If you are a fan of power pitching and strikeout artists, it's never been a better time to watch the game of baseball evolve. Heading into play on May 5, 26 starting pitchers were averaging at least one strikeout per inning. In 2005, only three—Mark Prior, Johan Santana and Jake Peavy—reached that mark.
As the anniversaries of the most recent 20-strikeout performances—Kerry Wood in 1998 and Randy Johnson in 2001—arrive this week, an interesting question arises: Which starter will be the next to join the 20-strikeout club?
The following list singles out 10 dominant arms capable of registering double-digit strikeouts every single time they toe the rubber, but why stop there? Power arms are on the rise, making a list like this open to interpretation and addition, not subtraction.
Last season, teams averaged 1,224 strikeouts, per ESPN. To put that in perspective, Johnson's 2001 feat came during a time when the average team struck out just 1,080 times. Strikeouts have never been easier to achieve in the history of baseball.
Sooner that later, a 20-strikeout performance will occur, perhaps during the 2014 season.
When it does, remember these names.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted, and are valid through the start of play on May 5. All contract figures courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts. Roster projections via MLB Depth Charts.