cole has finished in the top five of Cy Young voting each of the last three years and four times since 2015.

The only downside to this bet is the ballpark he pitches in. That sounds like splitting hairs, but it’s valid in a park as small as Yankee Stadium. He’s one of the very best pitchers in the game, but to play in the most hitter-friendly park in America isn’t helpful for pitchers.

Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians

Shane Bieber is the defending American League Cy Young champion and it’s really too bad we didn’t get to see a full season of it, because he was nearly flawless every time out.

Bieber was dominant in every measurable way. He led the league in wins (8) ERA (1.63) and strikeouts (122) and had a ridiculous 0.87 WHIP over 77.1 innings. Ten of his 12 starts were quality starts and he didn’t give up more than three runs in any regular-season game.

When he is on, there might not be anybody who is more dominant. He has pinpoint accuracy and a high-90s fastball — a lethal combination. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Bieber repeats, in fact for my money, he should be the favorite.

Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox

Now, this might be the most interesting name on the entire list given where it is. Lucas Giolito, according to these odds, is just slightly less of a favorite than Bieber or Cole. That just doesn’t seem on line with what he’s shown.

When he’s truly on, he’s unhittable. He proved that last August against the Pirates when he threw his first career no-hitter while striking out a season-high 13 batters.

But he’s also never shown he can be consistent start in and start out. He’s yet to finish that last piece of the puzzle. Last year Giolito was 4-3 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.04 WHIP and in his 12 starts, gave up three or more runs five times.

There’s reason to believe he will be an All-Star this year and could make a run at a Cy Young, but at these odds, there’s no incentive to buy in right now.

Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays

Another guy with electric stuff, Tyler Glasnow had his true coming-out party and became one of the pillars of the World Series runner-up Tampa Bay Rays. The main issue with the power righty is that he hasn’t made the full transition from thrower to pitcher.

Glasnow went 5-1 last season with a 4.08 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 91 strikeouts. But what held him back was his inability to go deep in games. Counting the playoffs, Glasnow made 17 starts — he only pitched into the 6th inning or deeper in six of those.

If you’re willing to believe Glasnow has figured out how to take that next step, then this becomes a very intriguing option.

Hyun-Jin Ryu, Toronto Blue Jays

Hyun-Jin Ryu moved to the American League for the first time in his career last year, but it was obviously far from a normal season.

He will begin his first full season where he doesn’t have to bat next week and it will be interesting to see how it goes. The NL leader in ERA and Cy Young runner-up from the 2019 season, Ryu went 5-2 in 2020, with a 2.69 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.

In his final 10 starts of the season, Ryu gave up one run or fewer eight times — a major part of the reason he finished third in Cy Young voting last season.

While somewhat of a longshot, Ryu is the best value of any of the top five favorites.

Long Shot: Kenta Maeda, Minnesota Twins

If you want to take a flier on somebody off the board, look no further than Kenta Maeda, one of the most underrated pitchers in the game.

Truthfully, it’s amazing he’s still somehow underrated after finishing as the Cy Young runner-up last season.

Maeda finished in the top 10 in baseball in ERA (2.70) and went 6-1 to show for it. The Osaka, Japan native is as consistent as they come. He didn’t give up more than three runs in any of his 12 starts last season and went six or more innings nine times.

But what truly makes Maeda so dominant is his strikeout to walk ratio — which last year was an astounding 8:1. Maeda has a strikeout rate above 10 batters per nine innings and a walk rate below 1.5. Nobody else in the majors is close to being able to say that.

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What Is the Cy Young Award?

Annually given to the best pitcher in both the American and National League, the Cy Young Award is the highest achievement that a pitcher can receive in Major League Baseball.

The award has tremendous weight when deciding the overall legacy of a pitcher and is part of the process to gauge the player’s career when it comes time for Hall of Fame voting.

How Is the Cy Young Award Winner Decided?

Each Cy Young Award is voted upon by a select group of baseball writers assigned to vote in just one league. Voters assign a place for the pitchers they believe are the best for the year.

A completed ballot will have a first through fifth place vote for the voter’s top five pitchers of the season in either the American or National League.

Once all the votes are in, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America uses a weighted formula to compile the final result.

If there is a tie among two pitchers, then both players share the award, although that has never happened since the award split into two winners in 1967.

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Tony Garcia

Expert on Baseball

Tony writes about baseball for after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.