2023 MLB Power Rankings: Which pitchers are the preseason favorites for the NL Cy Young award?


A repeat winner?

The National League features a treasure trove of pitching talent, but which one will take home the 2023 NL Cy Young award? With the 2023 season just a few days away, let’s take a look at the five pitchers that we believe have the best chance of winning the award.

Related: 2023 MLB Power Rankings: Which pitchers are favorites for the AL Cy Young award?

Sandy Alcantara

Let’s start off with the reigning NL Cy Young award winner, in Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara. Alcantara led all MLB pitchers in innings pitched (228.2), complete games (6), and bWAR (8.0), in what was an incredible campaign for a starter that gave the Marlins plenty of length. The 27-year-old made light work of hitters last season thanks in large part to arguably the changeup in the game. He broke it out 27.7% of the time last year, alongside a power sinker and a slider.

Alcantara will be called upon yet again to be an impact starter for the Marlins in 2023. It might be tough for Alcantara to repeat, but it’s certainly not impossible.

Corbin Burnes

Brewers SP Corbin Burnes knows a thing or two about winning a NL Cy Young award. The 2021 recipient, Burnes has been one of the game’s premier pitchers over the last three seasons. Among pitchers that have thrown at least 200 innings between 2020-22, only Alek Manoah (2.60), Tony Gonsolin (2.44) and Jacob deGrom (2.05) owned a lower ERA over that span than Burnes (2.62). The right-hander owns arguably the best cutter in the game, as well as very powerful sinker and a curve.

Burnes has the stuff to win a second NL Cy Young award, so one should consider him an early favorite.

Yu Darvish

Padres ace Yu Darvish has a lot of weapons at his disposal — the right-hander used six pitchers at least 4% of the time in 2022. Those weapons helped Darvish record the sixth-most strikeouts (197) among NL pitchers, and a 16-8 record for San Diego. When on his game, it’s very hard to beat a pitcher like Darvish. The veteran right can pick his spots with a very good cutter, all while mixing in a four-seamer, sinker, slider, and splitter into the mix.

Darvish has finished in the top ten of the Cy Young voting four times in his career, including a second-place finish in the abbreviated 2020 campaign. Could the Padres ace win his first in 2023?

Max Fried

Braves LHP Max Fried is one of the league’s craftiest pitchers. The 29-year-old won 14 games in 2022 for the Braves. That marked the third time in four seasons that Fried notched at least 14 victories in a single year. Fried dominated thanks to pinpoint control — Fried’s 4.1% BB% ranked as the sixth-best among qualified pitchers — and a diverse arsenal that includes two breaking balls, a mid-90s fastball and a sneaky changeup.

While Fried may not have received the attention that Kyle Wright or Spencer Strider did in 2022, Fried still remains one of the toughest pitchers to face in the game today.

Justin Verlander

Now in a new league, it’s not crazy to think that Mets star pitcher and 2022 AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander could win his fourth at the age of 40. Verlander returned with a vengeance after missing all of 2021, as the right-hander posted the league’s best ERA (1.75) and went 18-4 for the World Series champions.

The new Mets ace has aged like a fine wine, giving him a strong shot of winning yet another award after the 2023 season.

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