Cubs’ Justin Steele finishes fifth in National League Cy Young voting
Justin Steele had a breakout campaign in 2023 and finished among the league’s best.
Steele finished 5th in the National League Cy Young voting, done by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, on Wednesday night. San Diego’s Blake Snell won the award, taking 28 out of a possible 30 first place votes. The Cubs’ lefty had one second-place vote, two third-place votes, eight fourth-place votes and six fifth place votes. San Francisco’s Logan Webb, Arizona’s Zac Gallen and Atlanta’s Spencer Strider rounded out the top five.
The lefty finished the year with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in 30 starts. Steele was 16-5 in 173.1 innings across 30 starts and emerged as the Cubs’ ace this year. Snell had a 2.25 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in 180 innings across 32 starts. Snell is a free agent this offseason.
For much of the season, Steele appeared to be a front-runner for the award along with Snell. That was highlighted by a pair of starts in early September. Against the Giants on September 4, Steele struck out 12 and allowed just 2 hits and a pair of walks in 8 innings. In his next outing against the Diamondbacks, Steele allowed just 1 run on 6 hits while striking out 6 in 7 innings.
Steele struggled over his last 3 outings, allowing 15 runs in 14.1 innings.
Snell saved his best for last. He allowed runs in just one of his five starts in September, including 7 innings of no-hit ball against the Rockies on September 19.
Steele figures to be a key piece for the Cubs’ rotation in 2024. As the Cubs look to content next season, Steele’s ability to build on 2023 could help the team. Behind him, the Cubs will rely on Jameson Taillon, Kyle Hendricks and some combination of Drew Smyly, Jordan Wicks and Javier Assad. The Cubs will likely be looking for some reinforcements this offseason to bolster their rotation.