Mar 14, 2013
Few people will argue that the starting pitcher is one of the most exciting positions in baseball and the fact that two of the five highest paid men in the sport hold this position speaks volumes.
Over the years there have been some memorable starting pitchers, with each holding their own style in a bid to thwart opponents. Some throw at lightning fast speeds, while others will rely on a slightly more strategic technique.
Taking the above into account, here are my top three starting pitchers over the last decade. It is probably fair to say that not everyone will agree with the choices, but the fact that each man varies so considerably is a big reason behind my list.
#1 Randy Johnson
The very fact that this man could regularly pitch at 100 miles per hour is the principle reason why he is ranked at #1 on my list. Additionally, Johnson is a player who practically every individual reading this piece will have heard of, with his immense physical condition meaning that he was playing at elite level for over twenty two years.
After starting his career with the Montreal Expos, Johnson’s career transpired at a phenomenal rate and he played for a total of six teams. As he became more experienced, his pitches got more powerful and fortunately this speed was combined with terrific accuracy. This combination of attributes meant that Johnson was one of the most feared starting pitchers throughout his career and actually finished with a total of 4,875 strikeouts – the second highest in the game.
Of course, as you would expect from a US sensation, Johnson had his own nickname and was regularly referred to as the Big Unit. That name alone should endear you to him!
#2 Johan Santana
The man who takes 2nd position on my list is Venezuelan Johan Santana. At 33-years-old Santana is still in the game as he pitches for the New York Mets. Prior to that, he enjoyed a hugely successful seven year stint with the Minnesota Twins.
Considering the fact that the average speed of Santana’s fastball is 88-94 mph, it would be fair to say that he cannot really be classed in the same category as Randy Johnson. Nevertheless, the fastball isn’t where he made his name, with the slider being one of his key weapons.
It could be said that Santana doesn’t possess the reputation that Johnson has, and probably never will. However, he still has some fantastic records to his name, with two Cy Young Awards probably being his best accolade to date. He also became the first no-hitter for the New York Mets last year, while it is clear that the Mets value him immensely after they handed him the biggest pitcher contract in the history of the sport several years ago.
He might not be everyone’s pick, but Santana has something a little different that makes him a favourite of mine.
#3 C.C. Sabathia
If we’re talking money, C.C. Sabathia signed a contract about a year after Santana that made him the highest paid pitcher the sport has ever seen. However, this is not the reason he has made it onto my list – with statistics being the key to why he is a favourite.
Put simply, few players compete with Sabathia when it comes to the stats. He has never completed a campaign with fewer than 135 strikeouts, while he tends to average 200 pitched innings per season. Suffice to say, he is one of the New York Yankees’ biggest assets.
The style of Sabathia is something else that has attracted his name to this top three list. While a lot of pitchers only have one or two styles, he has four such as a fastball, a two-seam fastball a slider and a changeup. This makes him a real mystery for opponents and has obviously been one of the big reasons behind his success as the statistics highlight.
While Liam is based in the UK, he retains a keen interest in sports in the US with baseball being one of his favourites. His own website, bonusbetting.org.uk, looks to provide users with the latest betting offers on a variety of different sports.