3 primary MLB Sai young candidates in 2022

Nestor Curtis Jr. # 65 of the New York Yankees threw in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on September 25, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(Photo by Jim Rogash / Getty Images)

As we get closer to June, MLB pitchers have plenty of time to prove who is in top form and who is still trying to figure things out.

There have been some impressive personal performances, such as Pablo Lopez of the Miami Marlins, Tariq Schubel of the Detroit Tigers, and Corbin Burns of the Milwaukee Brewers.

These three pitchers, however, cemented their place as true Sai Young candidates through their performances on the mound.

3. Nestor Curtis Jr., New York Yankees

Almost everyone thought Gerrit Cole would be the best pitcher in the New York Yankees rotation.

But we were all wrong: that honor, so far, belongs to Nestor Cortes Jr.

What Cortes is doing shouldn’t be really surprising, as he posted a 2.90 ERA in 93 innings last year and works at one of the best pitching development firms.

But this year, he has taken things to another level: with a 1.70 ERA in 53 innings (not to mention a 10.36 strikeout in nine frames), he is a true Sai Young candidate in the American League.

His last dominance was against Tampa Bay Ray on Thursday night: he gave up a single run in eight frames, including five strikeouts.

Curtis leads all Yankees starters in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) including 1.6 and fourth in MLB.

Can you imagine Nasty Nestor winning the Sai Young Award in the American League?

It’s not a crazy thought, as it turns out.

2. Kevin Gaussman, Toronto Blue Jays

If we consider WAR, Gaussman has become the best starter in baseball with 2.7.

Second place pitcher, Tariq Schubal, at 2.0.

If voters give WAR its due weight in the voting process, Gaussman Sai Young should be the winner, at least up to this point.

Free agent signing has been a huge hit in the face of the Toronto Blue Jays rotation.

At 56 frames, it has a 2.25 ERA, but a 1.32 FIP.

FIP means fielding independent pitching, and evaluates pitchers for the results they can control by removing defenses from the equation.

This means that, in essence, Gaussman’s IRA should be even shorter.

He is a truly influential force for the Blue Jays, who will fight for the playoffs and need a legitimate ace.

After several years in San Francisco, Gaussman returns to AL East to show that he can handle even the best lineups in the game.

He has been really outstanding.

1. Justin Verlander, Houston Astros

Justin Verlander’s 39-year-old victory over Sai Yang and major surgery on his elbow will be nothing short of amazing.

Future Hall of Fame proves she is still one of the MLB’s elite, having needed (and missed) the Astros last year.

So far, the experienced right-hander has made 1.22 ERA in 51.2 innings with 2.83 FIP and 49 strikeouts.

Last season he was completely healthy, in 2019 he won Sai Young in the American League.

After that, he was injured and missed most of 2020 and 2021.

It would be really amazing if he could come back and prove that he didn’t miss a bit to win Sai Young again.

If anyone can do that, he is probably the one.

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