Top 10 Active Starting Pitchers
ProBaseball-fans.com has asked me to make my own Top 10 list - without the help of Letterman. This list is the Top 10 ACTIVE pitchers in major league baseball today. I emphasize "active" because this top ten list will weigh more heavily on the players' last three years of stats. Some players left off this list may have had a better career or a better 3-year spread somewhere along their career, but for sake of this list we add a heavier emphasis on the past three years of their careers.
This Top 10 list will have several factors weighing in on my decision such as, win-loss record, strikeouts, quality starts, earned runs, and much much more. At the end of this list I will include an Honorable Mention section in hopes to honor some of the older active pitchers who may have dropped off on the stat sheet in recent years.
On to the top starting pitchers list:
#10 (tie) Mike Mussina – “MOOSE,” a 1990 grad of Stanford University, was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1st round 20th pick overall. Mussina, even with battling injuries over the course of his career, has still been able to put up great numbers. This 6-time Gold Glove winner has posted 30+ wins and 300+ strikeouts and over 400 innings over the last 3 seasons. Not bad for a 40-year old pitcher.
#10 (tie) Andy Pettitte – Mr. Pettitte is a career Yankee who took a timeout to play a brief stint for the Astros from 2004-2006 before returning the Bronx in 2007. Eerily similar numbers to Mussina in wins and strikeouts, but a far more innings pitched in the same time frame.
#9 C.C. Sabathia – Likely the heaviest major league pitcher weighing in at 290 lbs and 6’7” tall, C.C. was once recruited to play football at USC and the University of Hawaii. Over the past 2 plus seasons he has posted 32 wins, 418 K’s, and 471 innings pitched. The 418 k’s rank him 6th in MLB over that time frame.
#8 Roy Halladay – Roy has played for the Blue Jays since 1998 and was the first round draft pick for Toronto in 1995. Over the last 2 plus seasons Roy has piled together 35 wins, 309 K’s and 502 innings pitched. The strikeouts may be down for Mr. Halladay, but the high innings pitched show he is still able to find ways to get hitters out.
#7 Roy Oswalt - Since being called up to the majors in 2001 he has lead the league in wins over this timeframe. Over the last 2 plus season Mr. Oswalt has put up 32 wins, 353 strikeouts, and 474 innings pitched.
#6 Carlos Zambrano - Zambrano the hitter? Career batting .217, 13 HR’s, and 32 RBI. He tied the club record for hoomeruns by a pitcher in a single season after clubbing 6 long-balls in 2006. Oh, and he can pitch a little too. Compared to the others on this list in the same time frame he has 38 wins, 422 strikeouts, and 477 innings pitched (which is 5th in MLB over that time frame).
#5 Josh Beckett – A pitcher who was very limited in appearances early in his career due to injuries, Beckett has really make the most of his opportunities since that time. Josh a power pitcher throws his fastball between 92-98 mph along with a changeup that drops between 82-86 mph. He is very devastating to any hitter once you add a 12 to 6 curveball as he almost makes hitting impossible. Beckett’s best career numbers came last year when he won 20 games for the first time and was runner-up to Sabathia for the Cy Young award in the Americal League.
#4 Aaron Harang – Yes, I said Aaron Harang. This is a pitcher who might fly under the radar because of the smaller-market team that he plays for in Cincinnati. But despite that fact he has still been able to keep his numbers high. In 2006 he was the NL strikeout champion and tied for the NL's league lead in wins (16) that year as well. Over the past 2 plus seasons Harang has 35 wins, 475k’s and 514 innings pitched. His strikeouts and innings pitched rank 2 nd in the majors over the past 2 plus seasons. Quietly Harang has become one of the most consistent and productive active pitchers.
#3 John Smoltz – What can you say here… Smoltz has been dominating his whole career and his last 3 years is no exception. 33 wins, 444 K’s and 464 innings pitched. This 41-year old pitcher may be showing signs of wear and tear, but still proves he can get hitters out when needed. Career wins 210, career K ’s 3,011. Enough said…
#2 (tie) Jake Peavy – One of the youngest pitchers on this list but he certainly pitches beyond his years. Over the past 2 plus seasons he has 34 wins, 535 K’s, and 474 innings pitched. This year is no exception either as after 7 games Peavy is 4-1 with 46 strikeouts and only 12 earned runs.
#2 (tie) Johan Santana – The talk of the off-season comes in tied at #2. Over the last 2 plus seasons Johan has 37 wins, 527 k’s, and 499 innings pitched. These numbers show why Santana was such a sought after player this past off-season.
#1 Brandon Webb - First the facts. Over the past 2 plus seasons: 41 wins (ranked first), 409 strikeouts, and 518 innings pitched (ranked first). Young, durable, and consistent are just a few of the words that come to mind when describing Brandon Webb. He’s a two-time All-Star and was the winner of the NL Cy Young award in 2006. All of this and he has only been in the majors since 2003.
Top Active Starting Pitchers Honorable Mention:
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By Bill Smith