The Athletic's midseason awards say Kevin Gausman is the AL Cy Young

San Francisco Giants v Toronto Blue Jays
San Francisco Giants v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

The All-Star break is right around the corner, meaning midseason awards time is upon us.

The Athletic recently published their first-half awards and named Toronto Blue Jays ace Kevin Gausman the American League Cy Young winner.

To Blue Jays fans who have the privilege of watching Gausman take the mound every five days, the pick isn't at all surprising. In fact, it's almost a relief that he's getting the recognition he deserves.

In his reasoning for handing Gausman the half-year Cy Young honor, Jayson Stark points out that the lanky right-hander ranks sixth with a 3.04 ERA but is quick to acknowledge that Gausman has "been the best pitcher in his league this year" if you look deeper.

If you subtract his two disastrous starts versus the Astros and Red Sox, which Stark insists can be done due to their weird "pitch-tippy" vibe, Gausman's line against all other comers looks spectacular. He boasts a 7-2 record with a 1.95 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP.

You have to take everything into account, though. Even with those two rough outings, Gausman has been dominant over 18 starts.

"He leads the league in strikeouts (with 146). His strikeout rate (11.98 per nine innings) is now better than Ohtani’s (11.8 after that July 4 start). And this guy has spun off the most starts (seven) of six innings or more and double-digit strikeouts of any pitcher in baseball."

Jayson Stark, The Athletic

Stark also points to the advanced metrics to back up his pick. Gausman's 3.8 fWAR leads all MLB pitchers, and in the AL it's not even really close, with Houston's Framber Valdez posting the second-best fWAR at 3.0.

The same goes for FIP, or the Fielding Independent Pitching metric. The 32-year-old leads the majors with a 2.49 FIP, the only hurler with a sub-2.50 mark. The next closest contender in the AL? Minnesota's Sonny Gray at 2.84.

Something interesting that Stark looked at to help him decide between the top pitchers was the level of competition they had faced this season. Lo and behold, Gausman has thrown the most innings (89 2/3) against teams with a .500 record or better.

So, to recap, Kevin Gausman has been arguably the best, most consistently dominant pitcher in the American League and possibly the entire major leagues, and he has done it against the best competition. But that's something that Blue Jays fans already knew.

It seems like an easy Cy Young award decision to make.