As the last days of the MLB All-Star Game voting draws to a close for position players, I wanted to look at 5 pitchers in each league (three starters, two relievers/closers) who I would vote to go to the Midsummer classic later this month.
Remember, fans cannot vote on pitchers to go to Washington for the All-Star Game. This article is hypothetical and will also acknowledge the best pitchers in baseball. These stats and opinions are as it stands entering July 4, 2018.
We’ll start with the American League.
- Justin Verlander, Houston Astros
My first pick is Justin Verlander from Houston. Even at age 35, Verlander is still putting up extremely impressive numbers as the ace of the first-place Astros. Verlander has a 2.12 ERA, which is good for second in the AL and fourth in the MLB. He owns a .86 WHIP, which is first in the entire league. With 144 strikeouts, Verlander is fifth in the AL and sixth in the MLB. Lastly, he has pitched a lot of innings, 118 2/3 to be exact, which is second best in the AL and third best in the majors.
- Luis Severino, New York Yankees
The Yankee’s ace leads the league in wins with 13, and his ERA leads the AL (and second in the majors). He is third in the AL and fourth in the MLB in innings pitched. He has struck out the sixth most batters in the AL and the seventh most in the entire league. Severino has been a very important and consistent leader in New York’s rotation, which has them at one and a half games behind the Red Sox for the best record in baseball.
- Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
Rounding out my three starters in the AL, I have Red Sox ace Chris Sale. This southpaw has been consistent all year, is a huge reason for the Red Sox being on top of the league record-wise. He leads the AL in strikeouts, as well as being second in the MLB, with 164 punch-outs. He owns the fourth best ERA in the AL at 2.41, and has the most strikeouts per nine innings at 12.72 K’s. Sale has pitched the fourth most innings in the American League, and is tied for second in the AL for lowest opponent batting average.
- Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians
- Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros
- Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays
- Edwin Diaz, Seattle Mariners
Edwin Diaz leads the entire league in saves, at 33, and games pitched, at 45. In 45 innings, he has given up only two home runs and has blown only three saves out of a league-leading 36 opponents. He owns a WHIP of only .84 and leads AL relief pitchers in strikeouts, being second in the league among relievers.
- Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees
Chapman has only blown one save out of 25 attempts at the back-end of the New York bullpen. He has an amazing 1.43 ERA in 37.2 innings pitched. His WHIP is just a tick over Edwin Diaz’s at .85. His 65 strikeouts is good for third best in the league and second in the AL for relievers. Lastly, the Missile has surrendered just one home run this season.
- Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox
- Blake Treinen, Oakland Athletics
- Dellis Betances, New York Yankees
And now, for the National League pitchers.
- Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
Scherzer leads the entire MLB in strikeouts, strikeouts per nine innings, and innings pitched. He also leads in National League in WHIP, batting average against, hits per nine innings. The three-time Cy Young winner owns the third lowest ERA in the NL and is tied for the second lowest WHIP in the MLB. He has definitely been the best pitcher in the National League so far this season and should start the Midsummer classic at his home stadium.
- Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs
In a season of inconsistent starting pitching in Chicago, Jon Lester has been the one consistency, and it has shown this year for the Cubs. Lester leads the NL in wins with 11 and has the fourth best ERA in the Senior Circuit. The veteran has had a solid season, which is what the Cubs have needed to compete with the Brewers for the NL Central. Entering July 4th, the Cubs trailed Milwaukee by just one game.
- Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
Jacob deGrom has been one of the only bright spots on a struggling Mets ballclub this year. deGrom owns the league’s best ERA at 1.84. The right-handed pitcher has the NL’s fifth-best WHIP, the second-most strikeouts (tied with Patrick Corbin of Arizona), and the fifth-most innings pitched. deGrom will be one of the few Mets to get good trade offers as the trade deadline looms in a few weeks on the last day of the month.
- Mike Foltynewicz, Atlanta Braves
- Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks
- Zach Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks
- Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers
Hader is not a closer, although he has seven saves on the campaign, but he has played a vital role in middle relief for the first-place Brew Crew. His 83 strikeouts lead all relief pitchers in strikeouts. He has pitched 44 2/3 innings, surrendering only two long balls, and has maintained an impressive .74 WHIP and a 1.21 ERA. The Milwaukee southpaw has a 2-0 record on the season.
- Sean Doolittle, Washington Nationals
Doolittle has the fourth-most saves in the National League with 21, but his .51 WHIP and 1.53 ERA in 35 1/3 innings are extremely impressive. Opponents only have a .126 batting average against Doolittle, so he should get a spot in the bullpen for the all-star game in his home stadium.
- Brad Hand, San Diego Padres
- Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers
- Brad Boxberger, Arizona Diamondbacks
So these are my picks for the top pitchers in the MLB. Do you agree? Comment down below!