Blake Snell makes history with NL Cy Young Award

Sep 19, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) smiles after the last out of the top of the sixth inning was recorded against the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball announced that Blake Snell won the National League Cy Young for the 2023 season.

Heading into the 2023 season, Blake Snell’s tenure with the Padres had been a roller coaster ride. Between 2021 and 2022, he had a pedestrian 101 ERA+ in just over 256 innings. His game was mired in high pitch counts and walks.

In 2023, he hit a new gear. That gear won himself the 2023 NL Cy Young, as the league announced on Wednesday.

He even had a rough start this year, with a 5.40 ERA in his first nine starts. Following that stretch, he finished the season with a sparkling 1.20 ERA and an opponent batting average of .156 in the final 23 starts.

There was no better pitcher in baseball than Snell after Memorial Day.

That award makes history on a few levels. He becomes the fifth Padres pitcher ever to win the award and first since Jake Peavy in 2007.

On a bigger scale, Snell became just the seventh pitcher in MLB history to win the Cy Young in both American and National Leagues. He won the 2018 AL Cy Young for the Rays.

On that list, he joins Gaylord Perry, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, and Max Scherzer. All of which are either Hall of Famers or are Cooperstown-worthy.

Among NL pitchers this season, Snell led all in WAR (6.0), 2.25 (led all MLB), hits per nine innings (led all MLB), and finished second in strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings.

His 182 ERA+ was the best among all qualified pitchers in the entire league. That also marks the best of any Padres pitcher in a single full 162-game season.

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His 2.25 ERA is the third-lowest in an entire season in franchise history for a starter.

The Seattle native was more than deserving of the award this season.

Snell now embarks in free agency. The rumor is that he will command something around $200 million in total contract value. According to Spotrac, the market suggests he can get around $23 million per season. Given some of the rhetoric around the Padres team, that will likely price them out of the running.

If 2023 was Snell’s final season in San Diego, he went out with a bang. He ended his Padres tenure with one of the most dominant in franchise history by any starting pitcher.

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