Left-handed free agent Blake Snell was named the National League Cy Young Award winner for 2023, according to an announcement from the Baseball Writers Association of America. Logan Webb of the Giants finished second in the voting while Zac Gallen of the Diamondbacks finished third.
Snell, 31 next month, won the Cy Young Award for the second time in his career. The first trophy was won in the American League, with Snell winning it as a member of the Rays in 2018. He is only the seventh pitcher to win this award in both leagues, joining Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Max Scherzer, Gaylord Perry And Roy Halladay.
The left-handed Snell hasn’t been the most consistent pitcher of his career, as his health and performance have wavered over the years, but his two winning campaigns have been excellent. His first trophy came after posting a 1.89 ERA with the Rays and that second piece was earned by posting a 2.25 ERA for the Padres this year. His most recent campaign saw him walk 13.3% of batters faced, but he danced around them by striking out 31.5% of his opponents and keeping the ball on the ground at a rate of 44.4%. He probably had help from the baseball gods, as his .256 batting average on balls in play and 86.7% strand rate were both on the right side of average, but his punchouts and grounders surely also helped him to some extent.
Apart from these two campaigns, the results have been much more mixed. He pitched 180 innings during his winning campaigns, but did not reach 130 in any other season. He also didn’t post an ERA below 3.24 in any of them.
Of course, that doesn’t matter for the Cy Young vote. This is a prize awarded for a single season and its regularity from one year to the next is not an element to be taken into account by voters. Snell’s vote wasn’t quite unanimous, but he received 28 of 30 first-place votes. But his overall record will be a concern for clubs considering signing him as a free agent. Pitchers with multiple Cy Youngs don’t hit free agency every day, but it’s also incredibly rare for a pitcher to put that many runners on base without allowing them to score. Regardless of these concerns, MLBTR predicted Snell would land a seven-year, $200 million contract and he’s already generating plenty of interest.
Webb had a 3.25 ERA in 216 innings for the Giants this year, earning him one of the first-place votes and 17 for second. Gallen had a 3.47 ERA over his 210 innings, leading to one vote for first place and three for second. In the full vote, visible here, votes were also allocated to Spencer Strider, Justin Steele, Zack Wheeler, Kodai Senga And Corbin Burnes.
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