Major League Baseball's 5 Best Pitchers in 2012

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Major League Baseball's 5 Best Pitchers in 2012
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Justin Verlander continues to raise the bar higher and higher for major league pitchers in 2012.

Lately, it seems that every year in Major League Baseball has been "The Year of the Pitcher." That's because earned-run average has dropped over 0.6 of a run since the 2006 season. Strikeouts per nine innings have risen one full strikeout since the 2005 season.

Yes, in the eternal competition between baseball's "Hatfields and McCoys," the pitchers finally have gained a comfortable arm up against the hitters. Veterans such as New York Mets ace Johan Santana and Chicago White Sox hurler Jake Peavy have enjoyed excellent bounce-back seasons, but young fire-ballers like the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and Washington's Stephen Strasburg have emerged strong on the 2012 pitching landscape.

Here, in early June, I felt this was as good of a time as any to determine who the best five pitchers are in Major League Baseball right now.

My evaluation criteria involves taking into account past performance, but it primarily relies upon the broad range of current statistical performance, with a particular emphasis on earned-run average (ERA), walks and hits per innings pitched (WHIP), strikeouts, ground ball-to-fly ball ratio and, to a lesser extent, total of wins.

Here you go, the top five best pitchers in baseball right now: 

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