Over a five-week span MLB’s The Shredder compiles its “Top 10 Right Now” lists, and Jacob deGrom has made it on the list of Top 10 starting pitchers right now. The Shredder is a compilation of both offensive and defensive metrics, and advanced and traditional statistics, that is used to determine the best players at each position based on the last 2 seasons. For reference, here is The Shredder’s top 10 starting pitchers right now:
1. Max Scherzer
2. Chris Sale
3. Jacob deGrom
4. Corey Kluber
5. Justin Verlandet
6. Aaron Nola
7. Clayton Kershaw
8. Luis Severino
9. Carlos Carrasco
10. Blake Snell
Here is MY Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right Now:
1. Max Scherzer
2. Jacob deGrom
3. Chris Sale
4. Justin Verlander
5. Corey Kluber
6. Aaron Nola
7. Blake Snell
8. Clayton Kershaw
9. Carlos Carrasco
10. Noah Syndergaard
While these two lists are very similar, there are important differences. As seen on the list above, Max Scherzer has been the most consistent, dominant pitcher in baseball since signing with the Washington Nationals prior to the 2015 season. In that span, Scherzer has posted a 2.71 ERA in just over 878 innings pitched.
While I can understand why The Shredder has Chris Sale at No. 2, I do not agree. Chris Sale has been dominant when he is at his best, with No. 1 upside, yet he is never at his best. He has had injuries in the past, and when he has pitched a full season, his stats are usually bogged down by a poor second half. Chris Sale needs to work on his durability in order to hold the No. 2 spot, which is why he is at No. 3 on my list.
Jacob deGrom had an absolutely dominant season last year with a 1.70 ERA in 217 innings during a Cy Young Award winning season. While he was the No. 1 pitcher baseball last season, his stats are clearly unsustainable and should not push him above Max Scherzer. However, it is mind boggling that an injury prone starting pitcher could be above deGrom after his consistent production and breakout 2018 season, so I have him at No. 2 right now.
It is amazing how much a change of scenery and a new coaching staff can affect a pitcher, and it was clear when Justin Verlander was shipped during the 2017 season. Since coming to Houston, Verlander has posted a 2.32 ERA over a season and a half, re-establishing his dominance as an ace level pitcher. This is why he is at No. 4 on my list, and No. 5 on The Shredder’s list.
Corey Kluber regressed a bit in 2018, yet he still posted a 2.89 ERA. Though, some of his teammates like Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco out-performed him during 2018. He is still one of the most consistent pitchers in the game, and is No. 4 on The Shredder’s list and No. 5 on my list.
Aaron Nola truly had a breakout campaign, and posting a 2.37 ERA with 17 wins. Nola seems to be a top 5 pitcher in baseball, but will need to replicate this campaign in order to squeeze in to the top 5. He sits just outside at No. 6 on both lists.
Since we are talking about breakout pitchers, it is impossible to forget Blake Snell. He posted a 1.89 ERA in 2018 with a spectacular 21 wins, leading the Rays to a 90-win season, catching most of the league off guard. It is unfortunate that someone this stunning is so low on both lists, sitting at No. 7 on my list and No. 10 on The Shredder’s list. It is crazy to think that a player can post a sub-2 ERA over 31 starts and be ranked so low, but sometimes it is neccesary to value consistency.
Clayton Kershaw has lost velocity, faced injury, and has not been as sharp over the last few years. However, he has still found a way to be successful. I actually believe Walker Buehler will have a better 2019, but for now, Kershaw is still a top 10 pitcher in baseball. He drops down to No. 7 on The Shredder’s list and No. 8 on my list.
Carlos Carrasco is new to this list, but it is well deserved, as he pitched in 32 games with a 3.38 ERA, and has pitched solid seasons every year since 2014 now. Carrasco finally breaks through at No. 9 on both lists.
My No. 10 happens to be Noah Syndergaard, and consequently I leave Luis Severino off the list. This may cause some debate, but it is justified. Luis Severino is on this list easily when he is at his best, but he is known to be a streaky pitcher with a terrible postseason record. On the other hand, Syndergaard is a pitcher who has been injured a lot since coming into the league, but has posted a 2.93 career ERA, and a 2.24 postseason ERA. These are crazy numbers from a pitcher that many believe has not reached his full potential yet. As such, he squeezes on to my list at No. 10.
Even at a time when the starting pitcher is becoming less and less important, there are two lists full of aces who deserve recognition listed above. A case can be made for every pitcher on both The Shredder’s list and my list, and these players will certainly be fun to watch in 2019.