TOP 10 STARTING PITCHERS
1. Justin Verlander (RHP), Detroit Tigers – Won the American League Cy Young by winning pitching’s Triple Crown (24-5 record, 2.40 ERA, 250 Ks) and will be relied on to help Detroit to the World Series.
2. Clayton Kershaw (LHP), L.A. Dodgers – Like Verlander, Kershaw won the Cy Young (in the National League) after winning pitching’s Triple Crown (21-5 record, 2.28 ERA, 248 Ks). History is on his side to have a similar season.
3. Roy Halladay (RHP), Philadelphia Phillies – In most years, Halladay’s numbers (19-6 record, 2.35 ERA, 220 Ks) would have made him a lock to win the Cy Young. Look for more greatness this season.
4. Cliff Lee (LHP), Philadelphia Phillies – The other half of Philadelphia’s dynamic duo, Lee was impressive again last season (17-8 record, 2.40 ERA, 238 Ks) and hopes he and Halladay can carry the Phillies to the World Series after a disappointing exit last year.
5. Jered Weaver (RHP), L.A. Angels – Had career-bests in wins (18-8) and ERA (2.41) and struck out 198. Look for those numbers to improve with the addition of C.J. Wilson (from Texas) to the starting rotation.
6. Ian Kennedy (RHP), Arizona Diamondbacks – Had career-bests with a 21-4 record, 2.88 ERA and 198 Ks to help the Diamondbacks to a surprising season under NL Manager of the year and former big leaguer Kirk Gibson.
7. C.C. Sabathia (LHP), N.Y. Yankees – To think that Sabathia had a 3.00 ERA and 230 Ks in baseball’s toughest division and then to go 19-8 (even though it’s with the Yankees) make us believe he could be a multiple Cy Young winner in the National League if he ever chose to test those waters again.
8. Tim Lincecum (RHP), San Francisco Giants – His record wasn’t impressive (13-14), but he had one of the league’s best ERAs (2.74) and he had 220 Ks, which make for a lethal combination.
9. James Shields (RHP), Tampa Bay Rays – Look past his record (16-12) and look at the possibilities (2.82 ERA, 225 Ks) and you have someone who could end up with one of the big-spending teams soon.
10. C.J. Wilson (LHP), L.A. Angels – Was the big contract worth it? Most think so, but only a World Series title will justify most naysayers. Wilson’s numbers last season: 16-7 record, 2.94 ERA, 206 Ks.