If you are the kind of person that is so good at playing fantasy baseball, making incredible moves, it may interest you to get information about premier players with outstanding performances. With the many aces in baseball, it becomes so challenging to pick up the top pitchers. It is easier to rattle off big names than to rank them.
However, this piece of the article brings to your awareness the top 5 pitchers in the past year. Though the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a huge blow to the MLB since March, nevertheless, it’s good to have the sport back. The metrics employed in the ranking include career success, recent performance, and expectations for the next season.
- RHP Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
Despite the challenging moments he had experienced, including his contest for the “Ace of New York” title from the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom still tops the list. His dominance in 2018 helped his ERA increase by 0.73 in the following year, making him end the 2018 season 10-9 with a 1.70 ERA. In the same year, he was named an NL Cy Young winner. After award winner Christian Yelich, he became the only player to receive a first-place vote.
In 2019, he set a career that was high in strikeouts. Having posted a 7–1 record with 117 strikeouts and a 1.44 ERA, he won the Cy Young Award the second time, making him the 11th pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards. Of course, it was a historical feat. Though the 2020 season was shortened, he led the National League (NL) in strikeouts for the second consecutive season. Though he finished 3rd in NL Cy Young Award voting in the 2020 season, he still maintains his position as a dominant right-hander. Besides, he is still in the prime of his career.
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- RHP Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees
Gerrrit Cole shares many traits with Jacob deGrom. With his 326 strikeouts with the Astros in 2019, he made remarkable history as the 18th pitcher in the major league to strike out a minimum of 300 batters in a season. After signing a nine-year contract worth $324 million with the Yankees in 2019, he became the pitcher with the largest contract in major league history.
During his debut at NY Yankees as an Opening Day starting pitcher, he threw 5 innings against the Washington Nationals and attained 20 winning streaks during his regular season. Though he took four losses, including against the Atlanta Braves, he finished his first Yankee season with a 7–3 record and 94 strikeouts, while also throwing to a 2.84 ERA in 73 innings.
As a power pitcher, he would regularly throw between 98-100 MPH while featuring a four-seam and two-seam fastball. He hasn’t slowed down yet though.
- RHP Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
In the 2010s, Scherzer recorded more wins and strikeouts at 161 and 2,503, respectively, than any pitcher. As a three-time Cy Young Award winner who has also pitched two no-hitters, his dominance seems not to be fading anytime soon. He led Washington to its first World Series title in the 2019 season to face Houston Astros, the American League pennant-winning team, after having a 2.40 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 30 innings.
With a minimum of 10 strikeouts and no walks issued in all his games in June 2019, Scherzer was named, for the sixth time, the NL Pitcher of the Month. His throws average between 92–96 mph (topping out at 99 mph). He earned the nickname, “Mad Max” after demonstrating an intensity that is considered higher-than-normal during gameplay. At the 2020 end-of-season, he made the selection list of the first team of the opening All-MLB Team as one of five starting pitchers.
According to the team’s manager, Scherzer’s focus on hitting, coupled with the work on his pitching, makes him stand tall above other pitchers.
- RHP Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians
With 13-plus-strikeout games, Bieber became the first starting pitcher in modern history to open a season back-to-back. He made his professional debut with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and was purchased by the Indians in 2018. To the greatest surprise, he made his major league debut against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on the evening his contract was purchased. He pitched 5.2 innings, gave up his earned four runs to see to the team’s victory. He finished his rookie season with a 4.55 ERA, an 11–5 record, and 118 strikeouts in 20 appearances.
Of the six games he started in August 2020, he recorded a 1.63 ERA with 57 strikeouts as well as five starts with double figures in strikeouts. Having reached 100 strikeouts at the 62 1⁄3-inning marks against Minnesota, he became the pitcher with the fastest innings pitched in one season in the history of MLB. He also won the American League pitching Triple Crown after Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw. He led in each of the three categories of wins, ERA, and strikeouts with 8, 1.63, and 122 respectively.
- RHP Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals
He made his MLB debut in 2017 and made the Opening Day roster in 2018 to replace injured Adam Wainwright. Though one of the best young pitchers, his dominant second half in 2019 undoubtedly lead to the Cardinals’ first-place finish. As the 2019 regular season ended, he recorded 11-8 and a 2.75 ERA over 33 starts, making him become the third-youngest pitcher to strike out a minimum of 230 and walk 55 in the history of baseball.
After having seven hits, four walks, as well as four earned runs in 4.2 innings during the team’s match against the Seattle Mariners, Flaherty was able to increase his ERA to 4.90. During the season, he also got his first-ever Gold Glove nomination. Though he finished fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting, he ended the 2019 season with a great momentum. Thus, he started the 2020 season on a promising note.