The Cy Young award is one of the most coveted individual honors in sports. The award goes to the best pitchers in baseball. It represents pitching excellence. Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, and Bob Gibson are some of the venerated pitchers who won the Cy Young award. This year, the race is as competitive as ever.
The National League boasts a stack of talented pitchers that will battle for great honor. It is time to assess the contenders for this year’s NL Cy Young award.
Jacob deGrom – The Favourite
Jacob DeGrom is a pitching beast. The New York Met started this season in phenomenal style. In April, DeGrom created a pitching masterpiece as he threw gem after gem. It was a pitching tapestry as DeGrom twirled two 14 strikeout games and then followed it up with a complete-game shutout with 15 strikeouts against Washington.
DeGrom’s numbers are just as eye-watering as his performances. Forty innings pitched with 65 strikeouts and an ERA of 0.68. DeGrom is unhittable. The big issue came when the Mets placed him on IL last Sunday.
The Mets claimed it was a minor issue, but it is something to monitor when DeGrom comes back. 63.8% of DeGrom’s pitches are the four-seam fastball. He is pounding the zone at 98 mph and blowing batters away. If DeGrom comes back throwing that level of heat, he is the run-away number one contender for the Cy Young.
Corbin Burnes – The Surprise Package
Even Brewers fans probably didn’t think Corbin Burnes would start the season so well. Burnes is dominating the strike zone presently; yesterday against the Cardinals was the first time Burnes offered a walk this season. Compared to deGrom, Burnes is outsmarting batters; he doesn’t blow batters away with straight smoke. Burnes works all quadrants of the zone with a heavy diet of off-speed pitches. The cutter is his go-to pitch; he’s thrown it 54.9% of the time.
Burnes then follows the cutter up with a nasty sinker and a sharp slider. Burnes came back from Covid yesterday, and he didn’t look as good in the start against St. Louis. It is plausible that the layoff hindered his rhythm. Nonetheless, Burnes’ stuff should allow him to stay consistent through Summer. Corbin Burnes can spin a web of deceiving pitches to win a Cy Young award.
Jack Flaherty – The Comeback Kid
After a disappointing 2020, Jack Flaherty is on the comeback trail as he leads the NL in wins. Flaherty’s command is back while his fastball is humming. His average exit velocity is up across all his pitches, plus he’s developed confidence in his off-speed pitches. The changeup is now a legitimate strikeout pitch, and with a powerful batting lineup, Flaherty could get his fair share of wins. That may haul him into contention regarding the Cy Young.