There is an argument to be made that Blake Snell is not only the front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award, but also the MVP for the San Diego Padres in 2023.
In a season where so much hasn't lived up to its billing, Snell has done that and more, putting together an impressive list of statistics and outings that should net him the NL Cy Young Award. However, there is one stat that may sway voters to cast their ballot in a different direction.
San Diego Padres: Blake Snell's Cy Young hopes could ride on one statistic
Keep in mind that it was Snell that powered the Padres to a win on Wednesday night at Chavez Ravine, limiting a powerful Los Angeles Dodgers lineup to just one hit over six scoreless innings while striking out eight ... and walking just one. Perhaps it's that last number that was the most critical of all as national pundits are already pointing to Snell's walk rate (5.01 percent) as being a bit too high for their liking when considering their Cy Young ballots.
Forget that Snell leads all MLB starters with a 2.43 ERA. Don't look at Snell's other statistics, as AJ Cassavell pointed out in this article, writing Snell "leads the NL in hits per nine innings (5.98) and batting average against (.187), and is second in strikeouts (217, behind Spencer Strider’s 259)." It seems that some may only be looking at one negative statistic to write away Snell's candidacy as a true Cy Young contender.
If that's the case, and Snell keeps throwing as he has in his final starts of the campaign, that will be one of the biggest disappointments of the season for the Padres.
Snell has often been the bright light in a dark season for San Diego. He has been the stopper on the mound more times than could be imagined when the season began. Sure, Spencer Strider and Justin Steele may be helping guide their teams to the postseason, and that may matter more for some voters as well, but it's hard to argue just how good and how valuable Snell has been this season.
While Snell's future in San Diego may be up in the air, there is little doubt what the 30-year-old southpaw has meant to the Padres in the present. While it's certainly a stat-driven voting process, let's hope that one stat doesn't derail what has been an impressive campaign for Snell.