Every year MLB Network puts on a series entitled “Top 10 Right Now” at each position in the game of baseball. And over the years I have joined along and made my list. Now before last season, it didn’t mean much beyond being a personal exercise. Last year having had LaracuenteLedger.com, I now have a platform to display my list. And this year I’ll be keeping with the decade-long tradition. I follow along with MLB Network and release my list as they air the corresponding episode of each position. So we begin with the Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right Now.
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Each time I sit down to make out this list I usually have an idea in mind of my top players at each position, but then I research and try to make my best decision. Now the selection process is somewhat like a fantasy draft of each position as an individual draft. But by the same token one must take into account previous output and estimate what the player can do in the upcoming season at that position. And be sure to listen to today’s episode of The Laracuente Ledger Podcast for a complete recap of both my Top 10 First Basemen & Starting Pitchers Right Now. So number ten on my Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right now is…
No. 10: Clayton Kershaw
When it comes to the top starters in the game, Clayton Kershaw was once the number on overall. But over the last few seasons, Clayton has struggled to stay healthy. Now that being said, Clayton is one of the games best. And through the injuries, Clayton has become a better pitcher because of not being able to rely on pure stuff. Clayton could very easily make the top half of a list like this, if not for the lack of innings over the last three seasons.
No. 9 Gerrit Cole
When you look at the pitcher Gerrit Cole was able to become in Houston, one can’t help but be amazed. Cole would deliver a stellar campaign and receiving an All-Star nod for only the second time in his career. Gerrit was always seen as a player with tremendous potential but seemingly unable to capitalize on it. In Houston, something was unlocked in his mind and it allowed him to dominate. Thus looking forward to 2019, it would be safe to assume that Cole will continue to build on his success and have back to back dominate seasons.
No. 8: Luis Severino
Luis Severino’s 2018 season was the tale of two seasons. In the first half, Sevvy was a lights out dominator and a sure first AL Cy Young winner. But when you look at his second half, he was the complete opposite. Now if theories are to be believed, Luis was tipping his pitches in the second half. And if that was the case that would explain why he had such pronounced struggles in the second half. Sevvy has all the talent in the world. And yes I am a bit bias here because as a Yankee fan, Sevvy is my guy. But I also see that when he is right, he can shut down a team with ease.
No. 7: Blake Snell
Another name people have overlooked is the 2018 AL Cy Young award winner Blake Snell. Blake put together a legendary year. And while some may knock the fact that Snell did not reach the 200 innings plateau, the 180 innings he did pitch were unmatched. In just 180 innings, Snell would strike out 221 and would have a record of 21-5. But what was most impressive was Blake’s ERA of 1.89. Now even if Snell doesn’t repeat these monstrous numbers and regresses a little bit. The lofty highs from which he is falling will still have him a well above average pitcher.
No. 6: Trevor Bauer
Trevor Bauer is another guy who struggled to match potential to production, that is until this past season. Trevor Bauers would put together a great campaign including his first All-Star selection and garnered Cy Young votes for the first time. Bauer has always been a controversial figure since his college days but there is no denying that Trevor is a student of the game and looks to better himself every year. And given the breakout of 2018, the 2019 season should be an interesting watch.
No. 5: Aaron Nola
Aaron Nola broke out enormously in 2018. The Philadelphia Phillies right-hander would push out an incredible 212.1 innings and pitch to the tune of a 2.37 ERA. When you factor in Nola made 33 starts and racked up 224 strikeouts along the way it’s easy to understand why Nola was third in NL Cy Y
No. 4: Chris Sale
Now I tried desperately to keep Chris Sale off my list, for only one reason, he’s the Boston Red Sox ace. Now obviously I’m kidding, Chris Sale is one of the best pitchers in the game today. When you look at the numbers that Sale produces on a year in and year out bases, you know how talented he’s been in his nine Major League seasons. The knock on Sale has always been that he fades down the stretch but what we saw out of Sale was a man who will do what is best for the team to win. Sale has been an All-Star for the last seven years in a row. And to add to that already impressive stat, he has received Cy Young votes in those seven seasons as well. And if that wasn’t good enough the last four seasons, Chris Sale has added receiving MVP votes to his resumé
No. 3: Justin Verlander
At one point about four years ago, Justin Verlander was thought to be finished as an elite pitcher. But yet here we are before the 2019 Major League Baseball season, and Verlander is as good as ever. Just examining his time in Houston, Justin has pitched 248 innings. And for argument’s sake let’s say that is one full season (Verlander career high single-season innings is 251.) And across that entire season’s worth of work in Houston, Verlander has pitched to an ERA of 2.32 with an astounding and unbelievable 333 strikeouts with just 42 walks. Verlander in 39 starts with the Astros has nearly an 8-to-1 strikeout-to-walk rate. That is next level elite.
No. 2: Jacob deGrom
The unheralded ace of the New York Mets pitching staff Jacob DeGrom is number two. deGrom has been one of the games best throughout his five year Major League career. And that was never more evident than during his 2018 NL Cy Young campaign. Jacob pitched 217 innings with 269 strikeouts, and it was all done to the tune of a 1.70 ERA. The Mets were not very good, and it took until his final start, but deGrom would end the season over the .500 mark in terms of Wins & Losses. An old and antiquated stat that is thankfully losing its luster. There was no doubt that deGrom was the 2018 NL Cy Young, but some questioned whether Jacob would receive his just due because of his team’s record. Thankfully, we did not have to put it to the test. And he earns high praise here as well, as the number two of the Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right Now.
No. 1: Max Scherzer
When it comes to choosing this list more so than any other list in this series, the top starting pitcher is a personal choice. A choice based on personal
And when you review his numbers the three Cy Youngs over the last six years and top five Cy Young votes in the other three seasons