|Brendan Donovan - DH||Geraldo Perdomo - SS|
|Paul Goldschmidt - 1B||Ketel Marte - 2B|
|Lars Nootbaar - CF||Corbin Carroll - LF|
|Tyler O'Neill - LF||Christian Walker - 1B|
|Nolan Gorman - 2B||Dominic Canzone - DH|
|Alec Burleson - RF||Emmanuel Rivera - 3B|
|Taylor Motter - 3B||Jake McCarthy - RF|
|Paul DeJong - SS||Alek Thomas - CF|
|Andrew Knizner - C||Jose Herrera - C|
|Jack Flaherty - RHP||Zac Gallen - RHP|
Zac Gallen’s Cy Young chances
As we head into the finals sixty games of the season, there’s no obvious front-runner for the National League Cy Young. This is in part because nobody is clearly head and shoulders above the pack at this point. By bWAR little more than half a win (0.6) covers the entire top ten, from the Reds’ Andrew Abbott (3.3) down to Gallen (2.7). That’s within the range where you can probably make a legitimate subjective argument for almost any candidate. For example, while Abbott leads, he has thrown only 61.2 innings and while they’re impressive (a 1.90 ERA), he’ll likely end the year with less than 150 innings pitched. No non-closer has won the Cy Young over a full season throwing so little. Stamina matters.
The other problem is the wide discrepancy between the two generally regarded metrics, bWAR and fWAR. It’s partly because the former works off ERA and the latter off fielding-independent ERA (FIP), and these can be very different. Abbott’s FIP is almost twice his ERA at 3.75, and that’s why he ranks a mere 34th by fWAR with 1.4. Conversely, the leader there is the Phillies’ Zac Wheeler at 4.0 fWAR, due to his league-leading 2.88 FIP. bWAR is much less impressed, and his 2.1 bWAR has him down in 18th place, just behind Merrill Kelly. So, you pay your money and you take your choice. But the following pitchers are in the top ten by both systems. They’re listed by average WAR, with bWAR and fWAR in brackets.
- Zac Gallen, ARI: 3.2 (2.7/3.7)
- Justin Steele, CHC: 2.95 (2.9/3.0)
- Jesus Luzardo, MIA: 2.9 (3.0/2.8)
- Marcus Stroman, CHC: 2.8 (3.1/2.5)
- Logan Webb, SFG 2.8 (2.9/2.7)
- Blake Snell, PIT: 2.7 (3.1/2.3)
Add Wheeler, at a 3.05 average, and those would seem to be the leading candidates as we approach the two-third point of the season. Again, by this average there’s only half a win or so covering all of them. Generally, how you finish the season is likely to be weighted more heavily than how you started, simply due to the inevitable recency bias when it comes time to casting votes. So while Zac is certainly in the heart of the conversation, and arguably on top of the list, it will likely be performances over the remaining two months that determine whether he becomes the team’s first Cy Young winner since Brandon Webb in 2006.