Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Kevin Gausman has had a bit of a rocky season but is still a contender for the AL Cy Young Award. While Gausman hasn’t had the greatest run support this season, he’s still provided quality outings. With a 12-9 record, 178 innings pitched, and reaching 200 strikeouts on August 30th, Gausman is the definition of an ace pitcher. Gausman is the type of pitcher known for his strikeout ability. He currently holds an ERA of 3.29 with 232 strikeouts, which is a career-high for him. These are just some of the noteworthy stats that make him a contender for the Cy Young Award. He is looking to succeed Justin Verlander, last year’s AL winner now back with the Houston Astros.
Gausman Remains a Contender for the Cy Young Award
Most Strikeouts on Splitters this season —
120 — Kevin Gausman
71 — Fernando Cruz
67 — Logan Gilbert
65 — Mark Leiter Jr.
60 — Taijuan Walker
54 — Erik Swanson
— BlueJays Muse (@BlueJays_Muse) September 18, 2023
Gausman, along with Chris Bassitt, Yusei Kikuchi, and Jose Berrios, have all shown consistency in Toronto’s rotation. Recently, Gausman has struggled a little with his control of the strike zone. But overall, he has been impressive this season. His capability to get out of jams, strand runners on base, and strike out hitters with splitters has been appealing. The splitter has been one of his best pitches this season, and it’s been fun to watch him use that pitch along with his four-seam fastball.
The Blue Jays have been able to keep up in the Wild Card race despite recently getting shut out by the Texas Rangers. If Gausman can continue to put up quality innings, it will not only help the Blue Jays in the playoff race, but could increase his chances as a Cy Young contender. Gausman proved to be successful against the New York Yankees last season with a 1.64 ERA and striking out 44 batters. He continued his dominance against the Yankees on Wednesday, which came as no shock. The Yankees offense this season has been poor, ranking low in OPS against right-handed pitching. This was a recipe for Gausman to compile 10 more strikeouts. Overall this season, Gausman has had nine games where he reached double-digit punchouts.
When you have a starting pitcher who is able to rack up strikeouts like Kevin Gausman, his success speaks for itself. He pitches with strong command and deserves credit as a Cy Young contender. Back on September 14th, Gausman reached 171 swinging strikeouts, the second most in the American League. Gausman also holds an impressively low FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching).
FIP is similar to ERA but focuses mostly on aspects like strikeouts, walks, and home runs. These are elements of a pitcher’s game that they have the most authority over. Gausman’s strong start Wednesday helped earn the Blue Jays their fifth win in a row, and it continued his dominant success against the Yankees.
Lowest FIP this season:
2.83 — Spencer Strider
2.90 — Sonny Gray
3.04 — Kevin Gausman
3.06 — Justin Steele pic.twitter.com/l0EZRavw80
— StatMuse MLB (@statmusemlb) September 16, 2023
Gausman Gets the Job Done
All these impressive stats continue to point to Gausman as a solid contender for the Cy Young Award. If Gausman had gotten more run support earlier in the season, he would certainly be ranked higher, but overall he’s been strong. All season he has been talked about as a contender for the Cy Young Award, and the discussion still remains. Although he’s had some rocky starts, he has been able to redeem himself. The Jays starting rotation this season has shown strong command and reliability, and Gausman deserves some recognition for this. The Jays only have five starting pitchers at the moment, and they’ve proven to only need five, as they’ve put up quality innings. Sometimes it’s more about quality over quantity.
Take Gausman out of the picture, and the Jays’ pitching and season would not be the same. He deserves credit as the strikeout king for the Jays this season. The fact that he’s still provided quality innings despite the low run support has also been impressive. On Wednesday, he consistently pounded the fastball in the bottom of the zone, helping him record 10 strikeouts. Gausman continues to provide strong performances for the Jays this season. It will be interesting to see how the race for the Cy Young Award plays out.
Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports