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The Wild MLB National League Cy Young Award Race

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With the AL Cy Young, there seems that there is a likely winner by the end of the season with Justin Verlander. However, the NL Cy Young is more of a toss in comparison. There are a lot of great pitchers in the National League that have had stellar performances this year. With so many great pitchers there are five real contenders that have a chance for this award.

Honorable Mention: Edwin Diaz

Diaz has been the best closer this year by far. He has saved the Mets multiple times this year by shutting down opposing teams late in games. With 28 saves in 49 games appeared making him one of the most consistent closers in the league. With a 1.46 earned run average in 49.1 innings pitched ranking him one of the best out there. One of the things that hurt his chances is being a closing pitcher and not getting the innings necessary to win this award. And with only four relief pitchers winning the Cy Young award in the past 35 years the likelihood of him winning is it is very low.

5. Max Scherzer

Scherzer has been the ace of the Mets staff this year while Jacob DeGrom was on the injured list. Even though he has had a stint on the injured list himself it has not hindered him to pitch unbelievably. And as the season comes to an end, he can have some memorable moments including possibly shutting down the Yankees this week. This season he is 9-2, with a 2.15 earned run average and 134 strikeouts.  The reason why he would be fifth is because of the number of innings that he has pitched this year. He only has pitched 109 innings this year because of being on the injured list for nearly seven weeks with an oblique strain. However, he has more starts coming up to make a better case for him winning the Cy Young award as the Mets charge for the playoffs.

4. Max Fried

Fried has had a great year with the World Series-winning Braves this season. The 28-year-old has a 2.60 earned run average in 145.1 innings. He has been the undoubted ace of this staff as Charlie Morton has struggled this year. With an 11-4 record this season in 23 games started with a 2.60 earned run average and 133 strikeouts. He also has a win above replacement of 4.9  which ranks second out of these candidates. The Braves are pushing for another World Series, and it will be vital for him to stay healthy as they try and chase down the Mets. The one thing that could hold Fried back from winning the Cy Young is the competition that is in front of him.

3. Corbin Burnes

Burnes has been a resident candidate for the Cy Young award for the past three years and won one in 2021. Again, Burnes is showing why he is the best pitcher in baseball by having another terrific season in 2022. This year he has a 9-5 record with a 2.48 earned run average in 148.2 innings pitched. He leads the league in strikeouts so far with 187. His 2.48 earned run average ranks fourth in the National League and seventh overall. Burnes could have an even better season than he did last year with having a better-earned run average and strikeouts. But what hurts his chances of going back-to-back is the two pitchers ahead of him that are having fantastic seasons that will be hard to beat.

2. Sandy Alcantara

Alcantara is having a fantastic sixth season in the majors. For Miami, there are not a lot of bright spots for this team, but Alcantara can win the Cy Young Award. He leads the league in games started with 25 and the most innings with 176.2. In addition, he leads the league with three complete games and one complete game shutout.  With an 11-6 record and a 2.19 earned run average, he is a starter who has someone who can shut down any team. He ranks second among earned run average in the National League and fourth overall. With 157 strikeouts he ranks tenth among starters in the league puts him ahead of many of his counterparts. One of the things that hurt his chances of getting a chance to win the National League-best pitcher is the team that surrounds him. An 11-6 record is solid but the pitcher that leads the candidates has an insane record that no one can match.  

1. Tony Gonsolin

Gonsolin has had an amazing season that people would not really think he would have.  In four years with the Dodgers, he has not had many opportunities to be a consistent starter due to the pandemic and injury. However, this year he has shown how dominant he could be with a 15-1 record with a 2.12 earned run average which ranks second overall and first in the national league. His 15 wins lead the league by a significant amount. With only 113 strikeouts which ranks in the middle of the pack compared to other Cy Young award candidates, he does hold hitters to a .169 batting average. With stars like Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw going down with injuries throughout the season, Gonsolin has stepped in and has the ace on the staff till they are healthy. What hurts his chances is the lack of innings that he has pitched this year which could hurt his chances. However, with his dominant performances, it will be hard to argue against his stellar numbers.

All in all, compared to the American League the National League Cy Young race is much more competitive with multiple pitchers having a great chance to win the award as the season comes to an end. Right now, Gonsolin has the upper hand due to having a great record, earned run average, and batting average against so far. But with about 40 games left in the season, it gives these starters a few more opportunities to solidify their cases as the best pitchers in the National League.

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Justin Oosterwyk has been a writer for Overtime Heroics for the past year. He has been focusing on the Los Angeles Angels but has also written other Major League baseball articles. His favorite team is the New York Yankees, and his favorite player of all time is Mark Teixeira.

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