Despite his incredible performance so far, winning the Cy Young is still a longshot for Shohei Ohtani.
Shohei Ohtani faces some serious competition in the race for the AL Cy Young.
The biggest competition for Shohei Ohtani right now is the current frontrunner for the award, Shane McClanahan. Having a sophomore season for the ages, McClanahan leads the AL with a 1.77 ERA, 2.33 xERA, 2.02 xFIP, 2.20 SIERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 123 strikeouts on top of his 2.5 fWAR. Honestly, it will take a massive regression from him for anyone else to have a realistic shot at winning the Cy Young.
Beyond McClanahan, there are other young guys having breakout years too, like Alek Manoah and Dylan Cease, both of whom have Ohtani beat in ERA and xERA and are about even with him in many other categories. There’s also perennial contender Justin Verlander who continues to defy father time by putting up some of the best numbers of his career at age 39, including a 2.03 ERA.
Kevin Gausman is a major threat as well thanks to his league-leading 1.70 FIP and 3.6 fWAR, even though he only has a 2.93 ERA.
Bottom line, the 2022 AL Cy Young race is absolutely brutal.
Having said that, we’re not even halfway through the 2022 season yet. Anything can happen over the next few months. If Ohtani can continue on his current pace while a couple of the other contenders run into some trouble, be it performance or injury related, his odds of winning the Cy Young will skyrocket.
At the bare minimum, even if he doesn’t win, Shohei should be afforded the same consideration Rodon was last year and find himself on many voters’ ballots, maybe securing a top-five finish as well.
Knowing how competitive he is, coming up short this year will probably just motivate Ohtani to do even better next season.