Sandy Alcantara primed for another NL Cy Young
Corbin Burnes, Max Scherzer, Spencer Strider, Zac Gallen will challenge for Cy Young
Miami Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara snapped a couple of streaks last year when he won the NL Cy Young Award. The hard-throwing righthander became the first native of Latin America to win a Cy Young Award in 12 years, becoming the first since Felix Hernandez won the award in 2012.
In the National League, the drought had been longer. Alcantara was the first Latino to win the NL Cy Young in 25 years. He claimed the Cy Young 25 years after fellow Dominican Republic native Pedro Martinez won the award with the Montreal Expos in 1997.
Martinez won the first of his three Cy Young Awards in 1997, becoming the first Dominican to win that prestigious award. Bartolo Colon became the second Dominican to win the Cy Young, and Alcantara became the third in 2022.
Alcantara is one of five pitchers Our Esquina has deemed frontrunners for the 2023 NL Cy Young Award. Here are the five:
Zac Gallen, Diamondbacks
Zac Gallen finished fifth in the NL Cy Young race in 2022. He started a career high 31 games, going 12-4 with a 2.54 ERA and 192 strikeouts.
The 27-year-old Gallen the NL with a 0.91 WHIP. He also led the majors by allowing only 5.9 hits per nine innings (H/9). Gallen set the franchise record with 44 ⅓ consecutive scoreless innings at one point in the season.
He’s a dark horse to win the award, but don’t question his ability to perform with the best in baseball.
Sandy Alcantara, Marlins
Sandy Alcantara had a remarkable season last year, bringing home his first NL Cy Young award.
In 32 games, Alcantara was 14-9, 2.28 ERA, 207 strikeouts and a 178 ERA+. He posted career bests against opposing batters with a .212 batting-average and a 1.8 home run percentage.
The Dominican led the NL with six complete games. He was second among MLB starting pitchers with 228 ⅔ innings.
The Miami Marlins ace has an opportunity to be the first pitcher to win the NL Cy Young award in back-to-back seasons since Jacob deGrom did it in 2018 and 2019.
Spencer Strider, Braves
Spencer Strider introduced himself last year in incredible fashion, and I’m not just talking about his mustache. The runner-up for the NL Rookie of the Year joined the Braves’ starting rotation in late May.
In 20 starts, Strider was 11-5 with a 2.67 ERA, 202 strikeouts and a 13.8 K/9. Strider made history in his first full year in the big leagues. He became just the third rookie pitcher in Braves history to get 200 strikeouts in a single season.
Also, Strider surpassed the MLB record Randy Johnson set in 2001 as the fastest pitcher to reach 200 strikeouts in 130 innings.
Max Scherzer, Mets
In the past two years, Max Scherzer, 38, was not a part of the Cy Young race. He appears ready to put his name in that conversation again.
The three-time Cy Young winner was placed on the injured list the first half of the 2022 season due to a left oblique injury. Scherzer still started 23 games. He was 11-5 with a 2.29 ERA and 173 strikeouts.
In 145 ⅓ innings, he carried a 0.91 WHIP and a 10.7 K/9. The future Hall of Famer will look to add an NL Cy Young award to an already impressive resume.
Corbin Burnes, Brewers, wants another NL Cy Young
Corbin Burnes had a small debacle before the start of spring training with the Milwaukee Brewers. However, Burnes will demonstrate what he’s capable of this season.
The former 2021 NL Cy Young winner started 33 games, posting a 12-8 record and a 2.94 ERA in 2022. Burnes pitched a career high in innings with 202 and led the NL with 243 strikeouts.
The 28-year-old was second in the NL with a 10.8 K/9. He was just behind former San Francisco Giants pitcher Carlos Rodon and a 0.97 WHIP.
Burnes has two years left on his contract with the Brewers. He’s surely eager and motivated to get back on the mound and help the Brewers get back to the postseason.
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