The first half of the MLB season has come to an end and while we still have more baseball to watch, there’s been lots of talk about the Cy Young Award and who’s at odds to win. The Cy Young Award is awarded yearly to the best pitchers in both the American and National League.
Back in the 1950s, commissioner Ford Frick felt that pitchers deserved to have their own award in baseball and not to be categorized under MVP. So, in 1956 The Cy Young Award was named after half-of-fame pitcher Cy Young who passed away in 1955. So, let’s take a look at some of the predictions for this year’s Cy Young Award winner.
Mid-Season MLB Cy Young 2023 Projections
5. Sonny Gray
Sonny Gray, who plays for the Minnesota Twins, comes in as a sneaker contender for this year’s Cy Young Award winner. Sonny Gray is deserving of the Cy Young as he has put up exceptional numbers so far this season. Let’s not also forget that Sonny Gray pitched in the 2023 All-Star game and recorded a scoreless inning and two strikeouts. For the season, he has a 2.89 ERA with 101 strikeouts.
His ability to keep the ball in the ballpark has been impressive. He has proven himself worthy of the Cy Young Award by showing us consistent and quality starts. In addition, Gray also has the capability to avoid big innings in games, proven by the mere three home runs he has given up so far this season.
Listen to the full at bat as Nathan Eovaldi strikes out Sean Murphy while mic'd up 🎧 pic.twitter.com/EADkibDviM
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 12, 2023
Nathan Eovaldi is worth noting in the Cy Young Award conversation. He plays for the Texas Rangers and has posted a 2.93 ERA for the season. He has been identified as the ace for the Rangers pitching rotation.
Back in May, he was named the AL Pitcher of the Month as well as the Rangers Player of the Month. Eovaldi is one of those pitchers this year where hitters are not hitting the ball hard against him. He has also limited home runs and walks against him this season. His best weapons this year have been his curveball and his cutter.
3. Gerrit Cole
Gerrit Cole who plays for the New York Yankees is looking to be a top contender for the Cy Young Award as he came in second in 2019 and 2021. So, being a contender is nothing new for Cole. The ace for the Yankees has a 2.35 ERA with 123 strikeouts. His consistency with being in the running for the award only drives him closer in this tight race. Last season, he finished with a 20-5 record and a 2.50 ERA. He also recorded 2,000 strikeouts back in May of this year.
2. Framber Valdez
Framber Valdez, who pitches for the Houston Astros, came in fifth last year in the Cy Young voting while leading his team to the World Series. Valdez has had strong strikeout numbers this year. His ability to pitch deep into games and provide quality starts has made him a compelling choice for the award. His record of 7-6 might hurt him unless he improves his record by voting time. But he does have a strong ERA of 2.51 which is the best in the AL.
Kevin Gausman, star pitcher of the Toronto Blue Jays, has posted a 3.04 ERA with 153 strikeouts. The Jays struck gold when they signed Gausman. Gausman is second in the league in strikeouts with 153, right behind Spencer Strider with 166. Although Gausman has had a couple of dreadful starts, for the most part, he has been commanding at the mound.
Gausman has recorded 10 plus strikeouts in a game five times this season which no player has yet to do including Strider. Gausman has been very consistent this season and has been the Jays reliable guy. He puts up quality numbers as he has the highest K/9 (11.90) in the AL.
5. Blake Snell
Blake Snell, pitcher for the San Diego Padres, has recently been pitching like an All-Star. He has shown us consistency with strikeouts by having four straight starts with double-digit strikeouts. He contains a high velocity on his fastball that is known to be lethal. His recent strong starts are representing him as a dark horse contender for the award. Snell has evidently been in a consistent positive groove.
He’s made quite a comeback from April and it is something he should capitalize on. He’s recorded many double-digit strikeouts and this represents his trajectory to win. If he can carry this forward into August his odds of winning will inevitably improve.
Spender Strider, pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, leads the league in strikeouts with 166 and points for the best mustache. He has been referred to as a strikeout machine. He was dominant last season and he’s doing the same thing again this season.
He is worthy of the Cy Young based on the way he’s pounded the strike zone. Looking at the tweet below we can see how impressive Strider really is as he has shown strong numbers before entering the All-Star break.
Spencer Strider is the second player in the All-Star Era (since 1933) to strike out 160 batters and allow 80 hits or fewer entering the All-Star Break.
He joins Max Scherzer in 2017, when he went on to take home NL Cy Young honors. pic.twitter.com/BcIvJTuCWb
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 9, 2023
3. Logan Webb
Logan Webb, pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, records a 3.14 ERA with 127 strikeouts. His most recent outing showed us why he’s in line for the award. He recorded a complete game shutout beating the Colorado Rockies 1-0.
Could this shutout mean a continuous successful run for Webb? Out of all the stats that stand out for Webb, the one that stands out the most is his WAR (Wins Above Replacement) number of 3.2. It is tied for the best in the National League for pitchers with Clayton Kershaw.
2. Marcus Stroman
Marcus Stroman, pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, would love to add Cy Young to his portfolio. Back in 2017, he won the Gold Glove Award, and he also won the World Baseball Classic Most Valuable Player Award. In 2019, he won the MLB Player of the Week (Top Defensive Gem) and in 2023 he won an MLB Player of the Week Award.
Back on May 29th, he threw a complete game only allowing one hit against Tampa Bay. He then pitched against the Padres putting up another stellar performance with zero earned runs in six innings winning his fourth straight start.
1. Zac Gallen
Zac Gallen, pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks, was a starting pitcher in the 2023 All-Star game with Gerrit Cole. Since Gallen has been pitching for the Diamondbacks he has been pitching quite well. Gallen came in fifth in the Cy Young voting last season.
He is definitely a high favorite for the Cy Young Award. His success has at last stood for something, which is his team’s success in the standings. He also is tied in the NL with 11 wins.
Tight Race to Find the Ace
A strong second half will go a long way for many of our Cy Young Award contenders. All these pitchers’ journeys will be exciting to watch as it will be a tight race. Most of these pitchers are just looking to put up their best numbers in the second half of the season. It will be interesting to see who will win the Cy Young Award this season.
Main Image: Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK