In an era where starting pitchers rarely go the distance – or even get close – Sandy Alcantara is blazing his own path in 2022. Those long starts might just carry him to the NL Cy Young Award.

Sandy Alcantara NL Cy Young odds
Sandy Alcantara has thrown two complete games this year and taken a clear lead in the race for the National League Cy Young Award. (Image: Laurence Kesterson/AP)

FanDuel Sportsbook lists Alcantara as the +180 favorite to win the National League Cy Young, making him the clear pick to take the award this year.

Alcantara shows mettle in win over Braves

Alcantara has pitched brilliantly for the Miami Marlins, posting a league-leading 1.95 ERA and an 8-3 record. The fact that he’s thrown 115.1 innings this year is what truly separates him from the crowd, though. In 16 starts, Alcantara has averaged over seven innings per start, and hasn’t thrown less than seven in his past 10 outings. Alcantara leads the National League in innings pitched by nearly 20 over Aaron Nola, and he’s the only pitcher in the league with more than a single complete game this season.

His will to pitch was on full display on Wednesday night against the Atlanta Braves. With the Marlins leading 4-3 in the ninth, he surrendered a walk and a single, prompting manager Don Mattingly to visit him on the mound.

“I wasn’t taking him out on that one, but I did want to see where he’s at,” Mattingly told reporters afterwards. “I wasn’t going to promise him two hitters, but I was going to give him that one.”

Sure enough, Alcantara got out of the inning and completed the game by getting Edmundo Sosa to hit into a double play. Alcantara threw 117 pitches in the win, a career-high.

Afterward, reporters asked Alcantara if he’s now the best pitcher in the majors — a question he artfully dodged.

“I don’t know,” he said. “There’s a lot of good pitchers right now. I don’t have to say I’m the best, but I’ve got to keep doing my job. Keep positive and keep competing.”

Burnes, Musgrove chasing in NL Cy Young race

Alcantara has pitched well enough to earn an All-Star Game start and to win a Cy Young Award. His biggest advantage, however, is just how many more innings he’s thrown compared to his closest competition.

NL Cy Young Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)
Sandy Alcantara: +180 Corbin Burnes: +550
Joe Musgrove: +650 Zack Wheeler: +1500
Max Fried: +1500 Carlos Rodon: +1500

Corbin Burnes (+550) rates as the second choice for NL Cy Young at FanDuel Sportsbook. Burns has struck out a league-leading 119 batters to go along with a 6-4 record and a 2.41 ERA. He’s thrown just 93.1 innings, far behind Alcantara’s output.

The other top contender, San Diego’s Joe Musgrove (8-1, 2.12), has thrown even less, pitching for just 85 innings in 13 starts so far this season. The problem for the other contenders isn’t just that Alcantara has arguably been the best pitcher inning for inning, but that he’s done that while also pitching significantly more – making him the clearly most valuable pitcher in the National League to this point.