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2024 National League Cy Young Award Preview: Is Jesus Luzardo Worth A Look?

Nicholas Berault
Written by Nicholas Berault
February 21, 2024
2024 National League Cy Young Award Preview

Baseball's return from a winter hibernation is led by the pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training sites in Arizona and Florida before the rest of their teammates. It's a time of hope and excitement for fans as we prepare for the 162-game marathon ahead, though the main subjects of this article will only appear in about 30 of them.

Like most articles covering the National League in 2024, there is plenty of representation for the Braves and Dodgers. We recap last year's Cy Young race and dig into the competition for the best pitcher in the NL this season just ahead.

Current Odds to Win 2024 NL Cy Young Award

Latest Odds from FanDuel SportsBook

Player Odds
Spencer Strider +550
Zack Wheeler +850
Logan Webb +1000
Zac Gallen +1200
Max Fried +1300
Yoshinobu Yamamoto +1500
Kodai Senga +1600
Justin Steele +1600
Tyler Glasnow +1700
Aaron Nola +2500
Freddy Peralta +3000
Sonny Gray +3000
Jesus Luzardo +3000
Eduardo Rodriguez +3000
Bobby Miller +3500
Joe Musgrove +3500
Yu Darvish +4000
Eury Perez +4000
Mitch Keller +4000
Shota Imanaga +4000
Merrill Kelly +4200
Hunter Greene +4200
Braxton Garrett +5000
Charlie Morton +5000
Josiah Gray +6000
Chris Sale +6000
Alex Cobb +7500
Michael King +10000
Andrew Abbott +12000
Walker Buehler +12000
Nick Lodolo +12000
Ranger Suarez +13000
Brandon Pfaadt +17000
Taijuan Walker +20000
Jameson Taillon +20000
Edward Cabrera +20000
Bryce Elder +20000
MacKenzie Gore +20000
Luis Severino +20000
Nick Martinez +20000
Miles Mikolas +20000
Cristopher Sanchez +20000
Clayton Kershaw +20000

2023 NL Cy Young Recap

The Padres' recent spending spree did not bring them the intended success in the win column, but their ace, Blake Snell, secured a nice consolation for himself. The veteran lefty added a second Cy Young to his list of MLB accomplishments, leading all of baseball in ERA and hits per nine innings while striking out 234 hitters and posting an NL-best 6.0 WAR.

Snell became one of seven pitchers to win the Cy Young in both leagues, joining an illustrious list that includes Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Gaylord Perry, and Max Scherzer. Injuries have stunted his career numbers through 2023, but both times Snell crossed the 180-inning threshold, he's won the ERA title, struck out 220+ batters, and captured a Cy Young.

San Francisco's Logan Webb and Arizona's Zac Gallen represent the other players receiving a first-place vote. Webb led the majors in innings and the National League in K/BB ratio, punching out 194 compared to just 31 free passes during his third season in the Giants' rotation.

Gallen backed up his fifth-place finish from 2022 with the third-place result last year, hurling 210 innings, racking up 220 strikeouts, and finishing with a 17-9 record for the upstart D'Backs.

2024 NL Cy Young Contenders

The pitcher who finished fourth on NL Cy Young ballots last season is the favorite entering 2024. Spencer Strider won 20 games and led the MLB with 281 strikeouts for the NL-East champion Atlanta Braves in 2023. Only Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer, and Justin Verlander (twice) have posted higher strikeout totals since 2018, and Strider's 13.9 K/9 was the best rate in the bigs last year. His 3.86 ERA damaged his candidacy, but the Braves ability to score at an elite rate is a convenient offset for him.

According to oddsmakers, Philadelphia's Zach Wheeler is the top challenger to Strider. Wheeler's 16.8 WAR since the start of the 2021 season is tops among MLB pitchers. He finished 6th in Cy Young voting last year and ranked in the NL's top ten in WAR, WHIP, innings, wins, strikeouts, K/9, and BB/9.

Webb and Gallen will look to solidify themselves as top arms in the National League again in 2024. On the heels of career-best seasons, both NL West foes have their work cut out within a competitive division. Webb has the early edge on the odds list, but Gallen's Diamondbacks are projected to finish ahead of the Giants in the race for a Wild Card spot behind the Dodgers.

2022 NL Cy Young runner-up Max Fried missed more than half of his starts last season while dealing with injuries to his hamstring and pitching arm. He was our pick for NL Cy Young a season ago after his stellar 2022 campaign and finished strong in August and September to bolster the hype around his return in 2024. Fried's 2.50 ERA in his last 250 innings is the best mark in the National League, and he'll form a formidable one-two with Strider if healthy this season.

New York's Kodai Senga and Chicago's Justin Steele are the other pitchers who received Cy Young votes in 2023 and shouldn't be left out ahead of this season. Senga was an All-Star during his first season in the MLB and finished in the top three among NL arms in WAR, ERA, and H/9.

With the departures of Verlander and Scherzer late last season, Senga is the leader of the Mets rotation. Steele was also an All-Star in '23 while experiencing his breakout as a major leaguer. His 3.06 ERA and 16 wins ranked third in the NL, and Steele will assume the role of the ace on the Cubs' staff after Marcus Stroman left for the Bronx in free agency.

New Faces Mean New Competition in the NL

The Dodgers by themselves will introduce multiple players to a starting rotation and likely the Cy Young race if the money they've spent yields results. International signee Yoshinobu Yamamoto will make his much-anticipated MLB debut in 2024 after inking a $325M deal with LA less than a week after the Dodgers acquired and extended former Rays' ace Tyler Glasnow. Both pitchers are expected to be among the best in the National League based on past performance and the run support they're expected to receive from a talented lineup.

Yamamoto boasted a 1.82 ERA over seven seasons in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league and won back-to-back league MVPs in 2022-23. Glasnow represents a player who has yet to display his potential across a 162-game season, but he made a career-high 21 starts in 2023 and is healthy entering spring training with the Dodgers.

Another NL West club added significant talent to their pitching staff, with the D'Backs signing Eduardo Rodriguez to a four-year, $80M contract. E-Rod bounced back from an injury-shortened season in 2022 to post a 3.30 ERA and a 13-9 record across 26 starts with Detroit last year. Arizona has a competitive top three of Gallen, Rodriguez, and Merrill Kelly to lead their arms in 2024.

As discussed in our AL Cy Young preview, Sonny Gray is now a member of the Cardinals following his runner-up finish in American League voting last year. Gray and Snell have experienced similar careers, though Gray has a few years on the reigning NL winner. His three All-Star appearances came in 2015, 2019, and 2023, the three seasons he's posted an ERA under 3.00.

Gray received MVP votes in the AL last season after leading the MLB in FIP for the division-winning Minnesota Twins. He's joined a Cardinals' rotation that also added Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn in the offseason following a disappointing finish.

Best Bet: Max Fried +1400 (BetMGM)

We took Fried last season, a play that could have been graded as a loss before the summer began due to his injuries. Looking ahead to 2024, Fried is the Braves pitcher we still like the best as his current number.

He's less volatile in terms of allowing home runs and walks hitters less than half as often as Strider. We see Fried's value as higher between the two, with the main exception being the gaudy strikeout numbers of Strider.

Best Bet: Kodai Senga +2200 (Caesars)

Senga was one of the best pitchers in baseball post-All-Star break last season. He allowed 2 ER or fewer in 13 of his final 15 starts and racked up 109 strikeouts in 89.2 innings (10.9 K/9).

His second-half surge has us feeling optimistic about his second season in Queens, where the Mets are projected to finish around .500.

Best Bet: Jesus Luzardo +4000 (Caesars)

The Marlins young standout ranked fifth in strikeouts per nine innings, sixth in pitching WAR, seventh in FIP, and eighth in ERA among NL pitchers during his first complete season as a starter.

With Sandy Alcantara out for the year, the path has been cleared for Luzardo to be the ace for a Miami team that made the playoffs in 2023. The 26-year-old Peruvian will set an example for rising stars like Eury Perez.

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