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NY Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker has entered the Cy Young candidate chat

May 29, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker (99) pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
May 29, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker (99) pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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It’s early. Few teams are hitting. A lot can change. Whatever excuse you want to make. Whatever angle you want to knock the thought down. I dare you to say New York Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker is not an early Cy Young Award candidate.

Yes, it’s only nine starts. And yes, he has to take the mound again to cross the 50 inning threshold. Whichever negative aspect you want to cite as a reason for Mets fans to not get excited, go sit in that corner. You’re wrong. Walker has been nothing short of magnificent.

How has Walker done it? A strikeout per inning, an ERA of 1.84, and a 0.94 WHIP headline what may ultimately become one of the best free agent pitching signings in club history.

The Mets have more Cy Young candidates than Taijuan Walker

Of course, with the Mets playing as well as they have minus many of their regular position players, you would think the pitching has carried them. This is completely true and the main reason why we’re not in early June wondering if we should invest any more time in this team.

Alongside Walker, Jacob deGrom has yet again distinguished himself as the best pitcher in baseball. Despite missing a few starts already, he has some of the league’s best numbers from the mound. A clear frontrunner for the award, he’s also joined by Marcus Stroman as another guy who could swoop in and take the honor by season’s end.

Stroman is a little further behind deGrom and Walker at this point of the season. Health has been on his side. However, in a year where pitchers are making hitters look ridiculous, I still think it will be hard for him to overcome the lack of strikeouts he usually has by the end of the year.

Who will reign Cy Young supreme?

Two months is hardly enough for us to declare a winner. In an Election Day context, it’s like knowing who the president will be at 9am.

In 2021, having an ERA below 2.00 might not be as impressive as it has been in years past. There may be more than a large handful of pitchers flirting with this remarkable feat.

The amazing thing about what the Mets starting pitchers are doing is that they could have potentially had even more company in the Cy Young race if they were made of invincible iron. Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard have yet to pitch for the Mets. Those two certainly have Cy Young potential in their back pockets whenever they’re at their best.

Best offensive teams in Mets history. Next

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Walker has never received any Cy Young consideration in his previous eight seasons. This isn’t necessarily a surprise given how many partial seasons he has pitched. Walker came into 2021 with only three seasons of more than 20 starts and the 2020 season where he made 11. This year, he looks better than ever. Does it end with a Cy Young victory? I wouldn’t bet on it but I do think we see him receive some consideration. A great personality and a fresh face for the game, the voters would like to see someone new on their ballot.

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