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MLB Power Ranking: Jered Weaver and the 10 Best Current Starting Pitchers

Nathan TannerContributor IIIMay 5, 2011

MLB Power Ranking: Jered Weaver and the 10 Best Current Starting Pitchers

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 31:  Starting pitcher Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim delivers his first pitch during the 1st inning of the opening day game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on March 31, 2011 in Kansas City,
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    While the 2011 season is just over a month old, several pitchers have already made their mark.

    Jered Weaver won six games in the month of April and Francisco Liriano just recorded the season’s first no-hitter.

    In this slideshow, I rank the 10 best current starting pitchers in baseball. I don’t use a single stat to rank them, but instead use a combination of the following:

    ERA (earned run average)

    WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched)

    W-L (wins and losses)

    BAA (opponents batting average)

    K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio)

    The pitchers are ranked based on their performance this season and their statistics are for games played through May 2.

    The season may be young, but here are the 10 best starting pitchers so far.

10. Josh Tomlin, Cleveland Indians

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    CLEVELAND - APRIL 05: Josh Tomlin #43 of the Cleveland Indians pitches in the second inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Progressive Field on April 5, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    ERA: 2.45, W-L: 4-0, WHIP: 0.91, BAA: .188, K/BB: 2.25

    Josh Tomlin does not pitch with a lot of flash, but he has been solid and consistent in 2011.

    While he hasn’t struck out more than four hitters in any game this year, he also hasn’t allowed more than three walks or three earned runs in a game either.

    Tomlin made his big-league debut last year and finished the season with a 6-4 record and a 4.56 ERA.

    This season Tomlin ranks No. 15 in ERA, No. 7 in WHIP and No. 9 in BAA.

9. Kyle Lohse, St. Louis Cardinals

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 21: Starter Kyle Lohse #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Washington Nationals at Busch Stadium on April 21, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    ERA: 2.44, W-L: 4-1, WHIP: 0.83, BAA: .184, K/BB: 3.25

    After two injury-plagued seasons in 2009 and 2010, Kyle Lohse is off to a phenomenal start in 2011.

    His 2.44 ERA is light years better than the 6.55 ERA he posted last year, and he is on pace to pitch his best season yet.

    Prior to giving up five runs in his most recent start, Lohse had only given up a total of four runs in his previous 31.1 innings pitched.

    This season Lohse ranks No. 14 in ERA, No. 4 in WHIP and No. 8 in BAA.

8. Michael Pineda, Seattle Mariners

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    DETROIT - APRIL 28: Michael Pineda #36 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the first inning during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on April 28, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    ERA: 2.01, W-L: 4-1, WHIP: 1.09, BAA: .198, K/BB: 2.50

    Michael Pineda made his major league debut on April 5 against the Texas Rangers and gave up three runs in a loss.

    Since that game, Pineda has recorded a win every time he’s taken the mound.

    He consistently throws a 95 MPH fastball that occasionally hits triple-digits on the radar gun.

    While Pineda holds the No. 5 spot in the rotation, he has been pitching better than the Mariners’ No. 1 guy—Felix Hernandez.

    This season Pineda ranks No. 6 in ERA and No.11 in BAA.

7. James Shields, Tampa Bay Rays

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    ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 07:  Pitcher James Shields #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Texas Rangers during Game 2 of the ALDS at Tropicana Field on October 7, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    ERA: 2.14, W-L: 2-1, WHIP: 0.95, BAA: .211, K/BB: 4.33

    Many remember James Shields as a member of the 2008 Rays team that made the World Series.

    Shields is a very reliable pitcher who has thrown over 200 innings the past four seasons. He had an off year in 2010, but has bounced back in 2011.

    Shields has recorded only two wins this season because his team hasn’t supported him with runs. In his three no-decisions, the Rays totaled only eight runs.

    This season Shields ranks No. 7 in ERA, No. 9 in WHIP, No. 16 in BAA and No. 10 in K/BB.

6. Justin Masterson, Cleveland Indians

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    PEORIA, AZ - MARCH 09:  Relief pitcher Justin Masterson #63 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the MLB spring training game at Peoria Stadium on March 9, 2010 in Peoria, Arizona. The Indians defeated the Mariners 6-4.  (P
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    ERA: 2.25, W-L: 5-0, WHIP: 1.15, BAA: .226, K/BB: 2.23

    Justin Masterson is one of three pitchers who have won at least five games this year.

    He is off to an amazing start in 2011 and is one of the key reasons the Cleveland Indians have the best record in baseball.

    For the Tribe to win the AL Central for the first time since 2007, Masterson must continue to pitch at a high level.

    This season Masterson ranks No. 2 in Wins and No. 10 in ERA.

5. Trevor Cahill, Oakland Athletics

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    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 19:  Trevor Cahill #53 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during an MLB game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 19, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    ERA: 1.88, W-L: 4-0, WHIP: 1.12, BAA: .214, K/BB: 2.75

    Trevor Cahill had a breakout year in 2010. He made the All-Star team, won 18 games and finished the season with a 2.97 ERA.

    Cahill has been even better in 2011. Aside from his April 12 match-up against the White Sox, Cahill hasn’t surrendered more than one earned run in any start.

    Although the A’s aren’t likely to score a lot of runs for him, don’t be surprised if Cahill is in the mix when Cy Young Award voting comes around.

    This season Cahill ranks No. 5 in ERA and No.18 in BAA.

4. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13:  Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers to a Washington Nationals batter during the third inning at Nationals Park on April 13, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    ERA: 2.14, W-L: 4-1, WHIP: 0.99, BAA: .225, K/BB: 6.71

    Expectations for Roy Halladay were incredibly high when he joined the Phillies prior to the 2010 season.

    Halladay responded by earning his second Cy Young Award and went on to pitch a no-hitter in his postseason debut. Not a bad year for the Doc.

    Halladay has continued his dominance in 2011 and is currently on pace to win 20 games for the fourth time in his career.

    This season Halladay ranks No. 7 in ERA, No. 13 in WHIP, No. 2 in K/BB.

3. Dan Haren, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 06:  Dan Haren #24 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches against the Cleveland Indians on September 6, 2010 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    ERA: 1.23, W-L: 4-1, WHIP: 0.75, BAA: .166, K/BB: 5.43

    Dan Haren has thrown over 210 innings and has posted an ERA of less than 4.20 every season since 2005.

    He is off to the best start of his eight-year career and is the only pitcher on this list who has made a relief appearance in 2011.

    On April 9, Haren pitched the 14th inning of the Angels-Blue Jays game and recorded a win. Three days later he took the mound for his usual start and recorded a one-hit shutout.

    Despite having a phenomenal year, Haren has been partly overshadowed by the success of his teammate Jered Weaver.

    This season Haren ranks No. 2 in ERA, No. 2 in WHIP, No. 2 in BAA and No. 4 in K/BB.

2. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 10:  Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reacts on the mound as he waits to be relieved in the eighth inning after recording his 15th strikeout against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 10, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anahe
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    ERA: 1.39, W-L: 6-1, WHIP: 0.83, BAA: .174, K/BB: 5.00

    Jered Weaver came charging out of the gates this year and is the only six-game winner in Major League Baseball.

    While many expected Weaver to be good, few expected him to be this good.

    Weaver has two double-digit strikeout games and set a career-high 15 Ks against the Blue Jays on April 11.

    With slugger Kendrys Morales on the injured list and Vernon Wells failing to produce, Weaver’s pitching has kept the Angels afloat in the AL West.

    This season Weaver ranks No. 1 in Wins, No. 3 in ERA, No. 3 in WHIP, No. 5 in BAA and No. 6 in K/BB.

1. Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins

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    JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Josh Johnson #55 of the Florida Marlins during Photo Day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 23, 2011 in Jupiter, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    ERA: 0.88, W-L: 3-0, WHIP: 0.71, BAA: .130, K/BB: 3.55

    As badly as I want to put Weaver here, the No. 1 spot belongs to Josh Johnson.

    While Weaver has recorded twice as many wins, Johnson has dominated almost every major pitching statistic.

    Johnson is the only pitcher in baseball with an ERA below 1.00 and has given up only four runs all season.

    Opponents have a batting average of .130 when facing him—the lowest average among any pitcher. His 0.71 WHIP is the best in baseball and is almost half the league average (1.32).

    Is it too early to start talking Cy Young?

    Maybe, but it’s definitely safe to rank Josh Johnson as the best starting pitcher in this young 2011 season.

    This season Johnson ranks No.1 in ERA, No. 1 in WHIP and No. 1 in BAA.

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