2. Tony Gonsolin – Cy Young
Tony Gonsolin is not only the biggest surprise on the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, but is the biggest surprise in the entire league. Gonsolin has pitched well in his young career and has certainly shown positive signs, but nobody could have predicted his ascension to the Cy Young conversation.
Gonsolin isn’t just in the conversation when it comes to the Cy Young award; he is dominating it. While there is always the chance of a player like Gonsolin starting to flame out towards the end, as it stands right now, the award is his to lose.
Advanced analytics are not the most favorable to Gonsolin considering he is not a huge strikeout artist. He currently ranks 14th in the NL in pitcher fWAR, which is absolutely absurd considering his other metrics.
Gonsolin leads all of MLB in both ERA (1.62) and WHIP (0.80). Sure, he does not strike out a lot of batters, but by definition, he is the most efficient pitcher in the league. This is similar to Hyun-Jin Ryu’s Cy Young-caliber season in 2019 when he was robbed by the flashier pick in Jacob deGrom.
While Gonsolin is currently in the lead for the Cy Young award, there are some very strong candidates that are hot on his tail.
Sandy Alcantara: Tony Gonsolin is 1A in the Cy Young conversation and Sandy Alcantara is 1B. Alcantara is second in the NL in ERA, third in WHIP and is first in fWAR, doubling Gonsolin’s number (which is insane).
Joe Musgrove: Joe Musgrove is having the best season of his career with a 2.09 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. Don’t tell Justin Turner that, though, as Musgrove may have kickstarted Turner’s red-hot July.
Corbin Burnes: Last year’s Cy Young winner is dominating once more and he might be falling victim to what Clayton Kershaw fell victim to so often: fans got used to his dominance and are not as excited about it. That being said, it is impossible to deny a 2.20 ERA and 0.89 WHIP.
Those four represent the favorites to win the award, but rounding out the group of pitchers that could make the leap into that elite level with a strong second half is Julio Urías, Carlos Rodón and Max Fried.