Justin Verlander, Corbin Burnes Lead Cy Young Award Poll

With so many pitchers delivering dominant results early on, picking the Cy Young Award frontrunners is no easy feat, but we asked a panel of MLB.com voters to do just that.

In our first Cy Young poll of the season, 70 participants submitted their top five Cy candidates in each competition based on what’s happened so far and what they expect to happen in the coming months. Pitchers were awarded voting points on a scale of 5-4-3-2-1 — five points for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote, and so on. Here are the results. (All stats are through Tuesday.)

1) Justin Verlander, Astros (30 votes for first place)
After missing most of 2020 and all of 2021, Verlander has returned from Tommy John surgery at age 39 and looks very much like the pitcher who won the AL Cy Young Award three years ago. The righthander threw five scoreless innings against the Nationals on Sunday and improved to 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA and an MLB-leading 0.68 WHIP to 45 2/3 innings. Verlander has only allowed 22 hits, 17 of which are singles. Just a remarkable comeback story for an all-time great.

2) Kevin Gausman, Blue Jays (23 votes for first place)
The Blue Jays lost last year’s AL Cy Young winner, Robbie Ray, to the Mariners in free agency, but replaced him with Gausman, who joined Toronto on a five-year $110 million contract. So far, so good, since Gausman looked like a legit Cy contender in every way. The 31-year old struckout 45 batters before making his first walk in a Toronto uniform and started Wednesday with a 2.40 ERA and a 54-to-2 K/BB ratio over 45 innings this season.

3) Nestor Cortes, Yankees (11 votes for first place)
Gerrit Cole is said to be the Yankees’ biggest Cy contender, but he has been overtaken by Cortes. In his third stint with the organization, the lefthander has become an unlikely ace, with an AL-leading 1.35 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 40 innings.

4) Alek Manoah, Blue Jays (1 vote for first place)
Manoah, one of the top rookie arms of last season, confirms himself as an elite starter in Year 2. The righty has posted a 1.71 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP to seven starts this season, what a great one- two-combination poses with Gausman atop the Toronto rotation.

5) Shane McClanahan, Rays (4 votes for first place)
Like Manoah, McClanahan made an impressive jump in his sophomore season, throwing to a 2.33 ERA, striking out 65 in 46 1/3 innings in his first eight starts. The 25-year-old southpaw is one of the hardest throwing starting pitchers in the game, but the driving force behind his success is his performance on non-fastballs. Using a much improved change-up, McClanahan has kept his opponents at a .121 average and amassed 54 K’s in 116 at bats ending on breaking and offspeed pitches.

Others who receive votes: Dylan Cease, Gerrit Cole, Logan Gilbert (1 vote in first place), Michael Kopech, Shohei Ohtani, Joe Ryan, Tarik Skubal, Paul Blackburn, Michael Lorenzen, Martín Pérez, Zack Greinke, Jameson Taillon, Shane Bieber, Frankie Montas, Jordan Romano, Garrett Whitlock

1) Corbin Burnes, Brewers (23 votes for first place)
Only 11 pitchers have won a Cy Young in consecutive seasons, but Burnes has a good shot at finishing 12th. The Brewers have rightly followed last year’s dominant Cy-winning campaign with a sparkling 1.77 ERA, a 0.79 WHIP and a 57-to-8 K/BB ratio over his first 45 2/3 innings. Burnes, in fact, took the second most first-place vote of all NL contenders in our poll, but the points he gained out of all second-to-fifth votes he received put him over the top.

2) Pablo López, Marlins (30 votes for first place)
The Marlins are one of three teams, along with the Rangers and Rockies, that have never had a Cy Young winner, but with the way López throws, the drought in Miami may end in 2022. starting with an MLB-leading 1.05 ERA and 46 K’s over 43 innings, receiving more first place votes than any other NL pitcher.

3) Max Scherzer, Mets (9 votes in first place)
This is a familiar spot for Scherzer, who has finished fifth or better in his league’s Cy Young race in eight of the past nine seasons, winning three times in that span. Our constituents appreciate his chances of staying in the NL race again in 2022, his first year with the Mets after signing a historic three-year $130 million contract. In his first seven starts with New York, the 37-year-old registered a 2.66 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 55 strikeouts in 44 innings – though he retired in the sixth inning from Wednesday’s start with left side discomfort.

4) Carlos Rodón, Giants (5 votes for first place)
Rodón’s rough start against the Cardinals on Sunday night put a dent in his numbers, but he clearly made a strong impression on our panel with his dominance over his first six starts. The lefthander, who signed with San Francisco offseason to replace Gausman in the team’s rotation, came into the outing on Sunday with an ERA of 1.80 and 53 K’s in 35 innings.

5) Joe Musgrove, Padres
With a breakout season in 2021, Musgrove (2.20 ERA) was even better this year, and our voters have noticed. Musgrove tosses his electric slider as many times as he has in every season since his rookie year in 2016, and he has recorded one of the highest chase rates in MLB, leading to plenty of weak contact and contributing to his personal best of 7.83 K/BB ratio over 45 turns.

Others who receive votes: Walker Buehler (2 votes for first place), Miles Mikolas, Merrill Kelly, Chris Bassitt, Josh Hader (1 votes for first place), Max Fried, Zac Gallen, Sandy Alcantara, Kyle Wright, Clayton Kershaw, José Quintana, Logan Webb, Eric Lauer, Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler

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