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Ranking the 10 Most Dominant Pitchers So Far

By John McMicken – Last Word On Baseball

The 2017 MLB season is well underway and it is very clear which pitchers are driving their teams. Dominant pitchers can will their squads to the playoffs. If these ten players continue to perform as they are now, the Cy Young race should be pretty tight at season’s end.

Ranking the 10 Most Dominant Pitchers So Far

10. Noah Syndergaard (New York Mets)

  • 1-1
  • 1.73 ERA
  • 30 strikeouts

Syndergaard is playing Thor again. The wins are not as prevalent as the Mets would hope, but most of that is the result of the offense not producing. Syndergaard has posted a 1.73 ERA and struck out 30. This is the dominance he started showing last season and everyone knows he is capable of it. His stuff is great and he should find himself in the top ten for the remainder of the season.

 9. Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals)

  • 2-0
  • 2.89 ERA
  • 29 strikeouts

Strasburg has capable of putting up numbers like this every year of his career; sadly, he has been injured for much of it. If he can manage to stay healthy this season, the Nationals will have a great rotation. Expect his ERA to waiver around 2.89 for the rest of the season, and the strikeouts will definitely follow. He has also pitched the seventh-most innings thus far. If that continues, he may risk finding himself back on the DL.

8. Carlos Carrasco (Cleveland Indians)

  • 2-1
  • 1.65 ERA
  • 27 strikeouts

Carrasco has been playing like he’s Corey Kluber. While Kluber’s struggled, Carrasco has picked up the slack. He matched Kluber’s strikeout numbers while crushing his ERA in the same amount of wins. Could it be that Carrasco is making up for missing the playoffs last season, as his team lost the World Series in Game 7? Possibly, but Carrasco has always put up solid numbers behind Kluber. Carrasco is the Zack Greinke to Kluber’s Kershaw. Once you give him a little bit of daylight, he will shine.

7. Dallas Keuchel (Houston Astros)

  • 3-0
  • 0.96 ERA
  • 22 strikeouts

The 2015 Cy Young winner completely fell off the face of Earth last season. Keuchel appears to have found himself again and is performing on the level he is capable of. The Astros are glad to have him back while they sit in first place in the AL West, three games ahead of the Oakland Athletics. For someone who failed miserably last season to bounce back with numbers like these is nothing to scoff at. Keuchel will continue to get wins as long as the Astros offense is producing, and his 0.96 ERA definitely helps.

6. Ervin Santana (Minnesota Twins)

  • 3-0
  • 0.64 ERA
  • 20 strikeouts

Where did he come from, and where did the Twins come from? The Twins have not made the playoffs since 2010. This team has been awful for almost 10 years and now, all of a sudden, they are 8-10, two games out of first. This looks like it could be a very productive season for Santana and the team. Strikeouts have never been Santana’s “cup of tea”, but the 0.64 ERA he is sporting is impressive, to say the least. His career ERA sits at 4.05, so don’t expect that 0.64 to stay; however, Santana will help his team in the long run.

5. Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers)

  • 3-1
  • 2.54 ERA
  • 32 strikeouts

This man deserves a permanent spot in the top ten. Arguably the best pitcher of this era, Kershaw is now 29 and still dominating the game. His 32 strikeouts puts him at fourth-most so far. He also has pitched 28.3 innings, which is actually low for a pitcher that has had 13 complete games in the past three seasons. Expect a few complete game shutouts from Kershaw this season. His ERA will not go up too much, if at all. If Kershaw stays healthy and away from back injury, he will yet again be a Cy Young candidate. The Dodger ace is one of the few on the list that will remain throughout the season.

4. James Paxton (Seattle Mariners)

  • 2-0
  • 1.78 ERA
  • 30 strikeouts

Everything about this pitcher draws attention. He has not lost a game, his ERA under two, and he owns 30 strikeouts. Paxton could not have had a hotter start to 2017. Last season was the biggest workload of his career; he put up a 3.79 ERA with 117 strikeouts in 20 games. His ERA will rise, with the remainder of the season not getting any easier. It is safe to say that Paxton has a serious chance to overthrow the King (Felix Hernandez) as ace of a mediocre Seattle team.

3. Jason Vargas (Kansas City Royals)

  • 3-0
  • 0.44 ERA
  • 23 strikeouts

This one may come as the biggest surprise break-out starter of them all. Vargas has been nothing shy of masterful. Getting the win in each of his three starts, Vargas has filled in quite nicely for the Royals. His age still brings many questions with it. Can the 34-year-old with a career 4.11 ERA fight for Cy Young votes? Will he stay healthy long enough to have a possible career-best season? Many questions remain, but right now Vargas sits among the elite starters this season.

2. Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals)

  • 3-1
  • 1.95 ERA
  • 33 strikeouts

Does this really surprise anyone? Scherzer is on the fast track to Cooperstown and at the start of 2017, he has not showed any signs of stlowing. The Nationals are a great team and that definitely helps the win column, but he doesn’t need much help with his 1.95 ERA and 33 punchouts. Scherzer has been a 20 game winner twice in his career, and he has an excellent chance to do it again this year. He has also set new career-highs in strikeouts every year for the past five seasons (231, 240, 252, 276, 284). With the combination of a good offense and an excellent rotation, the Nationals have a great chance to pose a threat this October, riding on the back of this man.

1. Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox)

  • 1-1
  • 0.91 ERA
  • 42 strikeouts

In recent history, pitchers have not fared well in their first season after being traded to the Red Sox. David Price completely tanked after arriving in Boston. Sale put history behind him and took over the Red Sox rotation. Sale has pitched four games and only has a record of 1-1. That is the troubling part. Clearly, however, it is not his fault when he is posting a 0.91 ERA and a league leading 42 strikeouts. The offense just has not been present when he takes the mound. That should change soon, as the Red Sox will find a way to hit the ball again and give Sale the run support he needs. Count on Sale’s name being talked about when the Cy Young voting starts at the end of the season.

Honorable Mentions:

Chris Devenski (Houston Astros)

  • 1-0
  • 1.35 ERA
  • 25 strikeouts

Mike Leake (St. Louis Cardinals)

  • 3-1
  • 1.32 ERA
  • 20 strikeouts

Danny Duffy (Kansas City Royals)

  • 2-0
  • 1.32 ERA
  • 22 strikeouts

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