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  • Ethan Semendinger

My IBWAA Ballot: NL Cy Young

It's awards week! Today we continue with the NL Cy Young and the BBWAA/IBWAA nominees!


As is standard with the IBWAA, each voter was allowed a Top-5 vote for the Cy Young. The 1st place player receives 7 points, 2nd place gets 4 points, 3rd place gets 3 points, 4th place gets 2 points, and 5th place gets 1 point.

 

5th Place: Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres)

Statistics: 30 Games (30 Games Started), 16-8 Record (.667 WP%), 3.10 ERA (121 ERA+), 194.2 Innings, 148 Hits, 37 Walks, 0.950 WHIP, 197 Strikeouts, 3.31 FIP, +4.5 bWAR/+4.2 fWAR

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A player who has come close to winning a Cy Young Award twice before in his career (he finished 2nd in 2013 with the Rangers and 2nd in 2020 with the Padres), this past season wasn't his best, but still tops in the league. Darvish gets a lot of credit from me for his near 200 innings pitched (6th in the NL), very good ERA (11th in the NL), and number of strikeouts (6th in the NL).


Set to become a free agent after the 2023 season (he'll be signing as a 37 year old then), it will be interesting to see if he can hold onto this type of performance as he likely goes for one more MLB payday or if he follows Masahiro Tanaka and spends his last few good years in the NPB.

 

4th Place: Kyle Wright (Atlanta Braves)

Statistics: 30 Games (30 Games Started), 21-5 Record (.808 WP%), 3.19 ERA (127 ERA+), 180.1 Innings, 156 Hits, 53 Walks, 1.159 WHIP, 174 Strikeouts, 3.58 FIP, +3.6 bWAR/+2.9 fWAR

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The National League leader for pitching wins from this past season, Kyle Wright was amazing in his first real season of work. While he did make his MLB debut in 2018, he had yet to pass 40 innings in any season up to this point and he impressed when he finally was healthy and able to accumulate some time on the mound. His WAR from both BaseballReference and Fangraphs is a bit lower than I would expect when his overall numbers, but while he did have an amazing season, there are enough numbers to look at (mainly WHIP and FIP) which are a bit closer to average.


With Spencer Strider also making a huge impact in the rotation for the Braves, and if Wright can keep up this level of work we may be seeing a new trio of pitchers in Atlanta that could be the next coming of Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz.

 

3rd Place: Carlos Rodon (San Francisco Giants)

Statistics: 31 Games (31 Games Started), 14-8 Record (.636 WP%), 2.88 ERA (140 ERA+), 178.0 Innings, 131 Hits, 52 Walks, 1.028 WHIP, 237 Strikeouts, 2.25 FIP, +5.4 bWAR/+6.2 fWAR

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The 2022 season for Carlos Rodon is going to get him paid. After a fantastic year in 2021 which showcased the best numbers in his career, the highlight against Rodon (and why he finished 5th in NL Cy Young voting) was because he only pitched 132.2 innings. This year, Rodon passed the 175 innings pitched mark and did so with numbers that were still very good.


A sub-3.00 ERA, over 200 strikeouts, a near 1.000 WHIP, and an MLB best FIP and K/9 rate (12.0) are all very telling about how well he pitched. This was a contract year for Rodon, and it will be interesting to see how teams approach him after a career high in innings pitched and strikeouts (and FIP...is that sustainable?) as he enters into his age-30 season for 2023. Regardless, his 2022 season was great.

 

2nd Place: Julio Urias (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Statistics: 31 Games (31 Games Started), 17-7 Record (.708 WP%), 2.16 ERA (194 ERA+), 175.0 Innings, 127 Hits, 41 Walks, 0.960 WHIP, 166 Strikeouts, 3.71 FIP, +4.9 bWAR/+3.2 fWAR

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Last year's NL (and MLB) leader for Wins and Winning percentage, Julio Urias has made sure the past two seasons to show why the Dodgers were wiling to bring him up as a 19-year-old in 2016. Believe it or not, Urias has pitched in the MLB for (parts of) 7 seasons now. His 2022 season was his age-25th and he's set to become a free agent after this season. He will be a big name on the free agent market (if the Dodgers don't lock him up) next year.


Speaking about 2022 though, Urias had the NL's best ERA and ERA+ while working over exactly 175 innings. He pitched to a 2.16 ERA and did so, remarkably, without much press about him. He carried a sub-3.00 ERA through all but 2 starts from May until the end of the year and yet I heard very little about Urias around the league. It wasn't like he only had a fantastic August/September to "fix" his stats, but it was an all-around under-the-radar great season. Like I said, next season and into the offseason will be crazy when people start really looking at what he has done and how much he could command at the table as a free agent, 27-year-old starting pitcher.

 

1st Place: Sandy Alcantara (Miami Marlins)

Statistics: 32 Games (32 Games Started), 14-9 Record (.609 WP%), 2.28 ERA (178 ERA+), 228.2 Innings, 174 Hits, 50 Walks, 0.980 WHIP, 207 Strikeouts, 2.99 FIP, +8.1 bWAR/+5.7 fWAR

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By far, and by no stretch of the imagination, Sandy Alcantara is and will be the NL Cy Young award winner. Credit to the Miami Marlins for locking him up going into this season on a 5/$56 Million contract right before he really showcased his stuff. If there is anybody in the league right now who can be called a "workhorse" it's Alcantara. In the past 3 full seasons, he's pitched an average of 210 innings and from each he's continued to drop his ERA lower and lower.


He put up the 2nd best NL ERA, with the most innings pitched (by 23 innings, mind you!), crossed the 200 strikeout mark (4th most in the NL), and had 6 complete games with a shutout. That type of work is nearly unheard of in the modern era of baseball. His lack of selling out only to get the strikeout says a lot about how he's a pitcher not a thrower, and my goodness he proved something else this year. No doubt about, he's as close to a unanimous lock as there can be.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Max Fried (Atlanta Braves) - 2.48 ERA (164 ERA+), 185.1 IP, 170 K's

Corbin Burnes (Milwaukee Brewers) - 2.94 ERA (134 ERA+), 202.0 IP, 243 K's

Zac Gallen (Arizona Diamondbacks) - 2.54 ERA (158 ERA+), 184.0 IP, 192 K's

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And a quick shoutout to these following 3 pitchers (who were close to my list):


Max Fried- the NL pitchers gold glove winner- had a great season on the mound (arguably the best on a competitive Braves team) with a sub 2.50 ERA and good overall numbers.


Corbin Burnes led the National League in strikeouts from this past season while looking to defend his 2021 Cy Young award. He also had great numbers, but he did sacrifice getting strikeouts for allowing a bit too many home runs.


Zac Gallen put up the NL's best WHIP and finally showed that he can live up to the expectations that people have had on him for the past few years. I heard his name as an under-the-radar pitcher to watch constantly and he showed up this year over a full seasons worth of work.

 

Cy Young Award Finalists:

Nominations were announced at 6:00 PM on MLB Network on Monday for all the major awards. Here are the nominees for the BBWAA and IBWAA!


BBWAA:

American League: Dylan Cease, Alek Manoah, Justin Verlander

National League: Sandy Alcantara, Max Fried, Julio Urias,


IBWAA:

American League: Dylan Cease, Shohei Ohtani, Justin Verlander

National League: Sandy Alcantara, Max Fried, Julio Urias

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