NL Cy Young: How does Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Zac Gallen fit in?

Oct 25, 2022, 9:22 AM
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen throws during the first inning of a baseball game ...

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds', Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

At the very least, Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Zac Gallen had the best season of his young career.

However, was it good enough to take home National League Cy Young Award honors?

In 31 starts, Gallen posted a 2.54 ERA and a 12-4 record in 184 innings. While he struck out hitters a the second-worst rate of his four-year career, he walked hitters at his lowest clip.

He also had career bests with a 20.3% strikeout-to-walk rate, a .186 batting average against (.237 in play), a 3.05 FIP and a .560 OPS against.

Jayson Stark of The Athletic shared his thoughts on what must be considered in the voting process. However, he didn’t share who his pick is because he’s an NL Cy Young voter.

… volume is going to be a huge topic in this race, too, because nobody in either league has volumized quite like Miami’s Sandy Alcántara.

He has piled up 29 1/3 more innings than anyone else in the league and almost 50 more than an otherwise-exceptional contender like Arizona’s Zac Gallen.

Gallen ranked sixth in the National League in FanGraphs’ wins above replacement (fWAR), 1.4 behind Alcantara. That said, volume plays a huge role in the disparity. On a per 150 inning basis, Gallen posted 3.51 fWAR/150 innings compared to Alcantara’s 3.74.

The Marlins righty still holds the edge, but it’s considerably closer.

The other starters Gallen ranked behind in fWAR are Milwaukee right-hander Corbin Burnes (4.6), Atlanta southpaw Max Fried (5.0), San Francisco lefty Carlos Rodon (6.2) and Philadelphia Phillies righty Aaron Nola (6.3).

Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias posted just 3.2 fWAR in 2022, but led the NL with a 2.16 ERA — thus tossing his hat into the metaphorical ring as well.

Side-by-side cases

Alcantara: 2.28 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 8.2 K/9, .588 OPS against, 228.2* innings, 3.74 fWAR/150 innings

Gallen: 2.54 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 9.4 K/9, .560* OPS against, 184 innings, 3.51 fWAR/150 innings

Fried: 2.48 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 8.3 K/9, .581 OPS against, 185.1 innings, 4.05 fWAR/150 innings

Rodon: 2.88 ERA, 2.25* FIP, 12* K/9, .571 OPS against, 178 innings, 5.22* fWAR/150 innings

Urias: 2.16* ERA, 3.71 FIP, 8.5 K/9, .599 OPS against, 175 innings, 2.74 fWAR/150 innings

Nola: 3.25 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 10.3 K/9, .603 OPS against, 205 innings, 4.61 fWAR/150 innings

*indicates they led qualified NL starters — at least 162 innings pitched


Gallen definitely deserves to be in consideration for the NL Cy Young Award. However, it appears his case is stronger for being a finalist than winning it outright.

He had a great 2022 campaign, regardless of the voting’s outcome. But it shouldn’t serve as much of a surprise should he finish in the fourth through seventh range when all is said and done.

Alcantara appears as the clear favorite with the perfect balance of volume and production, while Rodon looks to be the most-deserving if sheer dominance is what matters most to voters.

Gallen’s most appealing trait is consistency. He was sixth in fWAR, fifth in K/9, fourth in ERA and seventh in FIP. While he did hold batters to the lowest OPS, consistently being in the fourth through seventh range in metrics doesn’t bode well when it comes to earning the award.

The right-hander was one of the best this season, just not No. 1 when lining up the numbers and innings volume.


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Diamondbacks

An overhead view of the Oakland Athletics and Arizona Diamondbacks as they stand for the national a...
Arizona Sports

Diamondbacks release 2023 spring training broadcast schedule

The Arizona Diamondbacks begin spring training in 2023 with a Saturday, Feb. 25, split-squad day against the Rockies and A's.
1 day ago
Jandel Gustave #31 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the fif...
Arizona Sports

Diamondbacks reportedly agree with RHP Jandel Gustave on minor-league contract

Right-handed reliever Jandel Gustave has agreed with the Arizona Diamondbacks on a minor-league contract, reports FanSided's Robert Murray.
2 days ago
Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks high fives teammates after defeating the Philadelphia...
Alex Weiner

D-backs get 4 prospects on MLB’s top 100 list, headlined by Corbin Carroll

The Diamondbacks were one of two teams with three prospects on the top 15 of MLB Pipeline's top 100 prospects list for 2023. 
6 days ago
Jeurys Familia of the Boston Red Sox delivers during the tenth inning of a game against the New Yor...
Torrence Dunham

D-backs reportedly sign veteran reliever Jeurys Familia to minor league deal

The Arizona Diamondbacks appear to be adding depth to the bullpen with the reported signing of veteran reliever Jeurys Familia to a minor league deal.
8 days ago
Scott Rolen #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies prepares for a ground ball during a baseball game agai...
Associated Press

8-time Gold Glove 3B Scott Rolen elected into baseball Hall of Fame

Slick-fielding third baseman Scott Rolen was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame on Tuesday with five votes to spare above the 75% needed.
9 days ago
Owner Arte Moreno of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim walks off the field prior to a baseball game...
Associated Press

Arizona native Arte Moreno takes Angels off market to continue as owner

Arizona native Arte Moreno took the Angels off the market on Monday after announcing his plan to explore a sale of the team last August.
10 days ago
NL Cy Young: How does Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Zac Gallen fit in?