San Diego Padres ace, Blake Snell, etched his name in the record books once again as he clinched his second Cy Young Award, this time in the National League. Snell, who previously won the prestigious award in 2018 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League, became only the seventh player, and second left-hander, to accomplish this feat in both leagues.
In the 2023 season, Snell displayed impeccable control and dominance on the mound. He achieved a remarkable 2.25 ERA, the lowest in the entire Major League Baseball (MLB). Additionally, Snell led the league in innings pitched with 180, showcasing his durability and capability as a workhorse. Despite his impressive performance, Snell also issued the most walks among all pitchers, a fact that did not dampen his overall success. He joined the exclusive company of Bob Turley and Early Wynn, who also won the award while leading their respective leagues in walks.
Furthermore, Snell proved to be a formidable force against opposing hitters. He allowed the fewest hits per nine innings at a remarkable rate of 5.8, a testament to his ability to keep batters off balance. His opponent slugging percentage of .286 bolstered his case as the league’s most challenging pitcher to face. Snell’s proficiency in striking batters out was also evident, as he ranked second in the league with a strikeout percentage of 31.5.
Despite his statistical achievements, Snell’s innings per start remained relatively low. With an average of 5.6 innings per outing, he broke his previous record from his Cy Young-winning season in 2018. Nevertheless, Snell’s impact on the game was undeniable, as he firmly established himself as one of the premier pitchers in baseball.
Gerrit Cole’s Long-Awaited Triumph
For Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees, the Cy Young Award had always seemed within reach. After finishing in the top five for the honor on five previous occasions, the ace finally secured the title unanimously, solidifying his status as an elite pitcher.
Cole’s exceptional 2023 campaign showcased his dominance on the mound. With an impressive 2.63 ERA, he led the American League in this category, demonstrating his ability to consistently stifle opposing lineups. Additionally, Cole boasted the most innings pitched in the league, tallying 209 throughout the season. By limiting hits, allowing only 6.8 per nine innings, he fortified his reputation as an incredible defensive force.
The 33-year-old right-hander’s unanimous victory underscores his consistent excellence over the years. Having previously been a contender for the Cy Young Award in both the American and National Leagues, Cole’s persistence and determination paid off. He finished as the runner-up in 2019 while representing the Houston Astros and narrowly missed out on the award in 2021 as a member of the Yankees.
Cole’s success marked a significant milestone for the No.1 overall pick in the MLB Draft. Joining the esteemed company of David Price, who won the award in 2012, Cole demonstrated his ability to live up to the immense expectations placed upon him.
Acknowledging Other Standout Performances
While the recognition and celebration of Snell and Cole’s achievements are well-deserved, it is crucial to acknowledge the remarkable performances of other players in the Cy Young Award race. Logan Webb of the San Francisco Giants and Zac Gallen of the Arizona Diamondbacks emerged as strong contenders, with each securing a first-place vote.
Spencer Strider of the Atlanta Braves and Justin Steele of the Chicago Cubs also warrant recognition for their respective fourth and fifth-place finishes in the voting process. These players showcased their talent and contributed to the competitive landscape of their teams during the 2023 season.
The dominance exhibited by Blake Snell and Gerrit Cole in the Cy Young Award race for the 2023 season is undeniable. Snell’s historic achievement in winning the award in both leagues solidifies his place among the elite pitchers, while Cole’s long-awaited triumph reinforces his consistent excellence. As these exceptional pitchers continue to make their mark in the league, the future of Major League Baseball’s pitching landscape looks incredibly bright.