AL Cy Young Odds: Corbin Burnes Is the New Favorite Following Gerrit Cole's Injury

Scott Edwards Jr.
Scott Edwards Jr.@ScottEdwardsJr

Before the 2024 MLB season has even started, the odds for the American League Cy Young have already dramatically changed.

Reigning AL Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole injured his throwing elbow in Spring Training, meaning that he will not be starting the new season on time. The good news for him is that he's likely avoided Tommy John surgery, but the bad news is that he's unlikely to make the necessary amount of starts to come close to winning the AL Cy Young.

That brings us to the rest of the field, which has no clear frontrunner with Cole out of the picture.

Let's dive into the AL Cy Young odds via the MLB odds on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Note: Projections via FanGraphs

AL Cy Young Odds

AL Cy Young Odds
Corbin Burnes+800
Luis Castillo+850
Pablo Lopez+850
Kevin Gausman+900
Tarik Skubal+1000
Framber Valdez+1100
George Kirby+1200
View Full Table

Corbin Burnes, Orioles (+800)

It only feels right that the former National League Cy Young is the new favorite with Cole out of commission.

Corbin Burnes is coming over to the Baltimore Orioles to be their ace after they went out to acquire him from the Milwaukee Brewers in the offseason. The résumé speaks for itself with Burnes. Winning the NL Cy Young happened just two years ago in the 2021 season -- when he finished with a 2.61 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA), 2.43 ERA, 2.00 ERA, and a 7.5 fWAR. In 2022, he followed up with another impressive campaign by finishing with a 2.91 SIERA, 2.94 ERA, and 4.6 fWAR.

Of course, last season is what matters the most in this conversation, with it being the most recent numbers to go off of. The 2023 campaign wasn't the same banner year for Burnes, but he was still pretty good when it was all said and done. He was 22nd in SIERA (4.02), 18th in strikeout rate (25.5%), and 14th in ERA (3.39) amongst starters. It was a good season, but not the level of great we've become accustomed to.

With Adley Rutschman behind the plate and a new team around Burnes, there's a good chance he will be in the Cy Young conversation in his first season with Baltimore. He'll also benefit from Camden Yards being a slightly less homer-friendly park than Miller Park, per Statcast's 2023 Park Factors.

Luis Castillo, Mariners (+850)

As the leader of the Seattle Mariners' big three in the rotation, Luis Castillo deserves respect as he pursues his first Cy Young win.

Castillo finished fifth in the AL Cy Young voting last season -- his first full campaign with the Mariners. His rankings in the majors included 14th with a 3.74 SIERA, 8th in strikeout rate (27.3%), and 12th with a 3.34 ERA. Those are all respectable numbers for a guy who usually delivered every fifth day for his team.

Entering his age 31 season, the righty is in the prime of his career. That has been showcased in his time with Seattle. In 34 starts since coming over via trade, Castillo is 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA while averaging 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings. That's the type of line that can make Castillo a Cy Young winner, giving him some legitimacy in this market ahead of the 2024 campaign.

Pablo Lopez, Twins (+850)

Pablo Lopez has always been a solid pitcher, but the Minnesota Twins' ace is getting a lot of respect in the odds to start 2024.

Over his career, Lopez has put together a 3.86 ERA, 3.65 FIP, and 3.77 SIERA. Everything about Lopez has been consistent, and as we saw last year in his first season in Minnesota, there's certainly room to be even better.

Lopez posted a 3.66 ERA (23rd), 3.37 SIERA (5th), 3.33 FIP (11th), and 29.2% strikeout rate (5th) a season ago. By the advanced stats, he was one of the game's elite hurlers. If he can mirror statistics like that in 2024 and also get some better ERA luck this time around, he should be comfortably in the running for the AL Cy Young award when the season comes to an end.

FanGraphs' projections expect Lopez to be better, giving him a 3.59 ERA, 3.50 FIP, and 26.6% strikeout rate in 2024. If he's able to land anywhere near these, he will be a major player in this market.

Kevin Gausman, Blue Jays (+900)

Kevin Gausman has been tremendous since joining the Toronto Blue Jays in 2022. Why should we expect anything less in 2024?

Of those outside of the top five in betting odds, no option may be better to bet on than Gausman.

The 33-year-old has been comfortably in the Cy Young race for three straight seasons. He finished in sixth for the NL Cy Young voting in 2021, ninth in the AL Cy Young voting in 2022, and had his best finish last year by coming in third. He's continued to be among the best pitchers in baseball, and 2024 looks like a year he could take home the hardware.

Gausman was an advanced-stats darling in 2023, finishing top five in SIERA (3.34), strikeout rate (31.1%), FIP (2.97), and xFIP (3.34). Sometimes a guy is just a stud on the mound, and that's all Gausman has been.

FanGraphs, however, expects some negative regression from the righty, projecting him for his highest ERA since 2020 (3.45), lowest strikeout rate since 2019 (27.1%), and his worst FIP since 2019 (3.49). But even if his numbers dip a little in the 2024 campaign, it can still be enough to take home the Cy Young award with how the field is looking following the injury to Cole.

Tarik Skubal, Tigers (+1000)

Maybe no name I'm writing up should carry more excitement into 2024 than Tarik Skubal.

The Detroit Tigers may not have many bright spots these days, but Skubal is one of them. Injuries shortened Skubal's 2023, but what he was able to produce in limited time was incredible. Over 15 starts, Skubal pitched his way to a 2.77 SIERA, 2.00 FIP, 2.56 xFIP, and an insane 32.9% strikeout rate.

With those stats, he would have led the majors in every category except for strikeout rate last season -- which he would have been the second-best clip. Now, we can never assume what the other half of his season would have looked like, but Skubal clearly brings a lot of upside to the table.

Spring Training doesn't mean much, but he's dominated there, as well, with a 50.0% strikeout rate and 1.05 FIP while giving up no runs through five innings.

Projections -- per FanGraphs -- have Skubal finishing this upcoming season with a 3.47 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 27.0% strikeout rate, and 3.7 fWAR. The projections give a reminder to temper expectations, but there's so much potential here for the 27-year-old, making him a worthy consideration to bet on for the new year.

It's pretty easy to like him at these +1000 odds.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.