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MLB: Cy Young Award Contenders

Earlier this week the 2022 Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) revealed finalists for Rookie of the Year, Cy Young Award, Manager of the Year and Most Valuable Player.

Here we look at the contenders for the Cy Young Award in both the American and National Leagues. 

American League

Dylan Cease (Chicago White Sox)

While Justin Verlander is the favourite for this year's Cy Young Award, Dylan Cease of the White Sox has performed wonders, finishing the season in brilliant form. Cease posted a 10-6 record with a 1.51 ERA and 156 strikeouts in his final 22 starts. 

Cease allowed one earned run or less 23 times in 2022, tied with Wilbur Wood in 1972 for the most in club history. 

The right-hander set an AL/NL record with 14 straight starts allowing one earned run or less from May 29 to August 11, yielding six earned runs over 82 innings during that stretch.

Cease has a 2.20 ERA over the course of the season which is second to Verlander. Cease had 227 strikeouts which is second to Gerrit Cole's (New York Yankees) 257. 

Alek Manoah (Toronto Blue Jays)

Could Alek Manoah's stats go up against Justin Verlander and Dylan Cease? Unlikely, however, the 24-year-old had an ERA of 2.24 and doing that just under 197 innings certainly is impressive. In his rookie season of 2021, he had an ERA of 3.22 and has since then emerged as a huge fan favourite in the Blue Jays roster. 

Manoah stepped up when Toronto lost Hyun Jin Ryu to Tommy John surgery, Jose Berrios had a surprising down year and Yusei Kikuchi fell out of the rotation. 

Manoah helped Kevin Gausman push the Blue Jays into the playoffs via the Wild Card, and all though they fell at the first attempt, more is to come you would assume. 

Justin Verlander (Houston Astros)

What a year for Justin Verlander. Coming off Tommy John surgery in 2021 and missing the entire year with only one start in 2020, no-one expected the 39-year old to have the season he just had. 

Verlander went 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA in 28 starts and was the ace for a 106-win division champion. He led the American League in wins, ERA, and WHIP (0.83). Verlander's ERA was the lowest by an AL pitcher since Pedro Martinez (1.74) in 2000.

The Astros, +550 to win the World Series in 2023, went 20-8 in Verlander starts and he helped to block more losses. In 12 starts following an Astros loss he was 9-0 with an ERA of 1.11. 

Despite the postseason not being taken into consideration for the Cy Young award, Verlander managed to get his World Series win to get the Astros their second World Series since 2017. 

Related MLB News

MLB: Highlights of 2022 season

MLB: Rookie of the Year contenders

MLB: Manager of the Year contenders

National League

Sandy Alcantara (Miami Marlins) 

Alcantara was a work-horse throughout the season. His 228 and two-thirds of an inning thrown and six complete games were the most thrown in six years. Three of those complete games came against postseason clubs. The All-Star threw eight or more innings in 14 of his 32 starts, the most since 2014. 

The 27-year-old right-hander accumulated the most WAR of the candidates, his ERA (2.28), strikeouts (207) were in the top five in the National League. Alcantara became the first pitcher in franchise history to record consecutive 200-strikeout seasons. 

Max Fried (Atlanta Braves)

Fried was superb during the season and one of the reasons why the Braves had a first 100+ winning season since 2003 and captured their fifth successive National League East Division title. The left-hander ranked third in the National League in ERA (2.48). 

The veteran pitcher got stronger as the season progressed throwing a 2.15 ERA over his last 17 starts of the season. The only pitcher to throw a better ERA during this time was Julio Urias (1.89).

Fried set the tone in the Braves' sweep of the New York Mets in the final week of the season. He allowed just one run over five innings while battling illness in the series opener. 

Julio Urias (Los Angeles Dodgers)

While Urias didn't make the National League All-Star team, he did win the NL ERA title. He got better as the season progressed with a 1.26 ERA going 11-2. In his last 14 starts, Urias allowed two or fewer earned runs in all of them. 

Urias stepped up when injuries happened to Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Tony Gonsolin. It was Urias who became the Dodgers' ace when they needed him, and although the franchise fell short in the playoffs, it was Urias who helped them get there by claiming their ninth Divisional title in ten seasons. 

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