David Price Leads 6 MLB Pitchers off to Scorching Start

Jim MorisetteCorrespondent IIIMay 5, 2012

David Price Leads 6 MLB Pitchers off to Scorching Start

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    One of the greatest things about the game of baseball is that it is filled with pitching greats who put up eye-popping numbers. It is also filled with great streaks, surprises and hurlers that emerge from nowhere to take the game by storm.

    As you will see, this 2012 big-league baseball campaign is no exception.

    In this slideshow, I will highlight six MLB hurlers that have gotten off to tremendous starts in the 2012 season.

David Price

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    I call David Price the Bird of Prey. Price is tall, he is lanky, and he looks like he is coming into his own with the Rays. Already in his fifth season, it is hard to imagine Price is just 26 years old. It seems just like yesterday Price was thrust into the postseason spotlight for the Rays in 2008.

    Currently, this left-handed flame thrower boasts a 5-1 record with a 2.35 ERA for the Rays. Price has 35 strikeouts and a respectable WHIP of 1.12. Dominant, Price is averaging 8.22 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

    If Price can stay healthy, he should stay in the American League Cy Young conversation all season long.

James Shields

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    As if opposing hitters did not have enough to deal with in David Price in a series, here comes the 6'4", 215-pound monster James Shields strolling to the mound.

    Many baseball forecasters said last season was Shields' breakout campaign. With a 16-12 record, a 2.82 ERA and 225 strikeouts, who could argue otherwise?

    Yet Shields is looking to smash his 2011 performance this season. So far the 30-year-old California native is on the right track. While Shields' ERA is a bit high at 3.70, it is hard to argue with a 5-0 start and 39 strikeouts.

    Right now Shields is right behind Price in the race for the American League Cy Young. Obviously, Shields needs to get his ERA down, but he is off to a great start regardless.

Jered Weaver

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    I am a huge fan of LA Angels hurler Jered Weaver. With a 6-0 start to the 2011 big league season, many thought Weaver was going to have a record-breaking year. A mild slump in May put a dent in Weaver's quest, but he still had an outstanding 18-8 season.

    This year, Weaver looks equally impressive. Currently, he is 4-0 with a 1.68 ERA. Weaver has already amassed 45 strikeouts to just seven walks. He averages over nine strikeouts per nine innings.Weaver's WHIP is an eye-popping 0.78.

    Not to mention Minnesota Twins hitters must still be having nightmares of Weaver after he no-hit them recently.

    Barring a major injury or letdown, Weaver has a great chance to run away with the AL Cy Young award.

Yu Darvish

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    Has Texas Rangers phenom Yu Darvish lived up to high expectations or what? At least this far he has. After a rocky first start, this 6'5" fireballer from Japan has dominated big-league hitters.

    Darvish is currently 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA. While a little wild at times, as his 33 strikeouts and 17 walks can attest, Darvish (like Jered Weaver), averages nine strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

    But give Darvish credit. He has adjusted well to life in America and on the big-league stage. Look for this young gun's numbers to come down as the season progresses.

    The Rangers will have to pace this young man, however, so as not to burn him out down the stretch.

    But the fact he is in the AL Cy Young conversation says a lot.

Lance Lynn

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    Where the heck did 24-year-old Cardinals hurler Lance Lynn come from? Seemingly and quietly out of the blue, this 6'5", 250-pound beast of a man out of Ole Miss University has taken the National League by storm.

    Right now, Lynn is the early favorite for the NL Cy Young Award. He is 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA. Lynn has amassed 30 strikeouts compared to just seven walks in 33.2 innings pitched.

    Lynn's WHIP? Just 0.77.

    Of course, many wonder if Lynn, in his first full season as a starter, can maintain this torrid pace.

    While the jury is still out, it is nice to see ballplayers like Lynn rise to stardom so quietly.

    But I bet Cardinals fans are enjoying their team's new secret weapon.

Johnny Cueto

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    Reds hurler Johnny Cueto looked like he was poised for a breakout season last summer before he was hit with injury.

    So far this season, Cueto looks like a man on a mission to win the NL Cy Young.

    This workhorse has thus far compiled a 4-0 record with a 1.31 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 41.1 innings pitched. Cueto's WHIP is 0.99. He has walked just seven hitters.

    Should Cueto stay healthy, he could be in for a memorable season that may very well catapult him to big-league stardom.

    Stay tuned.

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