MLB Top 10 Starting Pitchers Heading into 2019

by Glenn Kaplan
by Glenn Kaplan

The weather outside in the northeast doesn't feel like baseball season right now. However, pitchers and catchers will be reporting to spring training in the next few weeks. MLB Opening Day will be at the end of March. Starting pitching is one of the most important positions in all of baseball. Who are the Top 10 starting pitchers heading into the 2019 season?

10. Luis Severino (NYY): Severino was scorching at the beginning of the 2018 season, but then he cooled off a little. Luis Severino is by far the Yankees best starting pitcher on the team. He has a solid fastball and breaking pitch. New York usually wins games when he takes the mound every fifth day. His record last season was 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA. In 191.1 innings last season, Severino gave up 173 hits and 76 runs. He walked 46 batters and struck out 220.

9. Corey Kluber (CLE): Kluber is so effective in getting batters out because of his sinker. They either strike out or ground out a lot from it. He wasn't even Cleveland's best pitcher last season and Corey Kluber has won a couple of Cy Young Awards before. His record last season was 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA. In 215 innings pitched, he gave up 179 hits and 75 runs. Kluber walked 34 batters and struck out 222.

8. Gerrit Cole (HOU): Cole was a very good pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he took his game to another level last season with the Houston Astros. It was his best season as a pro. Gerrit Cole was able to be effective because he didn't have the pressure to be the number one starter. Cole also has an effective sinker that gets batters out. His record last season was 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA. In 200.1 innings pitched, he gave up 143 hits and 68 hits. Gerrit Cole walked 64 batters and struck out 276.

7. Aaron Nola (PHI): Nola had a breakout 2018 season. He turned into one of the best starting pitchers in baseball and Aaron Nola will be one of the best starting pitchers in baseball for years to come. His changeup and curveball was very effective. Nola will be the leader of this pitching staff as well. His record last season was 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA. In 212.1 innings pitched, he gave up 149 hits and 57 runs. He walked 58 batters and struck out 224.

6. Chris Sale (BOS): Sale missed part of the 2018 because of an injury, but his strikeout rate was unreal. In only 158 innings pitched, he struck out 237 batters. Chris Sale's slider is one of the best in baseball. He also gave up 102 hits and only 39 runs. Sale walked 34 batters. Boston was the best team in baseball in 2018. Sale will be one of the reasons why the Red Sox will be good again in 2019.

5. Max Scherzer (WSH): Scherzer was probably going to walk away with another Cy Young Award in 2018 if it wasn't for the dominance of New York Mets starter Jacob deGrom. Max Scherzer was the only pitcher in baseball that struck out 300 batters and that was actually the exact number he had. His record was 18-7 with a 2.53 ERA. In 220.2 innings pitched, Scherzer gave up 150 hits and 66 runs. He also walked 51 batters. Anytime Max Scherzer touches the mound, he is a strikeout show waiting to happen.

4. Justin Verlander (HOU): Verlander is always focused every time he takes the mound. Justin Verlander is one of the toughest pitchers to hit off of in all of baseball. When he is dialed in, good luck getting a couple of hits off of him. Verlander has a very effective fastball and breaking ball. He took a lot of pressure off of Gerrit Cole this season and that is why Cole succeed. Justin Verlander's record last season was 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA. In 214 innings pitched, he gave up 156 hits and 63 runs. He walked 37 batters and struck out 290. Verlander is 35 years old and is in the final year of his contract.

3. Blake Snell (TB): Snell came out of nowhere last season. Other than Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale, he might be the best left-handed pitcher in all of baseball right now. Blake Snell won the American League Cy Young last season. His record was 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA. In 180.2 innings pitched, he gave up 112 hits and 41 runs. Snell walked 64 batters and struck out 221 batters. Tampa Bay won 90 games last season. He is going to have to pitch at an elite level again this season if the Rays are going to get to the postseason.

2. Trevor Bauer (CLE): Bauer was on his way to winning the AL Cy Young last season until he got hurt late in the year. Trevor Bauer was moved to the bullpen in the postseason for Cleveland. His curveball is nasty and his fastball is solid. Bauer's record last season was 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA. In 175.1 innings pitched, he gave up 134 hits and 51 runs. Trevor Bauer walked 57 batters and struck out 221 batters.

1. Jacob deGrom (NYM): Jacob deGrom didn't get a whole ton of run support from New York last season. His record last season was 10-9 with a 1.70 ERA. In 217 innings pitched, he gave up 152 hits and 48 runs. Jacob deGrom only walked 48 batters and he struck out 269 batters. Had deGrom received the necessary run support, he would have won at least 20 games last season. Jacob deGrom was so dominate every time he touched the mound. He was basically forced to pitch at a high level every game because of how bad the Mets offense was. His fastball and breaking pitches were unreal last season. Jacob deGrom was excellent getting out of jams.