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Berrios An Early Candidate For AL Cy Young? That and Finalist Predictions

Jose Berrios has been on an absolute tear so far this season for the Blue Jays, putting up some seriously staggering numbers. Now I know that it’s early in the season and the numbers are gonna be inflated, but there is no denying that Berrios has been pitching out of his mind this year. Here is a quick little rundown of Berrios’ stats as of now this season:

4-1 record

36.2 IP

28 K

5 ER

1.23 ERA

Yes you read that right, and no it’s not a typo, Berrios has a 1.23 ERA over 36.2 innings pitched! After starting his 2023 campaign off a bit shaky, Jose Berrios has come into the 2024 season on fire and could seriously be in consideration for the American League Cy Young award at the end of the year. After winning a Gold Glove award for the 2023 season, Berrios is looking to add to his trophy case and add the most prestigious award a pitcher can win. However, there is still a lot of competition for Berrios in the American League, and the race for the Cy Young award will no doubt be tight and down to the wire all the way up until the final week of the season. Here I will breakdown some of the most likely candidates for the AL CY Young award, and what I think the final results will be at the end of the season.

Corbin Burnes:

The Baltimore Orioles made one of the most shocking trades of the offseason, acquiring former National League Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes from Milwaukee. In Burnes’ award-winning season in 2021, he had a record of 11-5 and notched a 2.43 ERA across 167 innings while racking up 234 strikeouts. Because of his efforts, Burnes took home the Cy Young award and beat out some tough competition in the likes of Zach Wheeler, Max Scherzer, and Walker Buehler. Currently this season, he has accumulated a 2.26 ERA across his six starts and is on a strikeout per inning pace with 35 K’s in 35 innings pitched. Burnes will surely be able to take his dominance from Milwaukee to Baltimore, and put on an impressive season with the Orioles which will make him a sure candidate for the Cy Young.

Mandatory Credit: Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports

Gerrit Cole:

Ok now this one might be the most interesting pick of them all, because before the season Gerrit Cole might have been the favourite to win the Cy Young in 2024 but now the argument for him is a real long shot. Cole managed to capture the award in 2023 after putting up the best season of his career, and coming into this season it looked like he could go back-to-back. However, just before the beginning of the season, Cole suffered an injury in his elbow that has put him on the shelf for the last two months. According to the most recent updates on Cole’s status, he is expected to still be out of action until at least late May which means the best case scenario is he will still miss another month of the season. Even if Cole has a successful rest of the year when he makes his return, it will be an uphill battle for him to put his name back in the conversation of Cy Young finalists. This is because, regardless of how talented and dominant Cole can be at his best, the best ability in baseball is availability. If the award went to the best pitcher by talent and skill regardless of playing time, Jacob DeGrom would have at least three more Cy Young awards than he does right now. Bottom line is, if you want to win then you have to prove you deserve it by playing often and consistently every single outing, which means every chance you get is crucial. Cole has missed many of these chances to prove that he should be a back-to-back Cy Young winner, but I think if there’s anyone in the league that is willing and able to take on the challenge and rise to the occasion, it’s Gerrit Cole.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Gausman:

Now the next candidate to discuss happens to be Berrios’ own teammate, Kevin Gausman. In 2023, Gausman had a very successful year and finished third in Cy Young voting, placing only behind Sonny Gray and Gerrit Cole. With the previously mentioned Cole injury, and Gray signing in the St. Louis Cardinals this past off-season which moved him to the National League, it’s not hard to argue that this season could be Gausman’s year to come away with the award. Gausman’s success on the mound comes mostly from his strikeout ability, mixing his fastball in with a devastating splitter to keep hitters off balance by continuously changing speeds and location. Currently this season, Gausman is having a slightly worse season than his teammate Berrios, posting an ERA of 4.50 across 28 innings in six games. Although his numbers are not looking like a Cy Young finalist just yet, just like how Berrios’ numbers are outstanding this is because of how early in the year we still are. As the season progresses, Kevin Gausman’s numbers will no doubt improve and I’d make the prediction that somewhere by mid-July is when we really start to see his true stats come through, along with the front runners for the Cy Young award becoming more set in stone.

Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Final Predictions:

Now that I’ve gone over Berrios’ most likely competition for the Cy Young, I’m going to give my way too early prediction of what I think the final results of the voting will be. My Final Cy Young predictions are:

1. Corbin Burnes (Winner)

2. Jose Berrios (Runner-Up)

3. Gerrit Cole

4. Kevin Gausman

5. Luis Castillo

So there it is, despite my Blue Jays bias, I have Corbin Burnes taking home the Cy Young award at the end of the year. The reason why I have Burnes over Berrios, is because I believe Burnes actually has more to prove after coming over to the American League. Although He already has won a Cy Young with Milwaukee, coming over to the AL for a team that has serious potential to win a world series I think gives Burnes the motivation to strive and become the best starter on the best team in the AL East while also accomplishing the task of winning a Cy Young award in both the AL and NL. As for Berrios, while I don’t think that he will manage to take home the award, I do think he will get as close as possible being the runner-up in the voting.  Because of his impressive season, Berrios will fully solidify himself as the Blues Jays’ ace and the best pitcher on the team. I also think that Gerrit Cole will come back from his injury and end up placing third in the voting. After winning award last season, there should be no question that even though he’s coming off of an injury that Cole will still be as good as ever. Kevin Gausman I have finishing fourth in Cy Young voting at the end of this year, since the seasons of Burnes and Berrios will overshadow him and I still would pick Cole over him after he comes back. However, finishing fourth is nothing to be ashamed of since it will be Gausman’s second season in a row finishing in the top five in voting, along with two Blue Jays being voted in the top 5 as well (Gausman & Berrios). This will the Jays’ rotation as a top three-to-five in all of baseball only being rivalled by the Dodgers, Braves, and Padres which would make them the best starting rotation in the American League. Finally, I added an honorable mention at the number five spot in my voting with Louis Castillo. I didn’t bother to highlight Castillo along with the others like Cole and Burnes, but he is still worth mentioning in the conversation for the AL Cy Young after finishing fifth in last years voting. Castillo is by far the best pitcher in the Mariners rotation and helps lead the team to be a constant contender to win the AL West division. Overall, I think this season will be very interesting to watch for everyone in contention for the AL Cy Young, especially Jose Berrios. Only time will tell if my predictions will be anywhere correct, and if Berrios can continue with his incredible pitching performances for the rest of the season.


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