With home runs up across the MLB, pitchers have a tougher job than ever. As veterans Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Jacob DeGrom all look to add another Cy Young Award to their mantle, young risers such as Walker Buehler, Shane Bieber and Mike Soroka look to add their names to baseball history. Here we’ll take a look at the 10 best pitchers in baseball right now.
- Mike Soroka, Atlanta Braves
- Lance Lynn, Texas Rangers
- Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
- Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals
- Mike Minor, Texas Rangers
- Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox
- Sonny Gray, Cincinatti Reds
- Patrick Corbin, Washington Nationals
10. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
30 GS, 3.49 ERA, 1.047 WHIP, 3.23 FIP, 191.0 IP, 229 K, 49 BB, .214 BAA, 5.4 WAR
Jack Flaherty has made a strong case for this spot with his incredible 1.05 ERA in the second half, and rookie Mike Soroka is essentially 10b thanks to his 2.57 ERA, 2nd best in baseball. A former rookie phenom in his own right, Stephen Strasburg owns this spot though as he has once again showed the league how good he can be when fully healthy. With top 10 rankings in WAR, strikeouts, BAA and FIP, Strasburg has re-established himself as a CY Young candidate.
9. Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers
28 GS, 3.15 ERA, 1.010 WHIP, 2.87 FIP, 171.1 IP, 202 K, 30 BB, .222 BAA, 5.4 WAR
After a strong finish to the 2018 season, Buehler has picked up right where he left off. With over 200 strikeouts and the fourth lowest BB/9 in the MLB, Buehler already shows an incredible ability to strikeout batters while keeping walks to a minimum, a rarity for a pitcher his age. Ranking in the top 10 in WAR, WHIP and FIP, the 25-year-old is dangerously close to usurping Clayton Kershaw as the ace of the Dodgers.
8. Charlie Morton, Tampa Bay Rays
31 GS, 3.16 ERA, 1.102 WHIP, 2.84 FIP, 182.1 IP, 223 K, 53 BB, .219 BAA, 5.1 WAR
While Buehler is a rising star at age 25, Charlie Morton is having his career year at the age of 35. After rejuvenating his career with the Houston Astros—posting a 15-3 record with a 3.13 ERA in 2018—Morton has continued his resurgence in Tampa Bay. Morton has posted career highs across the board and made his way into the All-Star Game for the second straight season. Ranking 4th in FIP and 6th in WAR, Morton has established himself as an ace late in his career.
7. Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians
31 GS, 3.26 ERA, 1.033 WHIP, 3.39 FIP, 201.1 IP, 245 K, 39 BB, .224 BAA, 5.1 WAR
Another 2nd year pitcher, Shane Bieber has vastly improved upon his solid rookie year in 2018. Ranking 3rd in baseball in both strikeouts and innings pitched, the 24-year-old made the All-Star team in his sophomore season. Bieber is another pitcher who excels at striking batters out while limiting walks, and it has allowed him to emerge as the best pitcher on a staff that includes Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger.
6. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers
27 GS, 2.35 ERA, 1.026 WHIP, 3.12 FIP, 168.2 IP, 148 K, 24 BB, .235 BAA, 4.5 WAR
After a dominant pitching career in Korea, Hyun-Jin Ryu made his way to America and signed with the LA Dodgers in 2013. Ryu owns a superb career ERA of 3.00, but has struggled with injuries throughout his time in LA. After posting a career-best 1.97 ERA in just 15 starts last season, Ryu has continued his excellence this season while managing to avoid the injury bug. Although his ERA is no longer below 2 like it was for most of the season, he still leads the league in the category while also ranking 6th in WHIP. Although Ryu is not a strikeout pitcher like most others on this list, he is arguably the most accurate pitcher in baseball, ranking 2nd with a 1.28 BB/9 rate.
5. Zack Greinke, Houston Astros
31 GS, 2.95 ERA, 0.998 WHIP, 3.27 FIP, 195.1 IP, 174 K, 29 BB, .231 BAA, 5.1 WAR
Zack Greinke has already won 1 Cy Young Award and probably should have won a second, so it is well know that he is among the best pitchers in baseball. Like his former teammate Ryu, Greinke is less of a strikeout pitcher and more of a strike thrower. In his age 35 season, Greinke is 3rd in the league in walk rate and 5th in innings pitched. He has continued his success after a trade deadline deal moved him to Houston and is showing no signs of slowing down as he enters the back end of his thirties.
4. Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
25 GS, 2.65 ERA, 1.027 WHIP, 2.31 FIP, 159.2 IP, 222 K, 32 BB, .220 BAA, 6.2 WAR
When he is at his best, Max Scherzer is the best pitcher in baseball. He has thrown 2 no-hitters, two immaculate innings, struck out 20 batters in a game and won 3 Cy Young Awards. He has been great once again this season, leading the league in FIP and ranking 2nd in K/9 rate. While he won’t be able to rack up 300 strikeouts as he did last year, his strikeout rate of 12.5 is actually a career high. Even at the age of 35 Scherzer is competing for another Cy Young award and continues to prove he is among the best in the sport.
Jacob DeGrom, New York Mets
30 GS, 2.61 ERA, 1.005 WHIP, 2.79 FIP, 190.0 IP, 239 K, 43 BB, .212 BAA, 6.3 WAR
Jacob DeGrom has followed up his historically great 2018 season with another excellent year as he pushes for a second straight Cy Young. DeGrom leads the National League in strikeouts and WHIP and ranks in the top 5 in MLB in ERA and WAR as he lives up to the contract extension he was given in the offseason. After a slow start to the season, DeGrom has posted a 1.69 ERA in the second half, even though wins astonishingly continue to elude him.
2. Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros
30 GS, 2.62 ERA, 0.910 WHIP, 2.74 FIP, 192.1 IP, 292 K, 45 BB, .188 BAA, 6.3 WAR
In the final year of his contract, 29-year-old Gerrit Cole is having the best year of his career. He is on pace for over 300 strikeouts while ranking 2nd in FIP, WHIP and WAR. He became the second pitcher ever to strikeout 14 or more batters in 3 straight games and the second fastest ever to 200 strikeouts. He is 13-0 with a 1.85 ERA since May 27th and currently has a streak of 6 straight games with double digit strikeouts, 2 shy of the major league record.
1. Justin Verlander, Houston Astros
31 GS, 2.58 ERA, 0.782 WHIP, 3.33 FIP, 206.0 IP, 275 K, 38 BB, .168 BAA, 6.6 WAR
In 2011 Justin Verlander won the triple crown, AL Cy Young Award and AL MVP, so to say that his 2019 season is arguably his best ever is quite the accomplishment. His WHIP is currently the 4th lowest in history and his BAA is the 2nd lowest ever, just .001 behind the record held by Pedro Martinez. He leads the league in WAR and wins, ranks 2nd in strikeouts, 3rd in ERA and 6th in BB/9. As amazing as his teammate Gerrit Cole has been, Verlander has been even better, even throwing his third career no hitter.