The MLB NL CY Young award is given out to the best pitcher from each league at the end of every regular season. So far in the National League, there are a few surprises and a few expected pitchers at the top of the lists. Today, we will take a look into some of these names as of June 3.
Corbin Burnes, RHP Milwaukee Brewers
Corbin Burnes' ERA (1.95), WHIP (.8196) and K/BB (7.09) are all better than last season when the #Brewers ace won NL Cy Young.
— Scott Grodsky (@ScottGrodsky) May 29, 2022
W-L Record: 3-2
Innings Pitched: 64.66
Corbin Burnes is the reigning NL CY Young winner. He took home the award in 2021 when he put together an incredible season. It wouldn’t be ridiculous to say that Burnes is off to a better start this season than his CY Young winning year last year. Burnes relies on a five-pitch mix, highlighted by his outstanding cutter, which he throws over 55% of the time. After the 2019 season, in which he posted an 8.82 ERA, he basically abandoned his four-seam fastball going from using it about 56% of the time to only using it 1-2% of the time. He replaced this pitch with his cutter which has been one of the most dominant pitches in baseball. The cutter is the main reason that he is in the 98th percentile in whiff percentage and fastball spin. He has been dominant this year.
Pablo Lopez, RHP Miami Marlins
After Pablo Lopez’s 6.0 scoreless innings today, he lowered his ERA to a National League leading 1.83. He is just the 7th Marlins pitcher to have an ERA of 2.00 or less through his first 10 starts of the season.
— Marlins Communications (@MarlinsComms) May 30, 2022
W-L Record: 4-2
Innings Pitched: 59.0
Pablo Lopez has been a pleasant surprise to most baseball fans this year. He features a five-pitch mix, mainly centered around his fastball, changeup, and cutter. On occasion, he will mix in a sinker(7.7% usage) and a curveball(4.1% usage). His best pitch would have to be his changeup. He’s used it 37.3% of the time and has only surrendered 13 hits on it, good for a .149 batting average allowed. He is quite an outlier in the new era of baseball as his fastball is below average in velocity and spin. This hasn’t seemed to matter to Lopez as he has put on quite the performance thus far this season.
Joe Musgrove, RHP San Diego Padres
Joe Musgrove, Filthy Sliders. 😷 pic.twitter.com/II48E76DHF
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 29, 2022
W-L Record: 5-0
Innings Pitched: 58.0
Joe Musgrove was one of the first starting pitchers of the modern era to normalize throwing a breaking ball as your main pitch. He made this adjustment after the 2020 season, when he was moved over to the San Diego Padres. He now throws his slider more often than his fastball and it has brought along great success. Last season, the first of the adjustment, he had a career year, posting career bests in innings pitched, strikeouts, and ERA. And this season has been even better. He looks to continue to build on this slider-first arsenal that he has built to continue to keep hitters off balance on his way to becoming one of the top pitchers in the National League.
Prediction: Corbin Burnes, RHP Milwaukee Brewers
So far, Corbin Burnes has been the best pitcher in the National League. He might not have the best ERA of the three guys mentioned, but he is giving up fewer hits in more innings, striking out more hitters, and walking less batters per nine innings pitched. He also has the track record to back up this kind of dominance, with proof that he could continue this through the entire year. Now, it isn’t impossible for Lopez or Musgrove, or any other National League pitcher, to be more impressive through the rest of the year. But, it is more likely that Burnes will do it than anybody else. Barring a return of Mets ace Jacob DeGrom, this award is Burnes’ to lose.
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