Entering the month of September, there seemed to be a real chance for Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Justin Steele to win the National League Cy Young Award.
Steele and the Cubs, at the start of September, appeared to be a lock for making the post-season and many National League Cy Young award voters had Steele as the favorite entering the final month of the season.
Steele struggled during the final month of the season to the tune of a 4.91 ERA in 29.1 innings pitched and couple that with San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell posting a 0.58 ERA in September, and it became clear that the Padres' ace would win the award.
Snell was officially named the NL Cy Young Award winner on Tuesday.
Steele finished fifth in voting and while there could be an argument that he should have finished higher, in the end, his struggles during September likely resulted in his slide in voting.
Still, the Cubs should feel encouraged that Steele was under consideration for the award. While Steele had impressed in his move to the starting rotation during the second half of the 2022 season, it remained to be seen how effective he could be in the rotation with a full season's workload.
Steele's emergence as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher should give the Cubs confidence in their pitching infrastructure. With Jordan Wicks having success in the rotation at the end of the season and top prospects Ben Brown and Cade Horton expected to be a part of the Major League pitching staff at some point during the 2024 season, the Cubs have proven that they can get the most out of their top pitching prospects.
That is not to say that the Cubs won't target starting pitching this off-season, they still need stability at the top of their rotation. But, in the long term, the Cubs pitching staff appears to be in a good spot.