The National League Cy Young race has had a slew of faces at the forefront this season and it’s shaping up to be a battle until the end of the season. Thus far, there are a few names that stick out more than others.
5. Kyle Wright, Atlanta Braves
The Braves selected Wright with the fifth pick in the 2017 MLB draft and so far he’s lived up to the expectations that come with being drafted that high. In 73.2 innings pitched, Wright’s posted a 2.57 ERA which is fifth best in the NL and has 80 strikeouts to go along with it. Out of those 80 strikeouts, 36 of them have come from his curveball which he uses almost 32% of the time.
Wright would be even higher on this list, however, after posting a sub-2 ERA in his first five starts, Wright started to unravel a bit, but has recently returned to form to keep his name in the conversation.
4. Pablo Lopez, Miami Marlins
Just a couple weeks ago it seemed as though Lopez was in the driver’s seat with a 1.83 ERA, but a pair of rough starts and his teammate, pitcher Sandy Alcantara evolving into Bob Gibson, has forced Lopez out of the top three candidates. Even so, Lopez has still been one of the best pitchers in the NL with a 2.30 ERA.
Lopez’s great start has been prompted by his changeup. So far, hitters are 16-for-105 against his changeup and have struck out 38 times. Lopez has time to crack the top three, but if Alcantara keeps trotting along like he has been, it’s hard to see a world where Lopez is in serious consideration.
3. Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers
The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is looking to become the 12th pitcher of all-time to win the award in back-to-back seasons and besides a couple of miscues, Burnes looks like his dominant self. He’s currently third in strikeouts in the MLB with 92 and has used his cutter to get the job done.
Burnes has used his cutter 666 times with batters hitting .222 against it, making it Burnes’ most devilish pitch. What’s even crazier to think is that in 2019, Burnes used his cutter just eight times the entire season. 2019 was also the worst season of Burnes’ career, but after changing up his pitch arsenal by practically eliminating his fastball, Burnes has turned into one of the best pitchers on the planet.
2. Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres
Now there’s an argument for Musgrove to be first on this list since he is currently second in the MLB in ERA at 1.50 and is 7-0 in 11 starts. However, he’s pitched in two less games and 19.1 less innings than the top guy on this list.
Musgrove is still the ace of a Padres pitching staff that is bolstering a 3.30 ERA, which is second in the NL. As long as Musgrove keeps at the same pace – unlike he did last year– he’ll be a favorite to take home his first Cy Young.
1. Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins
Simply put, Alcantara has been otherworldly since May 11. Heading into May, Alcantara carried a 1.78 ERA, but a rough outing against the Seattle Mariners and the Padres raised it to 3.03. Since then, Alcantara has lowered his ERA to the third best in the NL at 1.68, while also pitching 91.1 innings, nine more innings than the next closest pitcher.
Alcantara has been an innings eater for the Marlins, which is quite the contrast from what the bulk of the MLB is doing with starting pitching this season. If Alcantara’s stamina allows him to stay at this level, it’ll be hard for voters to deny him the award.
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