In a highly anticipated announcement on Thursday night, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) revealed the results of their NL Most Outstanding Pitcher vote. The competition was fierce, with three outstanding pitchers vying for the prestigious award, but ultimately, Blake Snell of the San Diego Padres emerged victorious, leaving Zac Gallen and Justin Steele of the Chicago Cubs in his wake.
Zac Gallen had been a frontrunner in the National League’s Cy Young Award race for most of the season, captivating baseball fans with his exceptional performance on the mound. However, as the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint, Gallen experienced a challenging stretch that allowed Blake Snell to steal the spotlight. In Snell’s last 12 starts of the season, he put up remarkable numbers, boasting a 10-2 record with a jaw-dropping 1.63 ERA.
His ability to stifle opposing batters, holding them to a mere .146 batting average, was a testament to his pitching prowess. If Snell does indeed secure the Cy Young Award, it will be his second win, having previously earned the honor in 2018 while with the Tampa Bay Rays. This season, Snell’s performance has been even more impressive, with more starts and improved statistics compared to his previous Cy Young-winning campaign.
Despite Zac Gallen’s impressive performance throughout the year, he faced challenges of his own. He concluded the season ranking second in games started, innings pitched, and total wins, a remarkable feat in its own right. Notably, Gallen excelled when playing at home, recording 12 victories and a commendable 2.47 ERA. Chase Field, the Diamondbacks’ home turf, seemed to bring out the best in him during the regular season. Conversely, Gallen’s performance on the road was less consistent, as he secured only 5 wins out of 11 games and finished the season with a 4.42 ERA in various ballparks.
Earlier in the season, during a podcast featuring Dodgers star Mookie Betts, Zac Gallen expressed the significance of being recognized by the MLBPA, emphasizing that “it meant a little more” to him. Gallen’s success extends beyond this season, as he had previously landed in the top five in the MLBPA’s rankings for NL pitchers. This year, he solidified his standing as one of the top pitchers in the league, garnering a spot in the top three and even making a case for second place, depending on who you ask. His recognition by his fellow players is a testament to his exceptional performance and the Diamondbacks’ ability to defy expectations.
As the offseason begins, Zac Gallen can take pride in his achievements and the acknowledgment he has received from his peers. Despite narrowly missing out on the NL Most Outstanding Pitcher award, Gallen’s future in baseball looks promising, and he is sure to continue making waves in the league.
In the end, the MLBPA’s NL Most Outstanding Pitcher award went to Blake Snell, with Zac Gallen finishing as one of the top contenders. The season was a rollercoaster of highs and lows for both pitchers, showcasing the unpredictable nature of baseball. Nevertheless, Gallen’s remarkable performance and recognition from fellow players have undoubtedly set the stage for an exciting offseason and a bright future in the MLB.