Blue Jays pitchers disrespected in MLB's latest Cy Young poll

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles / Greg Fiume/GettyImages
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The starting pitching of the Toronto Blue Jays has, for the most part, been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season so far in 2024. The health of the staff was largely in question during Spring Training and caused a shuffle in the rotation but the quintet has emerged as the team’s biggest strength at the quarter-mark of the season. 

Jose Berrios got the ball on Opening Day, looked sharp and that outing set the tone for his campaign. "La Makina" has allowed two or fewer runs in all but one of his nine starts this season, including three consecutive scoreless outings from April 8th to 20th. Yusei Kikuchi is coming off his longest start of the season and has pitched at least six innings in each of his last six. Kevin Gausman is coming off a shaky performance against Minnesota this past Saturday but had a 0.75 ERA over his previous four starts.

Despite these strong performances, the Blue Jays’ leading men on the mound have received a lack of respect from the national (American) media. MLB.com has been running a popular series, a Cy Young poll, in which their writers vote on the pitchers most deserving of the most prestigious pitching award. The cumulative poll results in a top five for each league and several others are named as honorable mentions. 

Berrios, fresh off one of the gutsiest showings of his career Monday night in Baltimore, somehow failed to crack the top five. It’s hard to argue with the top two names in the AL poll, Tarik Skubal, and Corbin Burnes, but Twins ace Pablo Lopez was third despite having an ERA over a run higher (3.89) than Berrios’ 2.82 mark. Logan Gilbert and Kutter Crawford round out their top five, much to the chagrin of Jays’ fans. 

The fact that Kikuchi is on any shortlist for best pitcher in the American League is a testament to the work he has put in since being removed from the team’s rotation in 2022. A year after posting a 5.19 ERA and barely reaching 100 innings, Kikuchi was a stabilizing force in 2023, reducing his ERA to 3.86 while making 32 starts and pitching over 167 innings. This season, the lefty has lowered his earned run average to 2.64, and his fastball has appeared dominant.

The Twins continue to have Gausman’s number, but his form in the four starts before Saturday’s matchup should give fans hope. His best showing during that span was on April 28th against Washington when the veteran surrendered just one earned run over seven innings. He’s yet to hit double-digits in strikeouts in a game, but it’s unlikely that streak will last much longer. 

Tracking player's accomplishments can be a worthwhile distraction when your team is going through a tough year. We’re not quite at that point in May, but one thing is for sure, if Berrios, Kikuchi, and Gausman keep this up, they will be snubbed no more.