Welcome, all. The goal of this article is simply to assemble the best pitcher possible, trait-by-trait, while also providing information surrounding the MLB’s top Starting Pitching talent. Without further ado, I’ll begin.
This one has many, many options and all of which would be reasonable selections. Now, for this project I only looked over starting pitchers, thus Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel, and so on were not eligible. With that being said, there are a few top names here to choose from, but it really narrows down to Noah Syndergaard, Gerrit Cole, Jose Fernandez in my eyes. Out of these three, Cole takes the cake just off sheer power and overwhelming placement. Take a look at the below GIF for further explanation:
There’s very little that can be done about a 98-99 MPH pitch up and in, especially with how directly that pitch arrives. Cole maintains his 4-Seamer throughout the game, typically never dropping below 95, making this pitch one of the most fearsome in all of baseball.
Honorable Mentions: Noah Syndergaard, Jose Fernandez, Chris Sale, Yordano Ventura, Shelby Miller.
This is pretty easily a 2 man race: Max Scherzer and Jake Arrieta. They’re both very close in quality but they differ in usage; Scherzer utilizes his as a #1 option while Arrieta peppers his in with the rest of his arsenal. Overall, I’m taking Arrieta’s just because it is, as a whole, more dominant than Scherzer’s. Arrieta combines his with more speed and with more aggressive movement, giving it not only prowess as a primary option, but also as an out pitch.
Looking at this gif it’s easy to see where I’m coming from. That pitch is coming in at 94 MPH. and it starts in the middle of the zone. By the time that Joc Pederson lifts his leg to open his swing that ball is whipping itself out of zone, rendering itself virtually unhittable in this scenario.
Honorable Mention: Max Scherzer, David Price.
Much like for the 4-Seamer, there’s a plethora of quality choices here, but there’s a definitive front runner that is pretty undeniable. Yes, it is the man, the myth, Clayton Kershaw. I’ll allow the 12-6 to do the talking for me, because it’s pretty obvious to the naked eye.
There’s absolutely nothing any hitter in baseball is doing about anything like this on a 2 strike count. I’d argue at his best that this is the most unhittable pitch in all of the Majors. Nobody really comes particularly close to matching the dominance of this 12-6 Curve other than maybe Zack Greinke (who was on his team last year).Other guys worth mentioning are Sonny Gray, Gio Gonzalez, and Corey Kluber, who all also possess upper echelon curves. You can watch all of Kershaw’s Curve strikeouts here.
There can actually be a lot of discussion here, but I’m going to cheat because that’s who I am. Jose Fernandez throws a Slurve that is more or less just a slider at 83 MPH, and I’m taking that over anybody else in baseball because it is outright disgusting.
All of these presented above are diving leftward from the right side of the plate, and the only chance you have really is just to not swing and hope for the best. Much like Kershaw’s Curve, when this is on (and he’s not even at 100% health here) this pitch isn’t gonna be hit. Since this is technically a Slurve of sorts, Matt Harvey I’d say is the runner-up in this category, and he’s pretty well known for the Slider being his premier pitch.
Honorable Mentions: Matt Harvey, Dallas Keuchel.
There’s a ton of choices here, but the obvious candidate for most serious MLB watchers would have to be Cole Hamels. Other than him, Felix Hernandez is probably your #2 with Keuchel behind him. However, Hamels’ carries the most consistency on his and he always does a very nice job of placement by keeping it low in zone and making it a legitimate out pitch in his repertoire.
Something to throw on 0-2, 1-2 etc. There’s a lot of specialty pitches to choose from and there’s no correct answer so this is based on personal preference for me. I’ll choose the splitter, first of all.
The splitter’s job, I was always taught, was to appear it’d be in the zone, then fall off the table. Guys like Roger Clemons & other great throwers of the pitch will tell that the ball should never end up in the zone. Currently, some of the top guys for the Split Fastball are Jeff Samardzija & Masahiro Tanaka, and I much prefer Tanaka’s. Tanaka’s splitter does a sensational job of appearing then disappearing out of the strike zone before the batter can recognize it, and that’s why I prefer his; Samardzija’s is terrific too, however.
Honorable Mentions: Jeff Samardzija (Splitter), Yu Darvish (Splitter), Jon Lester (Cutter), Stephen Strasburg (Circle Change).
Moving on from pitches, now we’re onto physical and aesthetic characteristics.
Noah Syndergaard. He’s quoted as saying that, “I feel like most people think I’m kind of this quiet guy, but when I’m on the mound … I try to be as intimidating as possible. I try to use that as a weapon of mine. I feel like I’m on top of the world when I’m on the mound”. Standing at over 6’5 and with the nickname of “Thor” (plus throwing in excess of 99 MPH) it doesn’t get much more intimidating than Syndergaard.
No doubt here either. Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays. The swaggiest player in majors with a ton of talent to boot. Off the field, in the dugout, and on the mound he always looks like the coolest guy out there.
Yordano Ventura. Someone called him LA FLARE on twitter once and it stuck with me ever since. Ventura’s all of like 5’11 175lbs but he’ll fight anybody out there, he does not give two shits about anything to the point of where its damning. It’ll be a 2-0 count and he’ll still be flinging his legs like a jerkoff through his follow through. Look at this
Yordano Ventura, the boyking of the Domincan Republic, has become one of my favorite pitchers solely because of his attitude.
Gerrit Cole – 4-Seam Fastball
Jake Arrietta – 2-Seam Fastball
Clayton Kershaw – 12-6 Curveball
Jose Fernandez – Slider/Slurve
Cole Hamels – Change Up
Mashiro Tanaka – Splitter
Physical: Noah Syndergaard
Aesthetic: Chris Archer
Attitude: Yordano Ventura
Discuss but just know that I’m not here to argue
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