A strong 2024 finish for Luis Castillo could earn him his first Cy Young

Luis Castillo had a chance to win the Cy Young but faltered in September. Here's why 2024 will be different for the Mariners Ace
Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros / Bob Levey/GettyImages
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For two years in a row, the Mariners have gone into the preceding season with a starting pitcher having left a sour taste in the mouths of fans based on how they finished the season. In 2022, it was the incredibly idiotic move by Scott Servais to put Robbie Ray in against Yordan Alvarez (instead of Erik Swanson). In 2023, it was the two-game finish by Luis Castillo, who finally faltered when the Mariners needed him.

Yes, both of those sucked as fans. However, it seems that many a fan forgot about how the pitcher did leading up to that point. In 2022, Ray had a 2.97 ERA over his final 20 starts of the season, leading the Mariners rotation. Yet it was that dumb move by Servais that had a lot of fans thinking that Ray wasn't good.

Luis Castillo is a frontrunner for the 2024 Cy Young, deservedly so

It seems something similar is surrounding Luis Castillo because of his final two games in 2023. Yes, he got hit hard by Texas and Houston in the final two games, and it sucked as a fan. The first 31 starts of the season, he had a 3.06 ERA. Even more impressive, in the 8 starts before that, Castillo had a 2.65 ERA and the team won all 8 games.

Here's the thing. If he would've closed down Houston and Texas to finish the year, he might've won the Cy Young over Cole. Take a look at the starts he had most recently against the Rangers and Astros. In July, he threw 7 scoreless innings against the Astros (one unearned run). In June, he threw 7 innings against the Rangers, giving up just one run. He finishes strong, the Mariners make the playoffs due to that 10-outing stretch, and you're looking at a 16-7 record, a 200+ inning season, a 220+ strikeout season, and a 3.04 (or so) ERA.

Entering 2024, Castillo is a top-5 pitcher in Cy Young odds, and it makes sense. He gets strikeouts. He goes deep into games. He leads the staff. His team should be a playoff contender. Those are a bunch of factors that the voters look at. Whether or not they should be, it's something that plays a role in determining who wins. Castillo checks all the boxes.

He put himself in a great position to do it in 2023, but fell just a bit short at the end of the year. With a better offense (potentially) to support him, the backing of MLB in expecting him to lead the league in ERA, and an Ace repertoire, Luis Castillo is in a great position to win the Cy Young in 2024.