Joe Musgrove Has Emerged as the Ace for Title Contender San Diego
It has been a first-half full of surprises when it comes to identifying the most dominant pitchers in the National League. Where does the NL Player Report Card stand?
While reigning NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes is very much in contention to win the award again, MLB injury has sidelined many of those hurlers that were thought to have the best chance to challenge Burnes to be the top starting pitcher in the National League.
Congratulations to anybody who projected Tony Gonsolin, Carlos Carrasco, Tyler Anderson, Sandy Alcantara, and Kyle Wright to joining Max Fried among the current wins leaders in the National League. Joe Musgrove joins Gonsolin and Alcantara as the top three qualified NL pitchers in earned run average.
With every National League team having played at least 81 games, this is the perfect time to take a look at the NL Player Report Card at the midway point of the season.
Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins
Not only was Sandy Alcantara not on the radar coming into the season when it came to the National League Cy Young Award race, but he wasn’t even the top candidate for the fourth-best MLB team in the National League East. Now he is leading the way in the NL Player Report Card at the midway point of the season.
With a 20-34 record coming into 2022, it was hard to predict what Alcantara has done during his first 17 starts.
With a 9-3 record and 1.82 earned run average, he has even odds to win the Cy Young. On a team that is three games under .500, the Miami Marlins are 11-6 when Alcantara starts.
With an expected win total set at 12.5 coming into the 2022 campaign, it shouldn’t be long before he goes flying past that mark.
Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres
The Padres have been rather active in making trades for pitchers in the last couple of years.
The moves to acquire Mike Clevinger, Yu Darvish, Sean Manaea, Blake Snell, and closer Trevor Rogers got plenty of attention.
Musgrove was part of a three-team trade in 2021 and it was a nice story that the Padres acquired a pitcher who grew up about 15 miles away in El Cajon. With the way he is pitching now and the fact that the key piece San Diego used to acquire Musgrove (pitcher Joey Lucchesi) has won one game since the trade.
After posting ERAs of 4.52 in two seasons with the Houston Astros and 4.23 in his three years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Musgrove is 19-11 with a 2.79 ERA in 47 games in San Diego. This season he has taken a step forward with an 8-2 record, 69 hits allowed in 99 innings, a 2.09 ERA, and almost a strikeout per inning. Musgrove (+750) has the third-best odds in the National League Cy Young race. He is also a headliner in the NL Player Report Card.
He came into the season with an expected win total of 11.5. Those who took Musgrove at -125 to go over that number must be feeling pretty good these days.
Tony Gonsolin, Los Angeles Dodgers
On staff with Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urias, who would have thought Gonsolin (+1000) would have the best Cy Young odds on the Dodgers?
Not only is Gonsolin 11-0 with a 1.62 ERA, but since the start of May, the only loss suffered by Los Angeles when Gonsolin started came when two runs scored on an error with Los Angeles leading by a run in the 10th inning.
Those betting on MLB players must be wondering why a player who leads National League qualified pitchers in wins and ERA is only fourth in the current NL Cy Young odds.
Walker Buehler-Los Angeles Dodgers, and Jack Flaherty-St. Louis Cardinals
Buehler came into the season with the second-best odds (+700) to win the Cy Young Award. When he has pitched, he has been serviceable with a 6-3 record and 4.02 ERA in 12 starts even though that is well off the 16-4 record and 2.47 ERA he posted last season.
Buehler has been limited to 12 starts this season and it is going to be a while before he makes another one.
Flaherty would love to have made 12 starts. He has made three appearances this season, allowing eight hits, six runs, and walking nine batters in eight innings of work. Those are hard numbers expected for a player who was ninth in the Cy Young odds when the season started.
Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers
Woodruff is showing signs of turning things with four runs allowed in his last four starts, however, he has failed to pitch at least six innings in eight of his 11 starts.
Coming into the season with the fifth-best Cy Young odds, Woodruff had a 5.97 ERA after his first six starts.
Not including preseason Cy Young front-runner Jacob deGrom who has yet to pitch this season for the New York Mets, it might be hard to find pitchers expected to compete for pitching honors who have seen their odds fall quicker than Woodruff or Charlie Morton of the Atlanta Braves. Morton had a mark of +3300 to lead the National League in wins and he is currently tied for 39th in the National League with four wins.
Hunter Greene, Cincinnati Reds
There was plenty of buzz surrounding the hard-throwing Greene. The second overall pick in the 2017 draft wasn’t expected to be in the running for the Cy Young in 2022, but he was fourth in the odds for the National League Rookie of the Year race.
With 98 strikeouts in 79 1/3 innings, he has shown that he has big-league stuff. He has seven games, allowing at least two home runs and that has resulted in a 3-10 record and 6.01 ERA. The Reds have lost the last five games when Greene has started. With his elite stuff, Greene is a player to keep an eye on when looking at MLB future player odds.
If Greene had pitched enough innings to qualify, he would have the worst ERA among National League starting pitchers. That honor goes to German Marquez of Colorado who is 4-7 with a 5.90 ERA. He has some work to do to surpass the expected win total of 12.5. The odds for him to go under that mark was at -125.