Ranking the Top Pitchers in Each Major League Division
With all the talk of this year being the "Year of the Pitcher", I thought it would only be more than neccessary to rank the top pitchers (along with the runner up) of each Major League division.
In this day in age, it seems as though there are almost too many good pitchers to evaluate, which makes this job so much tougher than some might think.
I did my best to fairly evaluate and rank the top pitchers in each division. So if you disagree with anything, leaving a comment would be extremely beneficial. Enjoy!
6.) AL CENTRAL: Justin Verlander
For the most part, it has been a down year for the Tiger's ace.
But don't overlook Detroit's placement in the AL Central race, because Verlander's stuff will have major importance come playoff time.
Verlander is one of the best punch out pitcher in the Majors, with a deadly fastball, along with great placement.
RUNNER UP: Carl Pavano
5.) AL EAST: Jon Lester
Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester finds himself in a little bit of a dilemma, of sorts. Pitching in the best division in baseball is no easy task, yet in his last 15 starts, Lester finds himself with an ERA under 3.00, and an 11-1 record.
This was a very tought decision putting Lester in front of starters such as C.C. Sabathia, David Price, Phil Hughes, and fellow teammate Clay Buchholz.
But I believe that the Red Sox will find a way to make the post-season, even though they share a division with Tampa Bay and New York.
Lester has serious importance to Boston's playoff hopes. With Josh Beckett not being his historical self, and Clay Buchholz not having much experience with playoff contention.
RUNNER UP: David Price
4.) AL WEST: Jered Weaver
This is make-or-break time for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as they find themselves just out of arm's reach of the red-hot Texas Rangers who, just found their number one starter in ace Cliff Lee.
Weaver has never really had that good of an ERA, but this season seems to be an acception.
His pitching is key to the Angels' success, having only a number two starter in Joel Piniero.
Most will disagree with my pick, thinking that Cliff Lee is obviously the right pick. But, to be honest, I don't see Lee getting those exceptional numbers that he put up in Philly last year, transferring into Texas.
Weaver -- with the most K's in the Majors, is the smartest pick.
RUNNER UP: Cliff Lee
3.) NL WEST: Ubaldo Jimenez
Young, dominant pitching is the name of the game this year, and Jimenez arguably is the leader of the pack.
Leading the Majors in Wins (15), and 3rd in ERA (2.20), Jimenez will be the biggest factor in the race for the NL West title.
Importance lies within this young-guns' arm, since it seems to look like the Rockies will have to win the division to be able to make the postseason, since other teams such as the Reds/Cardinals seems to be in front of the wild card race.
I do believe that Jimenez will lead this Rockies club into the postseason, taking over the division lead from the hot Padres.
Look for Jimenez to have a Cy Young-type second half of the season.
RUNNER UP: Tim Lincecum
2.) NL CENTRAL: Adam Wainwright
What more can we say than, "Complete Domination"?
The problem is, we can't say much more than that. Dominating batters is what Wainwright is all about, and it has been that way ever since he entered the league.
With the Reds right next to the Cards, and a possible push from the Brewers, there doesn't seem to be many problems for Wainwright and company. But if the Cardinals want to go far in the playoffs, Wainwright will have to be his best, all the time.
RUNNER UP: Yovani Gallardo
1.) NL EAST: Josh Johnson
No pitcher is perfect ALL the time, but Josh Johnson exemplifies perfection in the way he consistently dominates batters.
Best ERA in the Majors (1.62), tied for 6th in the Majors with 130 SO, tied for 2nd in the Majors in WHIP (0.97), and a 10-3 record overall.
Impressed? Well you should be, because this guy is a phenom.
Although the Marlins aren't headed for the postseason, Johnson has major impact in this division because of his dominance to possible playoff teams. He can shut you down left and right, and you better not get caught looking, for his placement is impeccable.
Johnson deserves the title: "Best of the Best". Just don't question his abilities, because you might be hurting afterwards.
True Cy Young right here, folks.
RUNNER UP: Tim Hudson