Top Six Pitchers Entering the MLB Season

by Pub Sports Radio

Top Six Pitchers Entering the MLB Season

By: Joe Borek (@jjborek26)

Since there is an unusual number of games occurring this season I figured why not have a weird number list. Just seems to fit the mold. This season is going to be so different than others. It is a sprint not a marathon, so let’s see if that has any factor on our top 6 pitchers heading into this season.

1. Jacob DeGrom

What can not be said about this guy so far in his career. In a time where it seems players don’t win back to back awards just because people don’t want to see repetitiveness DeGrom did just that. He won the 2018 Cy Young with a whopping 1.70 ERA and then the 2019 Cy Young with a 2.43 ERA.  Yes, that’s right his ERA went up .73 and he still was crowned last years’ winner which was very well deserved. Not many can say their ERA jumped that much and still be in Cy Young contention yet alone win that’s just how good DeGrom is. His 2018 season was historic and he followed that up with another great season of taking the ball for 30 plus starts yet again clearly earning him the number one spot on our list. Actually he was not only consistent in his pitching but also his number of starts. He had exactly 32 starts in 2018 and 2019 after 31 the season prior showing just how durable he is on top of being great. Below DeGrom can be seen mesmerizing hitters with his filthy fastball and breaking ball combinations.

2. Gerrit Cole

Cole’s career has been very interesting and fun to watch. He of course took off in Pittsburg and had a stellar first three years in the league. Then his following two years he tampered off some and struggled his final year in Pittsburg to a ERA of 4.26. After that season in 2017 he of course was traded to the Houston Astros where there he became what he is today a top two pitching talent and horse of a staff in all of baseball. This guy has pitched over 200 innings each of his last three seasons proving he is durable and has gotten better each of those three years as well. Cole literally just had a few years set back in his career and that can happen to any one, even all time greats like Verlander who also took off again once on the Astros. Cole having a great 2.88 ERA in 2018 followed by a 2.50 in 2019 to win him the ERA title clearly earns him the second spot on this list. The scary part about Cole is he just really figured it out fully, these last two years and has looked better than any of his time in Pittsburg even making him a top commodity to watch as he can continue to grow and get better as a top contender for the Cy Young. He finished top 5 in the voting each of the last two seasons.  Below Cole can be seen confusing hitters with some of the nastiest stuff in the game.

3. Max Scherzer

Scherzer was tough to rank because does he deserve to be in the top three. Heck yes he does, if it wasn’t for Mad Max continuing to take the ball and deal through shoulder soreness and tiredness last season there is zero chance the Nationals win that world series. Sure they have the great Strasburg as well, but Scherzer is on another level and until last season Strasburg was never on that same exact level with Mad Max but just the tier below him. However, like I said above, Mad Max was pushed to the max last season, for good reason to earn a World Series, but that still has a potential lingering long term impact no matter the reasoning. That showed some this spring and in summer camp not looking nearly as sharp as you would expect from Scherzer.  All though for me, he still has to be ranked top three in my book, because doubting this guy is just not the way to go. I’m sure some doubted him last postseason when we heard of his shoulder fatigue but of course he shut all those doubters up in a blink. So for a 60 game sprint especially, I cannot see how someone with the competitive fire of Mad Max doesn’t turn it on and even potentially contend for the Cy Young. I think if anything next season, which of course should be a full season will be maybe when we start seeing more impact on Scherzer from all the innings prior. In a sprint though that is going to be fueled by adrenalin, no one has much more than Mad Max, why do you think he got that nickname he’s crazy in a good way. He’s going to fuel himself to a great season. Below Scherzer can be seen leaving hitters wondering why they even stepped up to the plate with, his nasty still touches 97 up fastball and off-speed combinations of which I think going from last year are still tops in the game.

4. Justin Verlander

Verlander is a player where it is easier to list what he hasn’t accomplished. He is a World Series winner, 8-time All-star, 2-time Cy Young winner, a pitching triple crown winner, a MVP, was ROY, an ALCS MVP, and more. If that isn’t a HOF resume that I don’t know what is. The scariest part is the man hasn’t even slowed down yet. Yes, Verlander had a few bumps in the road his final years in Detroit just like Cole did in Pittsburg stats wise but that’s natural at times. Guys start to struggle then a change of scenery get them right back going a full boar. Well that is of course what happen with Verlander. He went from having ERA’s in the higher 3s at the end with Detroit to going right back to the old JV in Houston of blowing a still 97 and up fastball like Scherzer past hitters with his too nasty breaking ball combinations. I would say Verlander is right behind Scherzer in terms of his nasty fastball and breaking ball combinations having Cole either in deadlock or right behind JV for third in that area of their games. Verlander again is poised to have another stellar season under new Manager Dusty Baker and staff, as he now enters his 16thseason in the league showing no signs of slowing down yet. Below he can be seen bewildering hitters with his filthy stuff.

5. Jack Flaherty

Time for the youngsters to shine. Flaherty is one of those pitchers where if one of the elder statesmen above struggles can easily leapfrog them into being a top 4 or even 3 pitcher in the game. Flaherty has gotten significantly better each of his seasons thus far.  In a six game cup of coffee as a 21-year-old in 2017 Flaherty struggled to a 6.33 ERA. However, he did not let that get him down and came back firing the following season. In 28 starts Flaherty was one of the Cardinals best pitchers if not the best in 2018, posting a 3.38 ERA at the age of 22. He followed that up this past season of 2019, with an ace like 2.75 ERA in 33 games with a WHIP of .968 after his WHIP was 1.106 the year prior. Flaherty has taken the league by storm and has fully establish himself as the Ace of the staff in St. Louis for a team that is definitely a playoff contender. They were ranked 9th in the final MLB Power Rankings prior to the season. Below Flaherty can be seen leaving hitters guessing with his own 95 and up fastball breaking ball combination. I mean just look at some of this kids breaking stuff its down right remarkable and only going to get better.

6. Walker Buehler

Another emerging young great where its his time to shine just like Flaherty above. Buehler as well took the league by storm. Similarly, to Flaherty though he struggled in his first cup of coffee in 2017 at the age of 22. For Buehler, all his time was spent out of the bullpen where in 8 games he pitches to a 7.71 ERA. Furthermore, just like Flaherty as well he took what he got from just pitching in the bigs and made himself that much better the following season. In 24 games in 2018 Buehler had a 2.62 ERA with a WHIP of .961 and followed that up with another good season last year. In 2019, Walker Buehler had a 3.26 ERA in 30 games all starts, with a WHIP of 1.042.  Moreover, another thing he has in comparison to Flaherty is the ability to be considered a top 4 or even 3 pitcher coming into next season. The one thing Buehler of course has over Flaherty is his velocity other than that these two are so close to even and two of the best emerging pitchers in the game easily earning them fifth and sixth place on our list. Below Buehler can be seen baffling hitters as they cannot sit on whether he’s going to throw them a JV like fastball or Mad Max like breaking ball.
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