MLB’s Most Impressive Starting Pitchers

By: Josh

Max Scherzer Courtesy of Sports Illustrated
Max Scherzer
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

1.) Max Scherzer has been the most successful pitchers so far this season, improving dramatically from his 2012 campaign.  He has been the first pitcher to achieve a 12–0 record since Rodger Clemens 27 years ago.  Aside from the win/loss record, he has put up some impressive stats with a 0.90 whip and only 6 hits per 9 innings.  Scherzer’s biggest improvement is how he has dealt with left-handed hitters, due in part to his newly developed curveball.  Scherzer shows no signs of slowing down and hopes to lead his team to a World Series.

Matt Harvey Courtesy of ESPN
Matt Harvey
Courtesy of ESPN

2.) Matt Harvey has also compiled prolific numbers so far. He has recorded 132 strikeouts in 117 innings with a 0.86 whip.  Despite playing for a mediocre hitting team, Harvey has won 7 times and lost only once.  However, this breakthrough season will most likely be useless as the Mets sit in fourth place in the NL East behind the Braves, Nationals, and Phillies.

Hisashi Iwakuma Courtesy of 3u3d MLB Blogs
Hisashi Iwakuma
Courtesy of 3u3d MLB Blogs

3.) After coming over from Japan, Hisashi Iwakuma has been dominant this season.  Throwing 5 different pitches, Iwakuma has kept hitters off balance all season long.  His sinker/2-seamer and splitter have allowed him to stifle righty batters.  Opposing right-handed hitters only have a .203 BA and a .215 OBP.  Iwakuma is establishing himself among the MLB’s elite.

Cliff Lee Courtesy of Waiting For Next Year
Cliff Lee
Courtesy of Waiting For Next Year

4.) Despite a rough 2012 season, Cliff Lee has bounced back dramatically.  He has three more wins right now (9) than he did all of last year (6).  He has also lowered his whip by about 15 points and his ERA over half a point to 2.59.  Most importantly, he has kept an aging and injured Phillies team in the playoff hunt.  Without Lee, the Phillies are 30 and 42.  He has been moved to number 1 in the rotation after the Halliday injury and is performing like a true ace.

Clay Buchholz Courtesy of Boston Herald
Clay Buchholz
Courtesy of Boston Herald

5.) Despite his recent injury, Clay Buchholz has had a breakout season this year with a 1.71 ERA in the powerful AL East.  His current ERA is an incredible 2.85 points lower than his 2012 campaign.  Buchholz has been able to succeed due to his much improved control.  He has shed about 0.3 points off his whip from last season.  Along with his stunning whip, Buchholz is averaging only 0.2 homeruns per nine innings.  Keeping on-base and slugging percentages low, Buchholz is shutting down teams while putting together a 9–0 record.  The true test for Buchholz will be the second half of the season, when arm fatigue generally starts to set in with pitchers.

 

Stats from ESPN.com