Ladies and Gentlemen: 30 days, 30 MLB position rankings. Nine positions and the top starting pitcher ranked from each team in three parts each. Each player on the list is based on the projected starter for a team for the 2020 season by position. On day twenty-nine of this series, we’ll look at the MLB starting pitchers ranked from 20-11.
Check out my previous rankings from this series:
Catchers 30-21 | Catchers 20-11 | Catchers 10-1 | First Base 30-21 | First Basemen 20-11 | First Basemen 10-1 | Second Basemen 30-21 | Second Basemen 20-11 | Second Basemen 10-1 | Third Basemen 30-21 | Third Basemen 20-11 | Third Basemen 10-1 | Shortstop 30-21 | Shortstops 20-11 | Shortstop 10-1 | Left Field 30-21 | Left Field 20-11 | Left Field 10-1 |Center Field 30-21 | Center Field 20-11 | Center Field 10-1 | Right Field 30-21 | Right Field 20-11 | Right Field 10-1 | Designated Hitter 15-1 | Relief Pitcher 30-16 | Relief Pitcher 15-1| Starting Pitchers 30-21
Also, it’s worth mentioning that this list is simply the best pitcher on each team and not the top thirty starting pitchers. Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin are arguably top-ten pitchers, but because Max Scherzer is on the Nationals, neither of those two will appear on this ranking.
20. Madison Bumgarner, Arizona Diamondbacks
2019: 34 games, 207.2 IP, 9-9 Record, 3.90 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 203 Strikeouts
After spending the first 11 years of his career and winning three rings, Madison Bumgarner signed with the Diamondbacks in the offseason. The left-handed pitcher had a down year in 2019, as his 3.90 ERA was a career-high. At age 30, it will be interesting to see how Mad-Bum performs with his new team in 2020.
19. Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs
2019: 30 games, 177.0 IP, 11-10 Record, 3.46 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 150 Strikeouts
Kyle Hendricks won’t blow hitters away with his velocity. However, his ability to paint the corners with his two-seam fastball has made him an effective pitcher since he broke into MLB in 2014. Jon Lester had been the Cubs ace the past few seasons but had a down year in 2019, so Hendricks earns the nod for Chicago.
18. Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers
2019: 22 games, 121.2 IP, 11-3 Record, 3.62 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 143 Strikeouts
In his third MLB season, Brandon Woodruff had a great year for the Brewers, earning his first all-star appearance. Woodruff’s offspeed pitches are nothing special, but he has a great two-seam fastball that hits up to 98. Additionally, Woodruff does a great job at keeping the ball in the park as he only gave up 12 home runs last season.
17. Frankie Montas, Oakland Athletics
2019: 16 games, 96.0 IP, 9-2 Record, 2.63 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 103 Strikeouts
While Frankie Montas hasn’t pitched a full MLB season yet, he had a great year in a smaller sample size last year. Montas’ slider was elite last year, at a mark of 9.9 w/SL in 2019, per FanGraphs. The Athletics don’t like pitching their guys deep into games, but Montas is their clear ace for 2020.
16. Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins
2019: 32 games, 200.1 IP, 14-8 Record, 3.68 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 195 Strikeouts
Jose Berrios had another great year in 2019, as he earned an all-star nod for the second consecutive year. Berrios does a good job striking hitters out, but he needs to work on limiting home runs. He’s allowed 51 deep flies since the start of 2018. Jake Odorizzi and Kenta Maeda are great second and third options in that rotation as well.
15. Chris Paddack, San Diego Padres
2019: 26 games, 140.2 IP, 9-7 Record, 3.33 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 153 Strikeouts
In his rookie year, Chris Paddack instantly inserted himself as the ace in the Padres’ rotation at age 23. Paddack does a great job at limiting base-runners as he posted a sub-one WHIP last year. His only main issue is keeping the ball in the yard. He allowed 23 home runs in 2019, despite playing in a pitcher-friendly ballpark.
14. Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox
2019: 29 games, 176.2 IP, 14-9 Record, 3.41 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 228 Strikeouts
Lucas Giolito did a full 180 in 2019. After posting an ERA of 6.13 in 32 starts in 2018, Giolito had a breakout year, earning his first all-stod nod in 2019. Giolito’s fastball-changeup combination is extremely tough for hitters to figure out. At age 25, he should only continue to improve.
13. Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds
2019: 32 games, 190.2 IP, 15-8 Record, 3.40 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 226 Strikeouts
After a mediocre year in 2018, Luis Castillo took his game to a new level in 2019, earning his first all-star nod. While his fastball is still a league-average pitch, his circle-changeup is what makes him a great pitcher. Castillo forces a ton of swing-and-misses and should continue to improve in 2020.
12. Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
2019: 34 games, 202.1 IP, 12-7 Record, 3.87 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 229 Strikeouts
After a Cy Young caliber year in 2018, Aaron Nola had a down year in 2019. The main reason for his struggle was his control. His BB/9 rate rose from 2.5 in 2018 to 3.6 last year as he walked 80 batters, Simply put, that’s too many. Nola has a great backdoor fastball but needs to work on controlling his offspeed pitches.
11. Mike Soroka, Atlanta Braves
2019: 29 games, 174.2 IP, 13-4 Record, 2.68 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 142 Strikeouts
At age 21, Mike Soroka had an incredible year, finishing second in the NL ROY race, and sixth in the Cy Young race. Soroka has great command of his pitches while keeping the ball in the yard. His 0.7 HR/9 rate led the NL in 2019. He should only continue to improve, and barely misses this year’s top ten.
Come back tomorrow for the final ranking: the top ten starting pitchers!
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