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MLB Rankings: 2011's Top 10 Pitchers so Far

Jason AmareldCorrespondent IIJune 9, 2011

MLB Rankings: 2011's Top 10 Pitchers so Far

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    2011 has turned into the second year of the pitcher. In both the American and National league, pitchers have been shutting down hitters at an incredible rate. There are over a dozen pitchers that could post 10 or more wins before the all star break.

    Strike-outs are up, hits are down and some pitchers' ERAs are on the lower side of 2.00. As the push for a playoff berth starts to manifest, look for teams with the most pitching depth to be the ones fighting for a spot in October's festivities. 

    There are some new faces and some you have seen for many years. Here are 2011's top 10 pitchers so far.

10. Felix Hernandez

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    2010's Al Cy Young award winner Felix Hernandez is up to his old tricks. It is a shame that he plays in such a small market up in Seattle, especially now that they continue to struggle to score runs and support the pitching staff.

    King Felix currently leads the American League in strike-outs with 97, behind only Cliff Lee for the major league lead. He also has two complete games.

    Felix is currently 6-5 with a 3.20 ERA. He probably should have at least two more wins, but Seattle's lackluster offense gives him very little support; they currently rank 30th in BA and 26th in runs scored.

    His 98.1 innings pitched also leads the American League. Look for King Felix to make another run at the Cy Young if he is able to lower his current 3.29 ERA and increase his winning percentage.

9. Kyle Lohse

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    Kyle Lohse is having one of the best starts to a season in his entire career. He is boasting a 7-2 record with a 2.41 ERA, which is third best in the NL only behind Josh Johnson and Jair Jurrjens. He also has a .99 WHIP, which ranks third in the NL.

    Kyle has one complete game, one shut-out, walked 15 batters and given up only four HR in 86 IP.

    Kyle also has helped turn the St. Louis Cardinals into one of the best teams in Major League Baseball, stabilizing a pitching staff that has been baffeled with injuries.

8. Justin Verlander

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    It seam like every time Justin Verlander takes the hill, he has a chance to throw a no hitter. He has continued to dominate hitters in 2011.  Justin has a 3.04 ERA with two complete games and one shutout.

    Another pitcher who suffers from playing in one of the lower market teams, Verlander is one of the lone stars bringing attention to Detroit, who have played well as of late closing in on the Indians.

    Justin has only six wins, but he also only has three losses. If Detroit can give him more run support, look for his winning percentage to skyrocket, because Justin had one of the most prolific arsenal of pitches in the big leagues today.

    Verlander is currently second in the AL in inning pitched with 94.2 and WHIP .95. Look for Justin to continue to climb this list as the season progresses. 

7. Josh Johnson

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    Josh Johnson would be higher on this list if he hadn't gotten injured. He currently has the best ERA in all of baseball at a minuscule 1.64. Simply incredible. He is also second behind Cole Hamels with a .98 WHIP.  

    Unfortunately, in baseball, the name of the game is winning ball-games, and JJ has only helped the Florida Marlins win three games in nine of his starts.

    Hopefully, Josh Johnson can make it back to Florida soon, because they need him now more than ever.  They have currently lost eight games in a row and have fallen out of second place in the NL East.

    If he comes back strong, look for him to give Roy Halladay and company a run for their money in NL Cy Young voting.

6. Josh Beckett

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    Josh Beckett currently holds the best ERA in the American League at 2.01. He has been consistently dominant all season.

    The only down fall being his lack of innings pitched at 76. He is averaging just over six innings per start, which is good, but the Red Sox are going to need a lot of quality innings from him with the rest of the staff in flux. Hopefully, he can maintain.

    Josh is currently 4-2 and is keeping Boston in almost everyone of his starts. Opponents are only batting .189 against him so far this season. Josh has only given up three HR all season.

    If Josh is able to keep his ERA as low as it is, his wins will come, and he could be in the running for the AL Cy Young Award.

5. Jered Weaver

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Jered Weaver has been on of the most consistent arms in the entire American league. He currently leads the MLB with 100.1 IP.  Jered is currently 7-4 with a 2.24 ERA, which is third in the AL. Weaver is also third in the AL in K's with 90.

    Jered Weaver may have the best command in all of baseball right now. He has .95 WHIP that ranks second in MLB behind Alexi Ogando. Jared also has two complete games. If the Angels find some way to improve their offense, Jered will easily win 20 games.

    If the the Angels wish to make a run at Texas for the AL West crown, Jered and company are going to have to bring their A game in order to control the Rangers' prolific offence.

4. Alexi Ogando

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Without a doubt, the biggest pitching surprise this season is Alexi Ogando of the Texas Rangers. He currently leads the Major Leagues with a .90 WHIP. Alexi also has the hightest winning percentage of any starting pitcher with at least 12 games started. He is currently 7-0. Amazing.

    Alexi does pitch in perhaps the weakest division in baseball, but his numbers are still amazing. Alexi is also only trailing Josh Beckett in ERA in the AL at 2.10 in 81.1 IP. Hitters are only batting .188 against him so far in 2011. He has been one of the toughest pitcher to face this season.

    Everyone in baseball wants to know if he can continue this pace as the summer months continue. If so, look for Texas to make another deep run in October and Alexi to be in the talks for a Cy Young Award.

3. Roy Halladay

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Roy Hallday is at a modest No. 3 on the list, but he is most likely to continue his success as the season goes into summer. He has an unbelievable four complete games this season in only 13 starts. The only thing giving Roy trouble this season is the amount if hits he is giving up, currently at 91.

    His numbers are among the best in baseball in almost every single pitching category: Tied in first with eight wins, second in IP with 98.1, second in K's behind teammate Cliff Lee with 97  and is fifth in the NL wit a 2.56 ERA. WOW! It doesn't get much better than that, folks.

    Roy is the epitome of a competitor; he wants to finish the game every time he takes the mound. He won last season's NL Cy Young Award by a landslide, a season where he pitched both a perfect game and a no-hitter in the playoffs against Cincinnati.

    Roy should win 20 games again this season and look for him to have over 250 strike outs and 250 innings pitched.

    Another Cy Young is at his door step.

2. Cole Hamels

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    We always knew Cole Hamels was one of the greatest left handed pitcher in the game, but after this season, he may take that crown unanimously. In 90.2 innings, Cole has one complete game with a record of 8-2 and a 2.58 ERA.

    Cole is tied for the major league lead with eight wins, and he could easily have 10 wins if the struggling Phillies offence gave him some run support. He also leads the NL with a .95 WHIP.

    Cole is only behind Roy Halladay in the NL in IP with 90.2 and is 5th in the NL in K's with 91. What a start to a pitcher who is known for being a better second half player.

    Cole Hamels has a repertoire of pitches like no one else in the game: a cutter, fastball, curveball and probably the major league's best change-up. He has only walked 18 hitters all season and given up just five HR.

    If Hamels can continue to dominate hitters, he could take the Cy Young Award from teammate Roy Halladay and lead the Major in wins,

1. Jair Jurrjens

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    The best pitcher so far in the 2011 Major League Baseball season is without a doubt the Atlanta Braves Jair Jurrjens. He i currently 7-2 with a 1.75 in 10 starts. His numbers are off the charts. He has only walked 11 batters and given up three HR in 72 IP. He also has one complete game.

    Jair has been absolutely dominant, keeping the Braves in contention in the NL East. The Braves have continues to struggle to score runs, and Jair could easily be 10-0, giving up only two and three runs in the two of his losses and another ending in a no decision.

    Jair has 1.01 WHIP, and batters are hitting.234 against him. Jair has only given up 14 earned runs all season in his 10 starts. 

    Jurrjens continues to impress everyone in baseball, and once he gets some more starts, his other stats will continues to climb and he could end up having one of the most successful seasons in all of baseball.

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