1. Matt Harvey, NYM
2013 Stats: 4-0, 1.44 ERA, 0.73 WHIP
Matt Harvey has taken the country by storm this season.
Although the Mets have been bottom-feeders for years now, make no mistake about it: Harvey’s the real deal.
In 56.1 innings, Harvey already boasts a 62/14 K/BB ratio, as well as an unbelievable 27 hits allowed. He has only allowed more than one earned run twice this season, proving how consistently dominant he has been.
In fact, Harvey’s worst outing was arguably his most recent outing against a strong Pittsburgh Pirates lineup. But even on a bad day, Harvey can still will himself to throw seven innings for five hits and two earned runs.
As for the rest of the Mets pitching staff, they have not been so special. Of the five other Mets to start a game this season, the player with the next-best ERA is Jeremy Hefner at 4.61.
The Mets have something special in Harvey, and he is already one of the best in the game.
2. Jordan Zimmermann, WSH
2013 Stats: 7-1, 1.69 ERA, 0.87 WHIP
Jordan Zimmermann may not be as flashy as Harvey with his pitches, but Zimmermann has been just as good this season.
So far, Zimmermann has allowed just 42 hits and nine walks in 58.2 innings. Zimmermann is not a commanding pitcher, as his mere 39 strikeouts portrays, but he has unbelievable control and presence on the mound.
Zimmermann also has the unfortunate task of playing with two big headline-grabbers in Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg.
This season, though, Zimmermann has been the best of the trio. He is quietly having one of the best seasons in baseball.
3. Cliff Lee, PHI
2013 Stats: 4-2, 2.86 ERA, 1.08 WHIP
While the aging Phillies are struggling as a whole, the 34-year-old Cliff Lee continues to dazzle opponents.
Lee’s strikeouts are down a bit, as he currently has 43 in 56.2 innings in 2013. But Lee has still allowed just 52 hits and an incredible nine walks so far. Thus, don’t take his declining strikeout rate too seriously; Lee can still get the job done.
With Cole Hamels struggling and Roy Halladay imploding before his recent shoulder surgery, the Phillies really need Lee to step up all year.
Based on his current form, Lee looks set for another superb year.
4. Mike Minor, ATL
2013 Stats: 5-2, 2.75 ERA, 0.97 WHIP
Mike Minor was one of the best pitchers in the second half of 2012, and he is picking up right where he left off.
In last year’s second half, Minor was 6-4 with a 2.16 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in 87.1 innings. This season, Minor’s numbers are almost identical. Minor also has a respectable 42 strikeouts in 52.1 innings so far, which is above his normal output.
Minor’s seven home runs allowed are a bit worrying, but he has still been fantastic thus far for a first-place Braves team.
5. Kevin Slowey, MIA
2013 Stats: 1-3, 2.55 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
The Marlins may be on their way to a 100-loss season, but Kevin Slowey is certainly doing his part to prevent that.
In 49.1 innings, Slowey only has 36 strikeouts but has also allowed just 45 hits and 11 walks.
Aside from Slowey’s lone victory, where the Marlins erupted for 14 runs, Slowey has never had a cushion to work with. The Marlins have scored more than two runs just once in Slowey’s starts, and even then they only managed three runs.
That makes it even tougher to work as a pitcher, so Slowey’s strong start is even more impressive. He has been a bright spot on an embarrassing Marlins season.
6. Stephen Strasburg, WSH
2013 Stats: 1-5, 3.10 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
Stephen Strasburg has not lived up to his unbelievable expectations so far, but he has still had a strong season.
Aside from one bad outing, Strasburg has been dominant. He has recorded 51 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 49.1 innings. If you take away the one bad outing, Strasburg’s numbers improve to a 2.25 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.
Strasburg will likely find a groove and improve on his command, especially on the five home runs he has already allowed. He will also likely improve on his terrible winning percentage to begin the season, especially on such a strong Nationals team.
When that time comes, Strasburg should find himself near the top of the actual All-Star ballot in July.