It has been a great year to be a pitcher. There have already been six no-hitters thrown this season, including three perfect games. The most recent came on Wednesday when Mariners ace Felix Hernandez threw a perfecto against the Tampa Bay Rays.
There are few things harder to predict than a no-hitter, as so many things have to go right for a pitcher to accomplish the feat. Here are how I would peg the odds on who throws baseball's next no-hitter.
The odds are set up like the betting odds for a golf tournament. For example, if you were to bet $10 on "The Field" whose odds are at +110 then the payout would be $11. If you bet $10 on Justin Verlander whose odds are at +350 then the payout would be $35, and so on.
The Field: +110
If there is one thing that is certain about no-hitters it is that there is no way to be certain who will throw the next one and when it will happen. For every Felix Hernandez that throws one there is a Phil Humber who also accomplishes the feat.
Justin Verlander: +350
Verlander already has two no-hitters under his belt; he threw one in 2007 and one last season, but he also he threw a one-hitter in May of this year. All statistics aside, he is the best pitcher in baseball right now and the most likely to go out and throw a gem in any given start.
Clayton Kershaw: +400
Kershaw currently ranks fourth in baseball with a 6.91 H/9 mark and he has already led the league in that category twice at 6.3 in 2009 and 6.7 last season. He's twirled a five-hitter and six-hitter in complete-game shutouts already this season, and when he's on he is more than capable of blanking a team over nine innings.
R.A. Dickey: +450
Dickey has been one of the surprise stories of 2012, as his dominant first half was highlighted by back-to-back one-hitters. On the season, he has four complete games and a pair of shutouts as he is more than capable of pitching deep into games.
When his knuckleball is really dancing he can put hitters away, as evidenced by his six games with double-digit strikeouts. He is more than capable of twirling a no-no.
David Price: +600
Price has a 7.6 H/9 mark for his career—that mark is at 7.3 this season as he continues his climb into the upper echelon of starters in baseball. He has overpowering stuff and great command of all of his pitches, and while he may not be the next to do it there is a solid chance that he will throw one before his career is over.
Madison Bumgarner: +600
Bumgarner has continued to improve each season since breaking into the league at the age of 19 back in 2009. His numbers this season rank him among the best in baseball, and he threw a one-hit shutout at a good Reds team back in late June.
Chris Sale: +800
Sale has thrived in his first season as a starter, showing dominant stuff at times including a 15-strikeout performance against the Rays back in May. With a good strikeout rate, solid 7.1 H/9 mark and frontline stuff Sale could put the cherry on top of a breakout season by throwing a no-hitter down the stretch.
Stephen Strasburg: +1000
On pure stuff alone, Strasburg has as good a chance as anyone in baseball of throwing a no-hitter because he is a legitimate once-in-a-generation talent and has shown no ill effects after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
However, he has only pitched past the sixth inning five times this season, never past the seventh and he is nearing his innings limit so it seems unlikely that Strasburg will get a chance to achieve the feat this season. If there are no more no-hitters thrown this year though, he has as good a chance as anyone to throw the first of 2013.
Repeat Performer (2012): +2000
Only five pitchers have thrown more than one no-hitter in a season, with Johnny Vander Meer (1938), Allie Reynolds (1951), Virgil Trucks (1952), Nolan Ryan (1973) and Roy Halladay (2010) accomplishing the feat.
This season has seen Phil Humber, Jered Weaver, Johan Santana, Matt Cain and Felix Hernandez all accomplish the feat, and because this list includes some of the best in the business there is at least an outside chance of it happening.