New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros left-hander Framber Valdez, and Toronto Blue Jays star Kevin Gausman are three of the most evident American League Cy Young award candidates at this juncture.
Each one of those hurlers has been amazing.
However, it’s probably time to start looking at the Baltimore Orioles.
No, not at one of their starters: it’s their closer, Felix Bautista, who might be building a Cy Young case with an impressive campaign.
They say relievers have to be flawless and awfully impressive to be considered for the prestigious awards.
There is a reason why a reliever has won it just nine times in history: starters simply have more of an impact.
Bautista’s case, however, should be every bit as good as any starter in the league this year.
“When will we mention Felix Bautista’s genuine chance at AL Cy Young? 0.87 ERA, 29 Saves (Leads AL), 0.852 WHIP, 1.45 FIP, 483 ERA+, 199 batters faced, 101 strikeouts (17.6 K/9), 3.1 WAR as a Closer. He’s the real deal,” @mlb22cardart tweeted.
When will we mention Felix Bautista's genuine chance at AL Cy Young?
29 Saves (Leads AL)
199 batters faced, 101 strikeouts (17.6 K/9)
3.1 WAR as a Closer
He's the real deal pic.twitter.com/clqsiMBynf
— MLB The Show 23 Card Art (@mlb22cardart) August 4, 2023
Those numbers are what we could call “awfully impressive.”
Every one of them: the ERA, the FIP, the WHIP, and the enormous percentage of hitters he has struck out.
Will Bautista become the first reliever to win the Cy Young since Eric Gagne in 2003?
For obvious reasons, he can’t have a regular starter’s workload, but his impact has been more significant (much more, to be fair) than the vast majority of starters in the league this year.
At the very least, he should get multiple votes and a top-five finish.NEXT: Jack Flaherty Comments On Joining The Orioles