Best pitcher in baseball? Zac Gallen continues making his case

Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Zac Gallen did it again.

The starting pitcher on Wednesday won his fourth consecutive start — all without allowing a run. He recorded a season-high 12 strikeouts as the Diamondbacks pulled into a virtual tie for the National League West division lead by beating the Kansas City Royals 2-0 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

It continued Gallen’s dominant April, and will fuel talk that he is among baseball’s best pitchers.

April belongs to Gallen

Now in his fourth full season with Arizona, the 27-year-old Gallen is coming into his own as a dominant force on the mound.

Following a 2022 season that saw him record a career-high 12 wins, a 2.54 earned run average, and 192 strikeouts, Gallen appears to be getting even better. This month, the former Miami Marlin has recorded 44 strikeouts to only two walks. Opposing batters this season haven’t had much luck getting on base against him — Gallen has allowed an opponents’ batting average of only .178.

Gallen leads the National League not only in strikeouts, but also in innings pitched, showing he can maintain his dominance over long stretches.

A contract standoff on the horizon?

The Diamondbacks have Gallen signed on a one-year contract worth $5.6 million. He is arbitration-eligible in 2024 and 2025 before he is eligible to become a free agent and sign with any team.

Signing Gallen while he’s still far away from free agency — and before he could command one of the richest contracts ever given to a starting pitcher — would be the ideal scenario for Arizona, a team in a large media market with money to spend.

One thing is for sure — assuming he stays healthy, Gallen will only continue to get better and increase his value.