With Opening Week behind us, I couldn’t be more excited. Throughout the early weeks of the season, I will provide my top-10 lists at every position in Major League Baseball. Today, I will be focusing on Starting Pitchers. With a plethora of options to pick from and make this list, it was a very difficult one to make. Keep in mind, I did make this list before Opening Day, so there is no bias from the current season.
- Jacob deGrom
Since the 2018 season, deGrom has been nothing short of incredible. He won back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019 and finished in third place in 2020. In Spring Training, he looked incredible, posting a mere 0.66 ERA, over 13.2 innings pitched. Mets fan or not, it is undeniably fun to watch him go about his craft.
- Gerrit Cole
At the second spot, I put the other New York ace. Over the past three years, he has posted three top-5 AL Cy Young Award finishes, most notably a runner-up finish in 2019. I believe that this is the year he finally gets that coveted award and further bolsters his Hall of Fame case that keeps growing year after year.
- Shane Bieber
While a lot of you may be surprised he didn’t crack my one or two spots on the list, he is still top-3. The 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner was the best pitcher in baseball but doesn’t have the great track record of deGrom or Cole due to his age. Without a doubt, Shane has the tools to make a jump into that one spot in years to come.
- Yu Darvish
After seeing a steep fall-off since his first few years in Texas, he came back in 2020 with a truly dominant year. Over 12 starts, he posted a 2.01 ERA and led the NL with 8 wins. I expect him to have another dominant year in 2021, and prove that he can be dominant again over a full 162 game season.
- Clayton Kershaw
“Kersh” is not the pitcher that he used to be, but he still undeniably a top pitcher in baseball. He proved this in 2020, posting a 6-2 record over 10 starts, with a 2.16 ERA to compliment that. Though his best years are likely behind him, he is still an ace.
- Trevor Bauer
Bauer is one of the most fun, yet controversial pitchers to watch. The 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner had a terrific year, leading the NL with a 1.73 ERA for Cincinnati. I don’t foresee him being as dominant as he was last year, as he is moving from the weak NL Central to the powerhouse NL West. However, he’ll have a ton of offensive support, so I think he’ll have a good year.
- Max Scherzer
The three-time Cy Young Award winner was not his dominant self in 2020, but he has proven to be a top pitcher in baseball for almost ten seasons. I believe he’ll be in the running for another Cy Young Award in 2021, and maybe even win his fourth.
- Walker Buehler
Kershaw, Bauer, and Buehler are arguably the best 1-2-3 in baseball. The sky is the limit for Walker, as he has electric stuff. The poor Spring Training doesn’t really alarm me, as with a talent like Buehler, he is bound to be dominant.
9) Hyun Jin Ryu
After looking at other top-10 lists, I was surprised that only a couple had Ryu on their list. He was dominant in 2019, leading all of baseball with a 2.32 ERA. He followed that up with a great 2020, posting a 5-2 record and a 2.69 ERA. He was the NL Cy Young runner-up in 2019 and had a third-place finish last year. I expect him to have another great year.
10) Aaron Nola
Nola is a consistent pitcher, that will not break the radar gun. However, he has proven to be a top talent since his breakout 2018 season. He was not particularly dominant in 2020, but I expect him to have a terrific 2021.
Giolito is one of the most exciting pitchers to watch, and he can go deep into games. He has ace potential, and will definitely be a pitcher that can crack my top-10 list sooner than later. I expect him to play a big role for the White Sox, as they are my favorite to win the American League Pennant.