The 10 Best MLB Starting Pitchers This Season
Well, this week officially marks the conclusion to the first month of baseball.
There have been many surprises across the league of baseball, from the Marlins off to a hot start to the Dodgers going undefeated at home.
This will be purely performance-based and not heavily weighted on a pitcher's Win-Loss record.
This slide show will showcase the 10 best pitchers in the Major Leagues at this current time. Stay tuned for other positions in the upcoming weeks.
If you disagree with a top 10 pick, please go ahead and leave me a comment with who you think should be taken out and who should replace the player. I would love to compare the two players side by side.
10. Wandy Rodriguez
Wandy is a 30-year-old pitcher for the Houston Astros. His career thus far has been subpar with a 4.64 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP, but this season Wandy has stepped up in a big way for the 'Stros.
Wandy Rodriguez holds one of the best ERAs in the League this season with a 2.19 mark.
In six games and 37 innings pitched, Wandy has compiled 30 strikeouts, a 1.14 WHIP, and 15 walks.
His numbers are undeniably good this season with only nine runs allowed.
I would not go far enough to call this a fluke, but do not expect Wandy to keep it up at this pace for the rest of the season. He may end the year with a personal career season, but that does not mean it will garner Cy Young votes.
9. Yovani Gallardo
This 23-year-old from Mexico has a mid-90s fastball with two very nice breaking balls, his slider and curveball. Gallardo faced various injuries for the majority of last season and did not get a chance to showcase his talent.
This top performer is looking to be the head of the Brewers staff for years to come.
So far this season, Yovani has posted a 3.02 ERA in six games (one complete game).
One very impressive stat is only 28 hits in 41.2 innings pitched. His IP/H ratio is very impressive and definitely among the league leaders.
His .187 batting average against and 0.96 WHIP are also phenomenal for this 23-year-old Brewer.
His 39 strikeouts to 12 walks is definitely above average for the K:BB ratio as well.
I expect Gallardo to continue his tremendous success this season. I would not be surprised to see him end the season on this list as well.
8. Chris Volstad
Drawing comparisons to Roy Halladay, this 6'8" 22-year-old has made his presence on the mound known.
Chris Volstad, the first round selection of the Marlins in the 2005 MLB Player Draft, has impressed many people so far this season.
Boasting a 2.76 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 29 Ks in 32.2 innings is pretty impressive for a 22-year-old.
His K/BB ratio (29/14) is decent, but his .176 batting average against is outstanding.
The funny thing is Volstad has given up five home runs this season but has still only allowed 10 total runs.
With only 21 hits allowed on the season, I would not be surprised to see him flourish for the rest of the year.
He may have a few ups and downs but should end the year with a solid era in the mid-three range with a 2:1 K:BB ratio. Watch out for Volstad as he matures with the young Florida Marlins.
7. Josh Johnson
It is funny having back-to-back Florida Marlins on the list but they definitely warrant the appearances.
Chris Volstad may not be the best pitcher on his team at the moment. That may belong to this man, Josh Johnson.
Johnson has an incredibly large frame at 6'7" and uses his fastball, changeup, and slider to blow away batters. This 25-year-old holds a 2.57 ERA and 1.05 WHIP on the season.
His 38 strikeouts to six walks is probably his most impressive stat. That ratio is beyond fascinating after making six starts already.
He still manages to hold teams to under one hit an inning (42 IP and 38 hits allowed) and has even pitched a complete game this season.
Watch out for Johnson as he will continue his dominance. Top five in the Cy Young voting would definitely not be out of the question. I expect a great year out of Josh.
6. Tim Lincecum
Do not let Lincecum's unorthodox delivery fool you; this reigning Cy Young winner continues his dominance yet again.
Only 24 years old, not much needs to be said about Lincecum. His stuff is just filthy.
His 3.05 ERA and 1.20 WHIP on the year are pretty good, but his 50 strikeouts are even better.
With a little under a hit an inning (38.1 IP, 34 H), Tim's batting average against is above his career average. Do not be alarmed. It is still a measly .236 on the season.
I obviously expect another Cy Young-caliber season out of Timmy and can see him finishing at least top five in voting when all is said and done. Expect another phenomenal season out of Lincecum.
5. Johnny Cueto
Johnny Cueto is having a great season for the Cincinnati Reds.
The 1.65 ERA is his most impressive stat, followed by the 1.04 WHIP. His 29 strikeouts and only nine walks also shows how well he pounds the plate.
He has only allowed 25 hits on the season in 32 innings with a .214 batting average against.
Cueto has only allowed six runs all season, but my only beef with him is that he has faced the Astros and Pirates twice. I would like to see what he can do against other teams before I further determine where to rank him.
Overall, Cueto will have a season comparable to last. His ERA should hover around 3.50 with a good K:BB ratio. Expect this guy to help lead the Reds for several seasons to come.
4. Chad Billingsley
Chad Billingsley has helped lead the Dodgers to their hot start this season, going 5-0. This 24-year-old has been lights out for this organization.
Forty-two strikeouts in 40 innings is one of my favorite stats, along with the 2.21 ERA and .188 BAA.
Billingsley definitely looks like he will lead the Dodgers into the postseason and be the ace of this staff.
Twenty-six hits in 42 innings is incredible for this righty that leads the NL in wins.
Expect Chad to have a great season. His ERA may rise a little, but his strikeouts to innings pitched should stay around 1:1. Watch out for Billingsley come playoff time.
3. Dan Haren
Yet another under the radar season from Danny. He is by far one of the most underrated players in the game today.
Do not let his 3-3 record fool you—Dan still has a 1.47 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, and a .167 BAA. Those are top tier in the MLB.
Only walking seven batters in 43 innings, Haren has compiled 47 strikeouts this season. He is quietly adding to his outstanding career thus far.
His sharp split-finger fastball, changeup, curve, and fastball help him dominate the National League.
Dan definitely pounds the zone, throwing a ton of strikes, and is usually prone to giving up homers. Thankfully this season Haren has only given up three. Expect Haren to have another fantastic season to add to his résumé.
2. Johan Santana
Johan Santana is back to his Cy Young form (not that he really left).
Santana, a two-time Cy Young winner, has one of the best starts to a season in his career.
Lets see—a 1.10 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 44 Ks, 22 H, 9 BB, and 4 ER, all over 32.2 innings this season.
Not much to argue against. He is currently the best pitcher in the National League, and if he keeps it up, he can add to his trophy collection.
Unfortunately the Mets are not following suit and performing remotely close to what Johan is this season. Expect yet another great season from Johan but a bad finish for the Mets.
1. Zack Greinke
Zack Greinke is the best in the majors. Only 25 years old.
What else has to be said?
Honestly, there is no argument here:
6-0—best in the majors? Check
0.40 ERA—best in the majors? Check
54 Ks—most in the majors? Check
3 CG—most in the majors? Check
...OK, I will stop there, but Zack is having the season of his career. It does not get much better than this folks. I do not know if I can see him continuing to be THIS dominant, but I certainly would be shocked if he didn't end the year with the Cy Young award—who knows, maybe even MVP?
The Just Missed List
Well, here are the other contenders for the first few spots on this list. If you have a valid argument for any of them, please make it. Would love to hear all opinions.
This list is completely dominated by National League pitchers. I wonder if it is because of weaker NL lineups or if the National League is just stacked this year (I will take the latter).
The average age of most of these pitchers on the list is probably around 24. That just goes to show that youth is key.
Stay tuned for other top 10 position lists in upcoming weeks. Thank you!