Every offseason, MLB Network runs through a series of programming. One such show is about the Top 10 Right Now at each position. And as we have done in both 2018 and 2019, we will go over our Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right Now.
Just a quick note about this list, it is a personal list, and everyone will value different things from each position. So I encourage you to make your own list and see who makes the cut on your list.
10. Jose Berrios- Minnesota Twins
Jose Berrios is one of my favorite pitchers in the game. Over the last two seasons, Berrios has pitched 192.1 and 200.1. Being able to pitch 200 innings is a skill and something that is lost in today’s game. Berrios has also lower his ERA and walk rate while also increasing his groundball percentage. Jose Berrios is a player that I believe is poised for a huge season in 2020.
9. Aaron Nola- Philadelphia Phillies
Another pitcher that I greatly believe in is Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies. Nola’s set to be the ace on a hungry team looking to contend. Over the past two seasons, Nola has pitched over 200 innings of work. But some struggles in 2019 ballooned Nola’s ERA to 3.87 in 2019 compared to a third-place finish in NL Cy Young voting in 2018 with an ERA of 2.37. A bounceback season is not just likely for Nola; I believe it will be a certainty (barring injury.) Look for Aaron Nola to once again be in the upper echelon of National League pitchers
8. Stephen Strasburg- Washington Nationals
Now, some may question this placement because the man is coming off of a World Series MVP performance. However, when looking at the list of pitchers, it’s arguably the most challenging list to put together. Just given the sheer number of starting (and relieving) pitchers, there are to choose for this list. But when it comes to Stephen Strasburg, he’s undoubtedly among the Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right Now. (Again, this is a personal and subjective list. Make your own list and see how you decide to rank them.) Strasburg proved himself on the grand stage of the World Series and belongs among the Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right Now.
7. Walker Buehler- Los Angeles Dodgers
One of the fresh young budding superstars in the game of baseball is Walker Buehler. Buehler has taken hold of the mantle in LA once dominated by Clayton Kershaw. Going into the 2020 campaign, the Dodgers will be looking towards Buehler for a significant workload. Over the last two seasons, Walker Buehler has increased his innings pitched. And Bueller is poised to pitch over 200 innings in 2020. Walker had good numbers in 2019. But with another season under his belt, it’s easy to believe he’ll be better this season.
6. Luis Severino- New York Yankees
2019 was a lost season for Luis Severino due to injury. But the two years prior to that, Sevvy approached 200 innings. And even finished in third place of the AL Cy Young voting in 2017. Being a Yankee fan, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Severino mature as a pitcher. And it’s with that maturation that leads me to believe that Severino takes a big step forward in 2020.
5. Chris Sale- Boston Red Sox
Chris Sale is amongst the best Starting Pitchers in the game today. No matter the metrics you look at, Sale is usually around the top. Except for one metric, innings pitched. But even with the lack of innings compared to some others on my list, Sale’s production when he is pitching is still among the upper half of Starting Pitchers in MLB today.
4. Justin Verlander- Houston Astros
Now we get to the upper echelon of the game’s best. And we begin with Justin Verlander. Verlander even going into his age 37 season is seen as a Cy Young candidate. In 2019, Verlander pitched over 220 innings and helped the Astros picking up 21 wins in the process. Justin Verlander has been a revelation and been revitalized following the trade to the Houston Astros. The couple seasons in Detroit where Verlander was injured, thought Justin how to pitch and not merely throw the ball. And as he ages, Verlander incorporates more intelligence into ever delivery. So look for Verlander listed in the AL Cy Young award finalist.
3. Max Scherzer- Washington Nationals
Max Scherzer is arguably my favorite pitcher to watch. Because you never truly know what you will get from him any given start. Scherzer’s all out effort are a battle within himself and it’s masterful to witness. Injuries limited Max to just 172.1 innings in 2019. But prior to that Scherzer had 9 seasons of 187 innings or more. And even more impressive still, 6 straight seasons of 200 innings or more. Max Scherzer is the definintion of a workhorse. But just taking the ball every fifth day doesn’t mean that you are helping your team. Scherzer is aiding his team with an ERA no higher than 2.96 during his tenutre with the Nationals. And much like Justin Verlander, expect Max Scherzer to be among the finalist for the NL Cy Young Award.
2. Jacob deGrom- New York Mets
A case can be made for Jacob deGrom as the number one among Starting Pitchers Right Now in the game. Jacob deGrom has tossed over 200 innings and had ERAs of 1.70 and 2.43 over the past two Cy Young seasons. deGrom has also accumlated WARs during the last two seasons of 9 and 7 respectively. And as the new season approaches, another stellar campaign is likely in the works for the New York Mets’ Ace.
1. Gerrit Cole- New York Yankees
And finally we come to my number one of the Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right Now, and it’s the new ace on my New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole. Gerrit Cole has been referred to as the elusive “White Whale” (a Moby Dick reference) for Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman. And Cash finally landed his big fish. Gerrit Cole has been an otherworldly force of the past two seasons. Cole had pitched to the tune of a 2.88 and 2.50 ERAs in 2018 and 2019 respectively. All while increasing his Strikeout per 9 rate and his Left on Base percentage. Gerrit Cole is going to ace the pitching staff in the Bronx for a World Series contending Yankees team. Expect a big year out of baseball catherdal and a big reason will be because of Gerrit Cole.