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Top 20 Pitchers in the Major Leagues

I’m not usually one for lists, but after the madness of Tuesday night’s Roy Halladay/Josh Johnson matchup, plus the impending Cliff Lee/Ricky Nolasco duel on Wednesday, I started to put together the list of the best pitchers in the game.

There’s no science experiment behind this, either. Statistical analysis was pretty much thrown out the window. It was more a feel for which guys I would most like to have in a particular order by skimming their numbers and taking into account their stuff, room for improvement, age, injury history, etc. So try not to kill me for it.

(And, yes, I know how people get with lists).

Top 20 pitchers in MLB:

1. Roy Halladay, PHI – Not slowing down, continues to refine his stuff at age 34. If/When the velocity begins to drop a bit (which it hasn’t) he’ll still pitch forever because he’s pinpoint accurate and has crazy movement.

2. Felix Hernandez, SEA– Kid is still only 25 years old, so hasn’t yet reached his prime. Only Halladay is better.

3. Josh Johnson, FLA – 6’7, 250, and only 27 years old. Blossomed under the radar last year, but people need to know who he is NOW.

4. Tim Lincecum, SF – Thought he would regress a bit and still worry about that crazy motion, but still getting unbelievable results. Velocity down a few ticks from few years ago.

5. Justin Verlander, DET – Two no-hitters, 100 mph stuff, plus location. I’d want him on my team. The dude is a horse. If his breaking stuff were slightly better he might be #1.

6. Adam Wainwright, STL – He’s hurt but I’d still take him over everyone but 5 other pitchers. He’s so consistent and will have a brand new elbow next year.

7. Cliff Lee, PHI – Strikes out 16 in a game, yet still has room to improve on it. Seems a bit rusty in early going, but anyone who can K 16 is a friend of mine. Pinpoint accurate.

8. Cole Hamels, PHI – I put him over Sabathia because he’s still got more to learn and has yet to put it all together for full season, yet, has better numbers already. Him and Lee are a toss, but Lee has better K stuff.

9. CC Sabathia, NYY – Numbers are down a bit this year (1.34 WHIP) but still so good.

10. Jered Weaver, LAA – Really blossoming and has ridiculous strikeout stuff. Will overpower anyone in the game and is only 28. This is his prime and he should be here for a few more years. Now, the rest…

11. Jon Lester, BOS

Jon Lester just missed the Top 10.

12. Zack Greinke, MIL
13. Dan Haren, LAA
14. Clayton Kershaw, LAD
15. Tommy Hanson, ATL
16. Roy Oswalt, PHI
17. Max Scherzer, DET
18. Yovani Gallardo, MIL
19. Mat Latos, SD
20. Trevor Cahill, OAK

Chris Carpenter, Ubaldo Jimenez, Brett Anderson, Shawn Marcum, Ricky Nolasco, Jaime Garcia, David Price, Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, Ricky Romero, Clay Buchholz all just barely missed the cut. I’m personally a big fan of Anderson and Marcum and it was tough to keep them out.

It’s no wonder there are so many no-hitters anymore – there are so many unbelievable pitchers.

What would you change on this list?

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