Hello and welcome to a new MLB article that I will be posting on the first of each month with MVP and Cy Young rankings. If you missed it, the first version of this was a simple tweet, but we decided to turn it into a monthly write-up with break downs of selections. The first set of rankings was May 22 and can be seen in the tweet below. 

These rankings (as stated in the original tweet) are based on a mix of stats to date, my projected stats moving forward, team record, etc. Feel free to debate them if you want to and I will give my reasoning behind each decision. You can look to find potential value in futures bets on any sportsbook with the help of these rankings. 



1. Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves (Prev: 1) 

Stats: 56 Games, .324/.406/.554, 11 Home Runs, 23 Steals, 31 RBI, 48 Runs, 2.7 fWAR

Notes: One of my biggest regrets of the year thus far… taking Trea Turner over Acuna Jr. in fantasy leagues where I had the opportunity to do so. Acuna has been incredible. 

2. Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers (Prev: 2) 

Stats: 57 Games, .346/.420/.588, 10 Home Runs, 8 Steals, 35 RBI, 49 Runs, 2.9 fWAR

Notes: Freeman just keeps chugging along and having another Freeman-type year. He leads the NL in runs, hits, doubles, OPS, and TB. He is closing the gap on Acuna. 

3. Pete Alonso, New York Mets (Prev: NR) 

Stats: 56 Games, .238/.333/.552, 20 Home Runs, 1 Steal, 46 RBI, 39 Runs, 1.6 fWAR

Notes: Alonso didn’t make my initial rankings and I do find him to be a tough MVP-candidate to rank. He plays first base (which doesn’t help anyone for MVP talk) and he is an average defender. He also hasn’t hit for a great average and he doesn’t steal bags, but it’s hard to ignore a guy who leads the league in home runs, is 4th in RBI, and 11th in runs scored. Old school voters will eat those numbers up, and it’s also worth noting that his xBA is .280. 

4. Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals (Prev: 3) 

Stats: 55 Games, .289/.393/.512, 10 Home Runs, 7 Steals, 26 RBI, 38 Runs, 2.1 fWAR

Notes: Goldy isn’t quite matching the production he had last year, but the reigning MVP is still having another great season and we obviously know he is capable of making an MVP run. 

5. Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers (Prev: 4) 

Stats: 54 Games, .252/.358/.514, 13 Home Runs, 2 Steals, 33 RBI, 43 Runs, 2.3 fWAR

Notes: Betts was close to losing his spot to Soto, but he had a pair of homers in the final game of the month to secure it a bit more. One of the issues for Betts though, is that he is not even the best player on his own team. 

Dropped from ranks:

Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres (Prev: 5)

Honorable Mention:

Juan Soto, San Diego Padres

Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres

Sean Murphy, Atlanta Braves


NL Cy Young

1. Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves (Prev: 1) 

Stats: 11 games, 5-2 record, 2.97 ERA, 2.36 FIP, 63.2 innings, 106 strikeouts, 14.98 K/9, 2.1 fWAR. 

Notes: Strikeouts, strikeouts, and more strikeouts. His strikeout rate is ridiculous and he has the rest of the stats to make him a top contender for Cy Young at this point. 

2. Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks (Prev: 2)

Stats: 12 games, 7-2 record, 2.72 ERA, 2.09 FIP, 72.2 innings, 82 strikeouts, 10.16 K/9, 3.0 fWAR. 

Notes: Gallen has been fantastic this season and if the season ended today he would be the Cy Young, but I still lean Strider when it’s all said and done. 

3. Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies (Prev: 3)

Stats: 11 starts, 4-4 record, 3.60 ERA, 2.67 FIP, 65 innings, 76 strikeouts, 10.52 K/9, 2.3 fWAR.

Notes: Some were surprised to see him in my initial ranks but, as I stated, part of that was my projections for him moving forward. He then delivered a gem against the Atlanta Braves and showed exactly why he will be in the running at the end of the year.

4. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers (Prev: 4)

Stats: 11 games, 6-4 record, 3.32 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 62.1 innings, 75 strikeouts, 10.83 K/9, 1.6 fWAR. 

Notes: Kershaw has stumbled a bit in recent outings, and overall his stats are worse than the guys in the honorable mention section; however, the track record of Kershaw in comparison to those guys is not even in the same atmosphere. He will get back on track. 

5. Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh Pirates (Prev: 5)

Stats: 12 games, 7-1 record, 3.25 ERA, 2.86 FIP, 74.2 innings, 93 strikeouts, 11.21 K/9, 2.0 fWAR. 

Notes: The shine is starting to wear off and Keller has not pitched well recently, but he keeps his spot due to the NL lacking strong options. The AL has had far superior pitchers to this point. 

Dropped from ranks:


Honorable Mention:

Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks

Marcus Stroman, Chicago Cubs

Kodai Senga, New York Mets



1. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels (Prev: 1)

Hitting Stats: 55 Games, .269/.345/.538, 15 Home Runs, 7 Steals, 38 RBI, 33 Runs, 1.3 fWAR.

Pitching Stats: 11 starts, 5-1 record, 2.91 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 65 innings, 90 strikeouts, 12.46 K/9, 1.3 fWAR.

Notes: What more can you say? This guy will make it tough for anyone else to win MVP as long as he is in the league and doing the things that he does. Just to be clear, his total fWAR is 2.6. 

2. Aaron Judge, New York Yankees (Prev: 4)

Stats: 47 Games, .298/.410/.679, 18 Home Runs, 3 Steals, 39 RBI, 41 Runs, 2.7 fWAR

Notes: Last year’s MVP started the year a bit slow (for his standards), but he has really come on as of late. He has hit .371 with 12 home runs over his last 17 games. 

3. Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays (Prev: 3)

Stats: 55 games, .298/.362/.482, 7 Home Runs, 20 Steals, 29 RBI, 35 Runs, 2.8 fWAR

Notes: I was higher on Franco than most coming into the year and have him on a good number of teams, but even I’m shocked by him having 20 steals by the start of June. He has been running wild. 

4. Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays (Prev: 5)

Stats: 56 Games, .333/.366/.521, 11 Home Runs, 2 Steals, 38 RBI, 33 Runs, 2.4 fWAR

Notes: Bo is a hitting machine, leading the MLB in hits with 80. He also leads the AL in batting average and in TB. 

5. Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers (Prev: 2)

Stats: 55 Games, .295/.366/.485, 8 Home Runs, 7 Steals, 44 RBI, 48 Runs, 2.5 fWAR

Notes: Semien falls down the rankings, but really not too much fault of his own. He continues to play well, but others have really turned it on over the last week-plus. 

Dropped from ranks:


Honorable Mention:

Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners


AL Cy Young

1. Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays (Prev: 1) 

Stats: 12 games, 8-1 record, 2.07 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 69.2 innings, 82 strikeouts, 10.59 K/9, 1.5 fWAR. 

Notes: McClanahan just picked up his first loss of the season in his most recent start, but he still pitched very well. The FIP indicates he’s been a bit lucky, but it’s hard to argue against him for Cy Young with the stats he has produced thus far. 

2. Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees (Prev: 2) 

Stats: 12 starts, 6-0 record, 2.93 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 73.2 innings, 79 strikeouts, 9.65 K/9, 1.4 fWAR.

Notes: Cole has pitched worse than the pitchers below him and even some of the honorable mentions, but Cole falls into the world of track record + projections (similar to Wheeler already being in the 3-spot in the first edition). He finished 9th in Cy Young voting last year and that was his first time outside the top-5 in five years. His stats are still good and there’s a lot of season left. 

3. Sonny Gray, Minnesota Twins (Prev: 3) 

Stats: 11 starts, 4-0 record, 1.94 ERA, 2.19 FIP, 60.1 innings, 69 strikeouts, 10.29 K/9, 2.3 fWAR.

Notes: Gray hasn’t been as dominant in May (3.55 ERA – 28 Ks across 25.1 innings) as he was in April (0.77 ERA – 41 Ks across 35 innings), but he has still pitched very well. He did have some tough matchups in May too, facing the Dodgers, Cubs, and Giants all of which rank in the top half of runs. Not to mention the Astros as well, which were/are a much better team with Altuve back. 

4. Luis Castillo, Seattle Mariners (Prev: NR) 

Stats: 11 starts, 4-2 record, 2.69 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 63.2 innings, 76 strikeouts, 10.74 K/9, 1.9 fWAR.

Notes: Castillo has been incredible since joining the Mariners. He didn’t quite crack the originally list, but in his two starts since that list he has fired 12 shutout innings with 18 strikeouts and picking up a pair of wins. That has dropped his ERA from 3.31 to its current mark. 

5. Kevin Gausman, Toronto Blue Jays (Prev: 4) 

Stats: 11 starts, 3-3 record, 3.03 ERA, 2.53 FIP, 68.1 innings, 89 strikeouts, 11.72 K/9, 2.4 fWAR.

Notes: Gausman may have the worst ERA and record of the bunch, but his FIP, strikeout rate and fWAR are all elite. Of other potential options to have here in the 5-spot, Gausman has the biggest and best track record of them. 

Dropped from ranks:

Joe Ryan, Minnesota Twins (Prev: 5)

Honorable Mention:

Joe Ryan, Minnesota Twins

Nathan Eovaldi, Texas Rangers

Framber Valdez, Houston Astros

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels


The next release will be on July 1 and with each passing the month the picture will become more and more clear. 

For more sports betting and fantasy baseball advice, check out the latest episode of the Cash It podcast with Howard Bender & Adam Ronis