MLB: Top 5 Pitchers in Baseball
Pitching and defense is usually a winning formula for championships. As the game of baseball progress pitchers who can limit the other team becomes more valuable. Here are my top five pitchers in Major League Baseball today.
Corey Kluber – New York Yankees
A two-time Cy Young award winner and three-time All-Star, Corey Kluber has 17 career complete games and seven shutouts.
For his career, he is 98-58 with a 3.16 ERA in just 10 major league seasons.
He’s won 18 games or more four times. In 2014 he won his first Cy Young award. He went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA in a career-high 34 games started. Kluber had three complete games including a shutout in 235 2/3 innings. He struck 269, a career-high.
Three years later he won the award again, with an 18-4 record and a 2.25 ERA. He tossed five complete games and three shutouts in 203-plus innings. He struck out 265 batters and produced a 0.869 WHIP. His walks per nine innings were a minuscule 1.6 compared to his strikeouts per walk at 7.36.
According to baseballreference.com, he is projected to have a 5-3 record with a 4.15 ERA with one save in 2021. He signed with the New York Yankees for a one-year, $11 million contract in mid-January.
Jacob deGrom – New York Mets
In just seven seasons Jacob deGrom has won two Cy Youngs, Rookie of the Year, and an ERA title. For his career, he is 70-51 overall with a 2.61 ERA and 38.1 WAR. He has three complete games and 1,359 strikeouts to just 284 walks.
The Mets hurler has won 10 games or more four times in seven seasons. His ERA has been over 3.00 twice, and five times his ERA has been in the low to mid-2.50.
He won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2014 with a 9-6 record where he started 22 games. He tossed 140 innings, striking out 144 batters with a 2.69 ERA.
In 2018 he won his first Cy Young award with a league-best 1.70 ERA in 217 IP. He struck 269 batters compared to 46 walks. The next season with a 2.43 ERA in 32 games started. He tossed 204 innings and struck out a career and league-high 255 batters.
Justin Verlander – Houston Astros
Like wine, Justin Verlander continues to get better with age.
He’s an MVP winner, a 2-time Cy Young award winner, and an 8-time All-Star. He has a career 226-129 record with a 3.33 ERA and a 71.8 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) average.
In 10 of his 16 seasons, he led American League pitchers in at least one pitching category or another. Those categories include best winning percentage, most wins, most games started, most innings pitched, lowest ERA, most complete games, most strikeouts, and lowest WHIP.
He’s won 15 games or more 11 times and started at least 30 games or more 13 times. He’s pitched at least 200 or more innings a dozen times. Eleven seasons he’s been in the top 10 for wins. Eight seasons he’s been in the top 10 for ERA, and the list goes on.
Let’s not forget about his postseason numbers. He’s 14-11 in eight playoff years or 19 series with a 3.40 ERA with 30 games started. He’s pitched 187.2 IP and struck out 205 batters.
Verlander is also a member of the 3,000-strikeout club and struck 300 batters in 2019. For his career, he has 26 complete games and nine shutouts.
To sum up it all, in a 162-game average he is 17-10 with a 3.33 ERA. He would start 34 games, toss 224 innings (including two shutouts), strikeout 226 batters with 64 walks.
Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw or “The Claw” as his nickname implies, is a winner.
Every year he shows consistency and continues to scratch his name off another list of accomplishments. He’s an MVP, a pitching Triple Crown winner, a 5-time ERA titleholder, a 3-time Cy Young award winner, an 8-time All-Star, and a Gold Glove winner.
Breaking down his stats into a category is a category in itself. Nine seasons he’s been in the top 10 for ERA. Seven seasons he’s been in the top 10 for wins. Four seasons he’s been in the top 10 for innings pitcher. Eight seasons he’s been in the top 10 for strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Seven seasons he’s been in the top 10 in strikeouts and for shutouts.
In seven of his 13 seasons he’s led the league in either wins, ERA, games started, complete games, shutouts, innings pitched, strikeouts, or WHIP.
Although his postseason numbers don’t mirror his regular season, Kershaw still has numbers. He is 13-12 in 10 years with a 4.19 ERA. He’s tossed 189 IP with two complete games, striking out 207 batters.
Kershaw has earned a 175-76 overall record with a 2.43 ERA and has a 69.6 career WAR. He has 25 career complete games and 15 shutouts.
Craig Kimbrel – Chicago Cubs
Closing this piece out should be no other than a closer.
Craig Kimbrel is the game’s career active saves leader with 348.
In 11 seasons, Kimbrel is a 7-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year winner (2011), and he’s won the award for best closer in both leagues.
He’s had eight seasons being among the top 10 in saves. He led the NL four straight seasons in saves.
Despite his postseason outings, he has a career 0-1 mark with 3.68 ERA in 22 innings pitched with 27 strikeouts.
If you need a fireman to save the day, Kimbrel is the one you’ll want to finish the game.
Who do you feel are the top five pitchers in the game MLB today? Leave a comment below.
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