Zac Gallen followed up last year’s fifth-pace finish by coming third in the 2023 National League Cy Young award, behind Blake Snell and Logan Webb. Snell got 28 of the available 30 first-place votes, with one each going to Webb and Gallen - Barry M. Bloom was the writer who voted for Gallen. Webb took the runner’s up spot based on a higher number of down ballot votes than Gallen, for example getting 17 second-place votes while Gallen managed only three. The Braves Spencer Strider actually got more second spots (6), though Zac did appear on more ballots overall, being listed on 26 of the 30 which fed into the final results.
There was no love for Merrill Kelly, despite an overall ERA which ended the year actually better than Gallen’s (3.29 vs. 3.47). Zac’s candidacy was largely built on an excellent first half, which saw him chosen to start the All-Star Game for the National League. After a rough start, Zac had a 14 game stretch where he went 9-1 with a 2.26 ERA. That included four consecutive scoreless outings in April covering a total of 27 innings, where he struck out a total of 41 batters, while walking just one. After reaching the break 11-3 with a 3.04 ERA, Gallen did struggle a bit in the second half, going 6-6 with an ERA almost a full run higher, at 4.03.
His first post-season was a bit of a mixed bag too. Zac was 2-3 over six starts with a 4.54 ERa in the first playoff action of his career. But he did probably save the best for last, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning of Game 5 in the World Series. It was a very good final note for a campaign which definitely deserved recognition. Including the post-season, he tossed a total of 243.2 innings, which has to be the highest figure by a D-backs pitcher in a long time, and may have been a factor eventually. For on a quick scan, it is probably the most work since Brandon Webb’s 249.1 innings during the 2007 campaign and subsequent playoffs.
We look forward to Zac Gallen being our Opening Day starter again in 2024.