Oakland Athletics: Could Mason Miller be a Darkhorse Cy-Young Candidate in 2024?

Mason Miller was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2021 MLB Draft. Since getting drafted, he dominated the minor leagues, forcing the Athletics to finally call him up. He's only played in 6 games and 25.1 innings, but has some thinking he could be the next superstar pitcher.
Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros
Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Mason Miller, since debuting on April 19th, 2023, has shown much potential as a possible Cy-Young candidate. He's played in 6 games with 5 starts, while he's only pitched in 25.1 innings, he's massively thrived. In those 25.1 innings, he's only given up 15 hits and 8 walks while collecting 28 strikeouts. While he hasn't won a game yet with his current 0-2 record, he's been showing that he has the potential to be the future ace of the Athletics.

His current pitch arsenal consists of 4 pitches, a 4-Seam Fastball, a Slider, a Cutter, and a Changeup. His 4-Seam Fastball, which he uses 54.7% of the time, has been his most dominant pitch, averaging 98.5 MPH, while being of the fastest-throwing starters. His Slider, you could say, is his most dominant, but he only uses it only 22.4% of the time because it's mostly his strikeout pitch, leading to 26 plate appearances in which he struck out 42.3% of hitters while having a batting average against on that pitch of .087 compared to the .163 of the fastball. He's struggled to get runners out with his Cutter, allowing them to hit .357 against him with a usage of 19.0%. His final pitch, which he only uses just 3.9% of the time, has finished just been thrown 17 times, leading to hitters going 0-2.

Mason Miller has been one of the most dominant pitchers since debuting. While it's not been the best in many metrics, he's been in the top 10% of some, such as an xERA (expected ERA) of 2.94 vs. his current ERA of 2.84. He's also excelled in not letting hitters hit, with an average against of just .170 and an OBP (On-Base Percentage) of .243, along with an OPS of .503 when the average MLB OPS is around .732.

While he has also thrived being one of the fastest-throwing starters in MLB, he's also thrived at striking batters out at a rate of 28.3% of the time and a 8.1% walk-rate, along with not letting batters barrel the ball often, leading to not many extra-base hits.

Mason Miller, at just 25 years old, has much to still grow, but from everything he has shown in the 2023 season, I would not be surprised if he ends up receiving Cy-Young votes or even winning the award in his career.

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