Shane McClanahan vs. Justin Verlander: Who's the Better Bet to Win Al Cy Young?

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Shane McClanahan.
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Shane McClanahan. / Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The AL Cy Young race is loaded with contenders, but two currently stand above the rest, and one is pitching on Wednesday night in the marquee matchup of Major League Baseball slate.

Tampa Bay Rays starter Shane McClanahan has pulled atop the odds board for American League Cy Young next to Astros star Justin Verlander. McClanahan is in action against the best team in baseball, the New York Yankees, and can further his claim as the most deserving for the award on Wednesday night.

Will he? Has the value diminished? Here are the updated Cy Young odds from WynnBET Sportsbook as well as thoughts on the top two on the board.

2022 AL Cy Young Odds

  • Shane McClanahan: +350
  • Justin Verlander: +350
  • Kevin Gausman: +625
  • Nestor Cortes: +800
  • Alek Manoah: +800
  • Gerrit Cole: +1000
  • Dylan Cease: +1500
  • Shohei Ohtani: +1500
  • Shane Bieber: +2200
  • Logan Gilbert: +2500
  • Tarik Skubal: +3000

Shane McClanahan Should Be Favored Over Justin Verlander

Verlander has some strong metrics thus far, but I'm curious if he will keep up his form in his first season off of Tommy John surgery and in his age-39 season. He has a 1.94 ERA, among the best in the American League, but has a FIP of 3.49, indicating that he has benefitted from some variance in the field.

On the other hand, McClanahan is second in the AL in strikeouts per 9 innings, in lockstep with Verlander in ERA and WAR and is far ahead of Verlander in FIP, posting the third best mark with 2.44.

Over time, I think we see the gap widen between the two starters on playoff teams.

Alek Manoah is Worth Bet at +800

When putting this piece together, one player continued to appear: Alek Manoah. The Blue Jays stud is tops in ERA, WAR and WHIP. While wins are not a true indicator of success (but it's nice window dressing), Manoah is tied atop the AL with Verlander with eight. It's worth noting McClanahan is at seven in a crowded field.

I actually see these three as equal and give the slight leg up to Manoah. At +800 I see his value dropping closer to the aforementioned two.