By Eddie McDonald
Spring is right around the corner which means baseball season is right around the corner. Today marked a day baseball fans everywhere were looking forward to as pitchers and catcher started reporting to their respective camps for the initial stages of spring training. Within a week the rest of the teams will join the pitchers and catchers to really set in the notion of baseball being back. Over the next few days we will look at the top pitchers and catchers in each league, before transitioning into the position players and teams. Here are the top 10 pitchers in the American League.
10. Collin McHugh – Houston Astros
2015 Stats: 19-7, 3.89 ERA, 203.2 IP, 1.28 WHIP, 171 K, .263 AVG
McHugh had a sensational season for the Astros, who really turned things around this season, by making the playoffs and being a pretty good team with a ton of upside moving forward. McHugh will look to be even more impressive this upcoming season.
9. Colby Lewis – Texas Rangers
2015 Stats: 17-9, 4.66 ERA, 204.2 IP, 142 K, 1.24 WHIP, .266 AVG
Lewis bounced back after a 10-14 2014 season, a year removed from elbow and hip surgeries. The 36-year old put together a solid season and if he can remain healthy, he should have another solid season to help the Rangers.
8. Carlos Carrasco – Cleveland Indians
2015 Stats: 14-12, 3.63 ERA, 183.2 IP, 216 K, 10.58 K/9, 1.07 WHIP
Carrasco can really bring the heat with his four-seam fastball and it showed this past season racking up 216 strikeouts. He is a young bright spot for the Indians’ pitching staff and if he can continue to get better, it won’t be long before he is a serious contender for the Cy Young award.
7. Edinson Volquez – Kansas City Royals
2015 Stats: 13-9, 3.55 ERA, 200.1 IP, 155 K, 1.31 WHIP
The record might not be indicative to how Volquez pitched this season, but he helped the Royals win a World Series. It was his first season with Kansas City and what a season it was for Volquez and his teammates.
6. Masahiro Tanaka – New York Yankees
2015 Stats: 12-7, 3.51 ERA, 154 IP, 139 K, 0.99 WHIP
Tanaka will look to bounce back from October elbow surgery and if he is able to do that, the Yankees will be in good shape. Tanaka doesn’t allow too many baserunners and if he is able to get back to his pitching before his surgery, he will be tough to beat.
5. Sonny Gray – Oakland Athletics
2015 Stats: 14-7, 2.73 ERA, 208 IP, 169 K, 1.08 WHIP, .217 AVG, 3 CG
The 26-year old posted his second consecutive 14-win season and is only getting better. He is an innings eater for the A’s and one of the focal points of their starting rotation.
4. Dallas Keuchel – Houston Astros
2015 Stats: 20-8, 2.48 ERA, 232 IP, 216 K, 1.02 WHIP
Is it odd for the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner to not be the No. 1 pitcher heading into the 2015 season? Arguably, but let’s see if he can continue his great season into this season. Can he be even better? Absolutely. He is the workhorse of this staff in his fourth season.
3. Chris Sale – Chicago White Sox
2015 Stats: 13-11, 3.41 ERA, 208.2 IP, 274 K, 1.09 WHIP
Sale’s record doesn’t do him any justice as he is a flame thrower, leading the American League in strikeouts last year with 274. If the 26-year old lefty could get a little more run support, his record would be better than two games over .500.
2. David Price – Boston Red Sox
2015 Stats: 18-5 (with Detroit and Toronto), 2.45 ERA, 220.1 IP, 225 K, 1.08 WHIP
Price narrowly missed the Cy Young award this past season, but that doesn’t take away from the season he had. Toronto traded for Price at the trade deadline in hopes to put them ahead of everyone else in route to a World Series championship. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, that didn’t happen and now they will have to face Price throughout the season as he signed a very lucrative deal with the divisional rival Boston Red Sox.
1. Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
2015 Stats: 18-9, 3.53 ERA, 201.2 IP, 191 K, 1.18 WHIP, 2 CG-SO
King Felix is one of the elite pitchers in the entire MLB, but you wouldn’t know it by the way Seattle has failed to support him with a lineup that can produce runs. Hernandez is often the victim of lack of run support, which would only make his record better, ultimately making his team’s record better and giving them a chance to contend for the World Series.