2023 MLB Power Rankings: Who are the favorites for the NL Cy Young? (June Edition 1.0)


Some great pitchers headline this list.

Zac Gallen of the Arizona Diamondbacks

We’re a third into the 2023 MLB regular season, and a number of talented pitchers have shined thus far. While it’s still far too early to crown an NL Cy Young award winner, let’s take a look at the five pitchers that we believe would be at the front of the list if the voting was held today.

Related: 2023 MLB Power Rankings: Who are the favorites for the NL MVP?

5. Mitch Keller

We could have went in a bunch of different directions with the fourth and fifth positions. Right-handers Bryce Elder and Logan Webb have been strong this season, while left-handers Justin Steele and Clayton Kershaw also have legitimate cases. However, #5 on our ranking goes to Pirates ace Mitch Keller. The Pirates righty’s been sparkling over 74.2 IP for the Pirates, a tally that’s fifth-most among NL starters. The 27-year-old is 7-1 with a 3.25 ERA and 93 strikeouts, fourth-most in the Majors.

The Pirates would not be right at the top of the NL Central race without Keller, who’s broken out in his third full season in the league.

4. Merrill Kelly

Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly posted the best season of his career last year, when he struck out 177 batters and won 13 games for Arizona. This season, the former ASU product has found a new gear — one that we don’t think a lot of people saw coming. The 34-year-old is 7-3 with a 2.80 ERA over 70.2 IP and 77 strikeouts. Should the season end today, his 27.6% K% rate would mark a career-high.

Kelly has never been a strikeout pitcher, as he’s mainly been a four-seamer/two-seam pitcher with good pitchability. But Kelly is not only getting a lot of ground balls and weak contact this season, he’s making hitters chase more with a slightly altered pitch arsenal that’s included less sinkers, more changeups, and a new slider that’s been a nice change-of-pace option.

3. Marcus Stroman

No pitcher in Major League Baseball has a higher bWAR (3.1) than Cubs ace Marcus Stroman. The 32-year-old’s been exceptional in 2023, as he currently owns the second-best ERA (2.39) and best WHIP (1.00) in the National League for the Cubs.

Stroman’s cutter has been an incredibly dangerous weapon against left-handers. That pitch, coupled with his two-seamer and slider, have helped the Cubs righty induce plenty of grounders that can be scooped up by defensive wizards Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson.

2. Zac Gallen

D-Backs star Zac Gallen is back at #2 on this list. Gallen’s been a key cog for a Diamondbacks team that looks poised to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017. The 27-year-old’s won a league-high seven games and his 2.75 ERA is fifth-best in the NL. Gallen’s also been a workhorse for the D-Backs, as his 78.2 IP is third-best in the Senior Circuit, behind only the aforementioned Stroman and Logan Webb.

It’s hard to hit Gallen’s curveball and cutter, both of which have been potent weapons for the Arizona ace. Should Gallen to continue to dice up hitters like he has thus far, he’ll likely be on the shortlist for the Cy Young.

1. Spencer Strider

Yet again, Spencer Strider reigns supreme on this list. The 24-year-old’s been exceptional for the Braves in 2023, a season that’s seen Atlanta lose two key pitchers in Max Fried and Kyle Wright. Strider’s 2.97 ERA and 1.00 WHIP both rank in the NL top ten, and his 113 strikeouts are tops in the Majors by a healthy margin. Strider’s command may not be a plus tool, but his stuff is truly elite and can often override his periodic control hiccups.

It’s a three-man race, in our opinion for the NL Cy Young. But for right now, we have to go with the 24-year-old fireballer.

Note: All stats are as of June 5.

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