The Major League Baseball season has about seven weeks left to it, and the action on the diamond has been extremely exciting all season long, but it has really ramped up since the All-Star break. With the trade deadline passed and teams battling for playoff spots, it has opened the door for a lot of exciting games each and every night.
The excitement is not only on the outcomes of games but on the performances of players. This includes for the pitchers in the National League, as there is a group who are battling for the Cy Young Award.
There are a number of great candidates, but trying to figure out how voters will make their choice can be difficult. Based upon pure numbers, Miami Marlins Sandy Alcantara looks like he will clearly be the winner, but there are many voters out there who may not want to cast their vote for a pitcher whose team is ranked 4th in the NL East and will not even make the postseason.
That will be a determining factor for many voters. They want to go with the pitcher to a postseason berth if not a division title. That puts other candidates at the top of the charts even if their numbers are not as impressive. What will also matter is how well a pitcher performs down the stretch.
A pitcher like Corbin Burnes can really boost his resume if he leads the Brewers out of the NL Central and into the playoffs with a spectacular stretch run where he posts an ERA around 2.00 and was able to win the vast majority of his games. Those are the kinds of things that catch the eye of a voter, boosting the image of that candidate as a true Cy Young Award winner.
These are the kinds of things to be watching for down the stretch, and here is a look at the likely top five candidates for the National League Cy Young Award.
2022 NL Cy Young Odds
NL CY YOUNG HANDICAPPING
Sandy Alcantara (-275), Miami Marlins
If you were talking solely about numbers, there is no denying that the Marlins ace is the guy. At the time this article was written, Alcantara led the National League with a 2.01 ERA and had an impressive 0.95 WHIP and a .198 opponent batting average. He has pitched 166.0 innings, which is also tops in the league and not by just a little. He has a 14-inning advantage over the next closest pitcher.
The fact that he is 10-5 on a club that is 14 games under .500 is even more impressive. However, Miami is going to get nowhere near the playoffs. That is going to hurt him. What will help is the fact that many of the other top candidates have not looked great lately. Some may ignore the fact that his team has a losing record and go with the guy who clearly set himself apart.
Tony Gonsolin (+2800), Los Angeles Dodgers
It is surprising that the Dodgers righty is not given more respect by oddsmakers. He leads the National League in victories (14) and is second in ERA at 2.24. Plus, his WHIP (0.89) and opponent batting average (.173) are even better than Alcantara. He can state his claim to being the top pitcher in the National League, and few could contest that.
It doesn’t hurt that he started out the season with 11 straight victories, but had a bit of a hiccup in July where he lost his first game of the season in a stretch of three games where he gave up 12 earned runs in 16.0 innings. However, he has been extremely impressive in the first two weeks of August, allowing one run in 11.2 innings.
Max Fried (+1600), Atlanta Braves
Sad to say, but Fried may have hurt his chances for the award when he gave up four runs in six innings against the New York Mets on August 6. This was a golden opportunity to showcase his talent against the top team in the division, giving Atlanta an opportunity to cut into the Mets lead, but he struggled instead. Plus, his ERA (2.60) is very good, but that is a half run more than Alcantara and his WHIP (1.08) and opponent batting average (.237) are not nearly as impressive.
Corbin Burnes (+750), Milwaukee Brewers
The likelihood of Burnes winning this award is going to be completely dependent upon what he does in the final month and a half of the season. Burnes has an impressive ERA (2.39), but an 8-5 record in 23 starts is going to give some voters caution.
That he is only been able to earn the victory in eight of his 23 starts either means that he is not staying around long enough in games to earn victories or simply is not delivering at critical times. The WHIP (0.92) and opponent batting average (.182) is extremely impressive, but his team must win the division and he must be a critical reason why they do for him to have a chance.
Joe Musgrove (+2800), San Diego Padres
Musgrove is in the same boat as Burnes. He is 8-5 in his first 20 starts with a 2.91 ERA. His WHIP (1.02) and opponent batting average (.216) are solid. However, that win total is hurting him. He needs to have much better numbers than that, but he has the same opportunity as Burnes to improve his standing.
San Diego is battling for one of those final wildcard spots, holding the third spot at the time of this writing. Let him put together a six-win stretch over the final seven weeks with an ERA around 2.00 and he is going to earn some votes.
Who Will Win the NL Cy Young Award?
The sentimental favorite is going to be Alcantara. There is no denying that his numbers are incredibly impressive, especially considering that he is playing for a team with no media exposure and very little to play for each night. However, the reality is that the numbers for Gonsolin are even more impressive.
Both are in the top two in most categories, but Gonsolin has been a key reason why the Dodgers have the top record in baseball, despite having a number of their other starters who have been out for prolonged periods, including even losing some for the entire season. Take the Dodgers hurler to win this award.