This 2018 Major League baseball season has seen some big name pitchers go down with injuries such as Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers), Carlos Martinez (St. Louis Cardinals), and Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco Giants). With that said, here are the top ten ranked pitchers in the league this season and what they have done to earn this honor.
Mike Foltynewicz from the Atlanta Braves is off to a solid start this season with a 5-4 record, 2.31 ERA, and 88 strikeouts. Foltynewicz is holding hitters to a .200 batting average this season as well. On June 1, he struck out 11 batters against the Nationals in a 4-0 victory for the Braves. It was also his first career shutout.
The Tampa Bay Rays left hander, Blake Snell, is next on this list. Snell has a 7-3 record along with a 2.36 ERA and 88 strikeouts. The southpaw is holding batters to a .180 batting average. On June 3, Snell set a MLB record by striking out the first seven batters he faced and going on to have a total of 12 strikeouts for the game in six innings of work.
Jacob DeGrom from the New York Mets is off to a 4-0 start this season with a 1.49 ERA and 98 strikeouts. His ERA is the lowest in all of the NL (1.49). DeGrom is holding batters to a .206 batting average. DeGrom has been one of the Mets better pitchers since 2014 when he won NL Rookie of the Year. One game that stands out for DeGrom this season came on June 2. Against the Cubs, he had 13 strikeouts in seven innings and allowed only one run.
Michael Wacha is off to his best start ever with a 7-1 record, 2.41 ERA, and 61 strikeouts. The right hander is holding batters to a .202 batting average and only 51 hits in 71 innings pitched this season for St. Louis. Wacha’s last start on June 3, against the Pittsburgh, was almost one for the books as he took a no-hitter into the top of the ninth inning. He finished with a box score of eight innings pitched, zero runs, and only a hit as he was awarded the victory in 5-0 game.
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies, has a 7-2 record, 2.35 ERA, 80 strikeouts, and is holding opponents to a .255 batting average. In 78 innings pitched this season, he has only walked 18 batters. He has been one of the key reasons in the Phillies resurgence this year. One of his best games came on May 8 against the Giants in which he pitched seven innings. Nola only allowed five hits, one run, and had 12 strikeouts in a 4-2 win.
Luis Severino is next on this list of top pitchers in the majors. The young fireball throwing pitcher has been the New York Yankees ace. He has thrown 102 strikeouts, won nine games, and has an ERA of 2.20. Severino is holding batters to only a .191 batting average. His career has started off solid with a 31-18 record since his debut on August 5, 2015. On May 2 this season, he picked up his first career complete game by striking out 10 batters in a 4-0 victory over Houston.
Gerrit Cole has got to be loving his new home with the Houston Astros. He is 6-1 record, with a 2.20 ERA, 116 strikeouts, and a WHIP of .083 in 12 starts. The former number one overall pick’s best game this season came on May 4 against the Diamondbacks. All he did was throw 16 strikeouts in a complete game as Houston bludgeoned Houston 8-0.
Corey Kluber is 9-2 record with a 1.96 ERA and has 95 strikeouts this season for the Cleveland Indians. He is so hot the Indians right hander has thrown 34 strikeouts in his last four starts. He’s the reigning 2017 AL CY Young Award winner. One game this season that stands out for him came on April 9, 2018 against the Detroit Tigers. He pitched eight innings, allowing only two hits and had 13 strikeouts in the Indians victory.
Max Scherzer from the Washington Nationals is the next pitcher on this list. The former Missouri Tiger is leading the majors with a 10-1 record with a 1.95 ERA, and 133 strikeouts strikeouts. Scherzer’s best game this year came on June 5 as he threw 13 K’s in eight innings pitched. His efforts were the driving force in a 4-2 win over the Rays. Scherzer is obviously a candidate for the NL Cy Young, but also a threat to win the NL MVP.
Justin Verlander from the Houston Astros has earned the top spot for best pitchers in 2018. He has reached his elite form he once exhibited in Detroit with the Tigers. Verlander is 7-2 record with a 1.24 ERA, 104 strikeouts, and holding batters to a .152 batting average. The former AL CY Young winner is proving to be the ace of the best pitching staff in all of baseball. His best game came on May 1 against the Yankees as he threw eight innings, allowing only three hits while striking out 14 batters.
All ten of these pitchers are off to great starts for their respective teams this season. We will have to wait a see which of these pitchers can continue to keep up this pace. If they can, it could lead to them taking home their league’s CY Young and, for some, the MVP.