3 Best AL Cy Young Bets to Make for 2024 MLB Season (Consistent Cole Stands Out)

Breaking down the best American League Cy Young candidates in the 2024 MLB season.

Sep 27, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;  New York Yankee starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) delivers a
Sep 27, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankee starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) delivers a / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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The American League Cy Young Award is a much more wide-open race in my opinion, with the big market teams not as dominant as in the National League.

While I went with a newer name in the National League Cy Young race, here I favored a couple of veterans who have literally been there and done that, with one standing out as the favorite for a reason.

This led to multiple realistic options being left off this list of three for a variety of reasons and me settling on the three well-known arms with potential contenders below.

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Best Bets to Win American League Cy Young Award

Gerrit Cole +500

At 33, I questioned including Cole on this list due to his age, but he has defied that number with 33 starts in each of the last two seasons and at least 30 in every non-Covid shortened season dating back to 2017.

At his advanced baseball age batters slashed just .201/.224/.332 off Cole's four-seam fastball, which is still in the 90th percentile in the league at an average of 96.7 MPH.

Modern analytics mean wins and losses don't mean what they once did for pitcher's awards, but you have to admit there's something to be said for a stud that loses only four times in a full season of starts for a .500 team.

The reigning AL Cy Young Winner will likely be playing for an improved team vying for the playoffs and on the biggest stage the game has.

Realistically, it'll be tough for Cole to replicate last season's 15-4 mark, with 24 quality starts and a 2.63 ERA, but if anyone can come close he's the best candidate to do so.

Framber Valdez +1000

Valdez had a down season a year ago as he appeared to struggle with the newly instituted pitch clock, became easily and visibly frustrated with umpires and lost concentration on multiple occasions.

He was also blasted in the postseason and looked horrible in his initial spring outing.

For all his struggles, Valdez still had 20 quality starts (in 31 total starts), a remarkable number for someone who struggled and with a little more help from his teammates could have still won 15 games or more games.

Even when he's not great, he's still good and rarely roughed up, last postseason notwithstanding.

His stuff is still there, if down just a tad (Stuff+ dropped to 106 last season from 111 in 2022) and this is a bet on Valdez finding the 2022 version of his stuff.

An interesting side note is Valdez will be working with a new catcher (Yainer Diaz) this season and might call some of his pitches, which would be a fascinating development.

It may be boom or bust for the Astros star, and I'm betting on more boom than bust.

Corbin Burnes +1000

Perhaps no American League pitcher had a better offseason than Corbin Burnes who was traded from Milwaukee to the 101-win Orioles.

There he'll be surrounded by young talent and be in the middle of the pennant race, perhaps with the Yankees and all the publicity that entails.

Burnes was only 10-8 last season, but something tells me if he manages 19 quality starts again this season, his numbers will be much better.

The 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner has fallen off over the last two seasons with a notable increase in his bases-on-balls rate, but this is a contract year for the 29-year-old who will be a free agent at season's end and contract seasons have a way of bringing out the best in Major Leaguers.


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