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Cy Young rankings: AL race heats up, Phillies duo dominating NL

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Welcome to the second edition of theScore's 2024 Cy Young rankings, where we look at the top five pitchers in each league. The contenders are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack after almost three months of action. Who's been best on the mound so far? Odds courtesy of theScore Bet.

American League

5. Luis Gil, Yankees

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75 2.04 3.04 90 0.93 +1800

Gil, one of the AL Rookie of the Year front-runners, has pitched well enough to also enter the Cy Young conversation. The 26-year-old sits third in the AL in ERA, fourth in WHIP, and fifth in strikeouts while holding opponents to an MLB-low .137 batting average. He's pitched at least six innings while allowing one or fewer earned runs in seven of his last eight starts. He set a Yankees rookie record with 14 strikeouts (in just six innings of work) during a start last month. Gil's been the unexpected rock of the Yankees' rotation during Gerrit Cole's absence and will form one heck of a duo with the reigning AL Cy Young winner down the stretch.

4. Cole Ragans, Royals

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79 3.08 2.30 98 1.15 +1300

One of many breakout stars on the surprising Royals, Ragans - acquired from the Rangers for Aroldis Chapman last June - is becoming a true ace. The 26-year-old southpaw sits second in the AL in strikeouts and third in FIP, K/9 (11.2), and fWAR (2.6) while allowing a mere four homers in 79 innings. Ragans ranks in the 90th percentile of whiff percentage and the 88th in K percentage, thanks in large part to a commanding fastball that opponents have hit a mere .177 against. He's showing no signs of slowing down, and that's great news for the Royals in both the short and long term.

3. Garrett Crochet, White Sox

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75.2 3.33 2.75 103 0.92 +3000

Crochet is the only reason to watch the otherwise awful White Sox. The AL strikeout leader owns the majors' best K/9 rate (12.3) and is the only Junior Circuit pitcher with over 100 strikes. He also sits third in the AL in WHIP, fourth in fWAR (2.3), and fifth in FIP while issuing only 17 walks in 75 2/3 innings. His high ERA is largely due to a couple rough starts in April; since May 1, Crochet's put up a 1.10 ERA and allowed just two homers. Not bad for a guy who entered this season having never made a start in the majors.

2. Tanner Houck, Red Sox

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85 1.91 2.21 84 0.92 +1400

The AL leader in both ERA and fWAR (2.9), Houck's dominant pitching has essentially kept the Red Sox afloat. He's becoming a modern workhorse, throwing at least six innings in 11 of his 13 starts and sitting fifth in innings pitched. He's controlling the plate with ease, sporting a 1.6 BB/9 rate with only two homers allowed. Perhaps most amazingly, Houck's doing all this without striking guys out - his 8.8 K/9 rate ranks 14th - or lighting up the radar. Only one of Houck's four pitches, his sinker, averages above 90 mph in velocity. It's certainly against the norm for 2024, but you can't argue with the results. Houck's clearly one of the AL's top two pitchers this year.

1. Tarik Skubal, Tigers

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79.2 1.92 2.18 96 0.89 +120

Skubal's done just enough to leapfrog Houck for top spot. The Tigers ace leads his league in WHIP and FIP while sitting second in fWAR (2.7), third in strikeouts, fourth in K/9 (10.8), and top 10 in BB/9 (1.7). Skubal's been enormously effective with all five of his pitches, allowing him to toy with hitters as he sees fit. After heating things up with his electric fastball and splitter, he can quickly buckle some knees by unleashing some slow and devastating changeups or sliders, along with the occasional knuckle-curve. While it's shaping up to be a very tight race in the AL, right now, Skubal's ahead by a hair, and he seems ready to try and pull away.

Apologies to: Yusei Kikuchi (TOR), Jack Flaherty (DET), Corbin Burnes (BAL), Seth Lugo (KC)

National League

5. Shota Imanaga, Cubs

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69 1.96 2.85 72 1.03 +700

Imanaga's ERA is no longer below one, but make no mistake: he's still dominating. "The Throwing Philosopher" has allowed more than two earned runs just once this season, giving up seven against the Brewers on May 29. That's the only reason his ERA's "inflated" to 1.96, which still sits second in the NL. Imanaga's only striking out 9.4 batters per nine but is countering that by issuing almost no walks and keeping the homers to a minimum (only seven allowed). The crafty lefty also places top 10 in virtually every important category. The Cubs have gone 10-2 when he starts, and it's easy to see why.

4. Chris Sale, Braves

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74.2 3.01 2.32 92 0.94 +900

Sales' trade to the Braves seems to have been exactly what he needed. The 35-year-old is looking much more like his pre-surgery self. He leads the NL in FIP, BB/9 (1.3), and K/BB ratio (8.36), sits third in WHIP, is tied for fifth in strikeouts and second in fWAR (2.3), and has allowed only six home runs. Sale's allowed two or fewer runs in nine of his 12 starts and is returning to his workhorse form by throwing at least seven innings on seven occasions this year. His ERA would also be much lower if not for one unfortunate outing against the Athletics two weeks ago. Sale's reminding everyone just how awesome he is when healthy, and it's great to see.

3. Zack Wheeler, Phillies

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87.2 2.16 2.89 95 0.94 +185

Wheeler's now taking a back seat to his own teammate in these rankings, but that shouldn't diminish how great he's been. He's tied for the NL fWAR lead (2.5), sits second in WHIP, and third in ERA and strikeouts (95) while racking up three 10-K starts. He's once again proving to be a workhorse, sitting tied for the MLB lead with 11 quality starts and second on the NL innings leaderboard. What's helping to hold him down in the Cy Young race is a light spike in walks. His 2.8 BB/9 rate is up nearly one full batter from last year and is his highest since 2017 - but that's also nitpicking a bit, because Wheeler's obviously one of the three best hurlers in the NL. The only direction he can possibly go in these rankings is up.

2. Tyler Glasnow, Dodgers

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86 3.24 2.79 116 0.94 +700

High ERA aside, Glasnow's been everything the Dodgers hoped for when they acquired him in the offseason. He's blowing hitters away, leading the majors in strikeouts and the NL in K/9 (12.1) while also placing fourth in WHIP, tied for second in fWAR (2.3), and third in both innings pitched - a huge accomplishment given his injury history - and opponent's average (.183). His five starts with 10-plus strikeouts are also tops in the majors. While his 10 home runs allowed are concerning and keeping him out of the No. 1 spot, it's hard to ignore the strikeouts and electricity he brings to the mound every five days. As long as he remains healthy, Glasnow is poised to be in the top three all summer.

1. Ranger Suárez, Phillies

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79.2 1.81 2.61 85 0.85 +600

A long shot at the start of the year, Suárez is now threatening to pull away from the pack. Through 13 starts, he leads the NL in WHIP, fWAR (tied with Wheeler at 2.5), wins (10), and ERA+ (222), while his .181 opponent's average is three points behind Wheeler for the league lead. He also owns the majors' lowest ERA and sits top 10 in most other important categories. Suárez has dropped his walk rate by almost two batters from last year while surrendering only five homers in 79 2/3 innings. He keeps hitters off-balance with a wide variety of off-speed pitches but can still regularly pump some gas above 90 mph with his four-seam fastball and sinker. Suárez has been the NL's best all-around pitcher so far, and it's not close.

Apologies to: Logan Webb (SF), Yoshinobu Yamamoto (LAD), Cristopher Sánchez (PHI), Dylan Cease (SD)

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