Expectations were higher than they have ever been for the 2023 San Diego Padres, but the season has been a disaster with the team sitting in fourth place in the NL West at 68-78 and much closer to last place than first. One major bright spot for the Friars has been lefty Blake Snell. He is the -220 favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award at DraftKings and in theory could all but clinch the award if he dominates Wednesday at the NL West-leading Dodgers, who are short favorites on the SportsLine consensus.
The 30-year-old Snell (13-9, 2.52 ERA) won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award with the Tampa Bay Rays and could join legends Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay and Max Scherzer as the only players to win the Cy Young in both leagues. Previous Padres winners were Jake Peavy (2007), Mark Davis (1989), Perry (1978) and Randy Jones (1976).
Perhaps Snell will be heading back to the AL next year as a free agent. He could be the top starting pitcher available because Shohei Ohtani won't be pitching in 2024, although Japanese star Yoshinobu Yamamoto is expected to be posted and draw heavy interest as well. According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Padres are not expected to re-sign Snell because he's looking for at least $200 million on the open market.
Snell is working on a string of six straight quality starts and has three consecutive personal victories. There have been some warning signs in those past three, though. He's issued at least three walks in each outing and a total of 12 overall. Control has been Snell's bugaboo in the past. Walks are why his WHIP is 1.25, while his opponents' batting average is an MLB-best .192.
He is 0-1 with a 3.71 ERA and .153 opponents' average in three starts this year vs. the Dodgers and set with over/under totals of 7.5 strikeouts, 16.5 outs recorded, 3.5 hits allowed, 2.5 earned runs and 3.5 walks Wednesday.
The only pitcher with a shot to catch Snell for the NL Cy Young is Cubs ace lefty Justin Steele, who is 16-3 with a 2.49 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. He's +150 at DraftKings to win the award.
As pointed out in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Snell has pitched more and better since May 31 than Steele (1.38 ERA in 19 starts to 2.30 ERA in 16 starts) and more and better against playoff contenders (2.38 ERA in 20 starts to 2.82 ERA in 17 starts). Steele is pitching on a playoff contender himself, so he has much more important starts remaining than Snell does if voters take that into account.
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