theBRKDWN’s Top-5 Starting Pitchers Entering the 2020 Season

By: Joseph Caruso – (@joe_caruso9)

5. Stephen Strasburg– Washington Nationals   

2019 Season Statistics: IP: 209 ERA: 3.32 WHIP: 1.04 K: 251

The Washington Nationals were smart to secure their three-headed monster rotation by choosing to resign Stephen Strasburg after the 2019 season instead of Anthony Rendon. The 31-year-old Strasburg had arguably his best season in 2019 and was a key piece in the Nationals capturing their first WS title as he won the WS MVP. His 7 year $252 million deal may be a bit rich but if Strasburg can continue to stay healthy and pitch the way he can, it could end up working out similar to another pitcher they signed for similar money in 2015.

4. Justin Verlander– Houston Astros

2019 Season Statistics: IP: 223 ERA: 2.62 WHIP: 0.81 K: 300

Verlander was an absolute beast in 2019 winning the AL Cy Young award in his age 36 season. While he was not able to get his second WS ring with the Astros, Verlander showed that Father Time has not caught up to him yet. The reason he is ranked 4th and not 3rd is due to the fact that he had another pitcher in his rotation that was arguably better than him last season; and now at 37 years old, he will need to be the true ace of the Astros moving forward. As a Blue Jays fan, it was awesome seeing vintage Verlander no-hit the Jays last September, in Toronto, for the second time in his career.

3. Max Scherzer– Washington Nationals

2019 Season Statistics: IP: 172.1 ERA: 2.92 WHIP: 1.03 K: 243

While it definitely was not his best season statistically, Scherzer finally got what he deserved and that was a WS ring with the Nationals. After all the failure of the playoffs, the Nationals finally got the job done and Scherzer was a warrior in 2019. Suffering multiple injuries including a black eye from a bunt, Scherzer also dealt with a shoulder issue during the WS which he fought through to pitch five innings in Game 7. With Strasburg back in the fold, the Nationals three-headed monster of Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin will be elite once again in 2020.

2. Gerrit Cole– New York Yankees

2019 Season Statistics: IP: 212.1 ERA: 2.50 WHIP: 0.89 K: 326

The strikeout king in 2019 was Gerrit Cole, who averaged an outstanding 13.8K/9. He was a force every time he stepped on the mound. It was surprising to some that he did not capture the 2019 AL Cy Young award.Cole didn’t care about this as he used this career season to sign the biggest pitcher contract in MLB history with his childhood favourite, the New York Yankees. The 29 year-old joins a stacked Yankees squad and with already a few injuries to their rotation, he will be heavily relied upon to perform in 2019.

1. Jacob deGrom– New York Mets

2019 Season Statistics: IP: 204 ERA: 2.43 WHIP: 0.97 K: 255

Since deGrom cut his flow at the end of the 2017 season, he has been outright the best pitcher in baseball over the past two seasons. While deGrom didn’t possess the outright best statistics in 2019, he was rightly chosen to be selected as the NL Cy Young award winner for the second consecutive season. While not quite as ridiculous as his 2018 campaign, deGrom is easily one of the unluckiest pitchers in the league as the Mets never give him run support when he is on the mound. The Mets have a talented roster and with the best pitcher in the league on their squad it would be another major disappointment if they fail to clinch a playoff spot in 2020.

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