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These Are the Best Pitchers in the MLB in 2024

These Are the Best Pitchers in the MLB in 2024

No player on a Major League Baseball (MLB) Team carries more weight on their shoulders than the pitcher. They’re front and center, both on the field and on the broadcast at home. Every run the opposing team scores ultimately starts with them and their ability to prevent hits and strike players out.

So, who are the best pitchers in the MLB right now? Here’s a breakdown on who’s at the top of the pitching charts right now, plus a quick primer on some of the most important statistics used to determine pitching performance.

Looking to see how your team’s pitchers stack up? Check out rankings, stats, players and more with DIRECTV sports schedule.

Best MLB Pitching Statistics

Major League Baseball is a statistics-heavy sport with a rich dataset to draw on. It’s no surprise, then, that there are numerous different metrics that can be used to measure pitching, and there’s a diversity of opinion on which ones are the best. Here are three of the metrics most experts agree provide the best picture of a pitcher’s performance.

1. ERA (Earned Runs Average): ERA is typically the metric of choice for most baseball analysts and aficionados when it comes to judging a pitcher’s performance. Put simply, it’s the number of runs a pitcher gives up per nine innings.

Runs that score with the help of an error or passed ball are not considered earned runs and don’t count towards this metric. The idea is that it’s a good measure of how well a pitcher is performing his core role: preventing runs from happening.

ERA does have a few downsides, primarily in that it doesn’t take into consideration whether the pitcher is backed up by a poor defense. It can also be skewed by things like the layout of the ballpark, which can vary greatly.

2. FIP (Field Independent Pitching): FIP is another metric designed to gauge the overall performance of a pitcher, but it differs in that it focuses more on variables that the pitcher can control: strikeouts, home runs, hit-by-pitches and walks.

3. WHIP (Walks and Hits Per Inning Pitched): WHIP is a simple but powerful statistic for gauging pitching. It’s the total number of hits and walks the pitcher allows divided by the total innings they have pitched (IP).

Who are the Top MLB Pitchers in 2024?

We’re going to use the above metrics to stack up the current field of pitchers in the MLB in a bit, but first let’s take a look at some of the stand-out starters that were considered the cream of the crop heading into the season and their current stat line:

Zach Wheeler (ERA: 2.53 | FIP: 2.74 | WHIP: 0.994) and Aaron Nola (ERA: 3.1 | FIP: 3.58 | WHIP: 1.086), Philadelphia Phillies: Wheeler is known for his amazing sinker and his impeccable ball control. Nola, a veteran starting pitcher with a career 3.70 ERA, is also in the Philile’s bullpen, making their pitching rotation a formidable group, indeed. It’s no surprise that the Phillies are arguably the best team in the league right now.

Corbin Burnes, Baltimore Orioles (ERA: 2.68 | FIP: 3.54 | WHIP: 1.006): The Oriole’s versatile power pitcher and his sliders and cutters are a big part of their success this season, which has seen the team go 26-14, second only to the New York Yankees in the American League.

Tyler Glasnow (ERA: 2.53 | FIP: 2.5 | WHIP: 0.86) and Yoshinobu Yamamoto (ERA: 3.21 | FIP: 3.24 | WHIP: 1.028), Los Angeles Dodgers: If you thought signing Shohei Ohtani was enough to make the Dodgers a force of nature this year, the team’s outlook only improved when they picked up Yoshinobu Yamamoto, too. Now, they’re sporting a pair of the league’s best strike-out artists.

Luis Castillo, Seattle Mariners (ERA: 3.31 | FIP: 3.06 | WHIP: 1.123): The Seattle Mariners are riding a .535 early in the season, in no small part thanks to Castillo’s consistency in pitching.

Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks (ERA: 2.86 | FIP: 3.59 | WHIP: 1.114): The Diamondbacks are fresh off a World Series appearance against the Texas Rangers, and 2023 Cy Young finalist Zac Gallen has played a big part in their success. Despite an under .500 record for the team, Gallen is a bright spot with his ERA breaking into the top 10 in the MLB.

Current Best MLB Pitchers by Performance This Season

So, using these three metrics, which pitchers have risen to the top of their game this season? Let’s take a look using the metrics we described above. For this table, we’re using ERA as the primary performance measure.

Player Team IP ERA FIP WHIP
Shota Imanaga Chicago Cubs 46.2 0.96 2.3 0.943
Tarik Skubal Detroit Tigers 49 2.02 2.03 0.857
Yu Darvish San Diego Padres 40.2 2.43 2.91 0.984
Dylan Cease San Diego Padres 55 2.45 2.35 0.782
Tyler Glasnow Los Angeles Dodgers 57 2.53 2.5 0.86
Zack Wheeler Philadelphia Phillies 53.1 2.53 2.74 0.994
Corbin Burnes Baltimore Orioles 53.2 2.68 3.54 1.006
Zac Gallen Arizona Diamondbacks 44 2.86 3.59 1.114
Logan Gilbert Seattle Mariners 58.2 3.07 3.53 0.955
Aaron Nola Philadelphia Phillies 58 3.1 3.58 1.086
Joe Ryan Minnesota Twins 47.2 3.21 2.99 0.986
Yoshinobu Yamamoto Los Angeles Dodgers 47.2 3.21 3.24 1.028
Luis Castillo Seattle Mariners 54.1 3.31 3.06 1.123
Carlos Rodon New York Yankees 49 3.31 4.42 1.224
Justin Verlander Houston Astros 29.1 3.38 5.11 1.193
Logan Webb San Francisco Giants 53.1 3.38 2.89 1.388
Nick Pivetta Boston Red Sox 20.2 3.48 5.07 1.016
Max Fried Atlanta Braves 45.1 3.57 3.91 1.037
George Kirby Seattle Mariners 50.1 3.58 2.87 0.954
Freddy Peralta Milwaukee Brewers 44.2 3.63 3.11 1.052
Framber Valdez Houston Astros 29.2 3.64 3.67 1.348
Grayson Rodriguez Baltimore Orioles 34 3.71 3.54 1.412
Pablo Lopez Minnesota Twins 44 3.89 3.02 0.977
Zach Eflin Tampa Bay Rays 53 3.91 3.83 1.132
Mitch Keller Pittsburgh Pirates 55 3.93 3.73 1.327
Cristian Javier Houston Astros 24.2 4.01 5.08 1.419
Cole Ragans Kansas City Royals 49 4.22 2.64 1.286
Tanner Bibee Cleveland Guardians 45.2 4.34 3.86 1.314
Justin Steele Chicago Cubs 13.1 4.73 5.31 1.2
Jordan Montgomery Arizona Diamondbacks 28.1 4.76 4.26 1.376
Kevin Gausman Toronto Blue Jays 36.1 4.95 3.79 1.514
Bobby Miller Los Angeles Dodgers 11.2 5.4 3.82 1.457
Jesus Luzardo Miami Marlins 31.2 5.97 4.3 1.326
Joe Musgrove San Diego Padres 41 6.37 5.94 1.512
Blake Snell San Francisco Giants 11.2 11.57 4.59 1.971

(Source: Baseball Reference)

Why Isn’t Spencer Strider Pitching?

Wait, what about Spencer Strider, the Atlanta Braves star starting pitcher? Coming into the season, Strider was widely considered the best pitcher on the mound in the MLB, but a bone fragment damaged his right collateral ligament, and he’s been ruled out for the season.

And What About Other Top Pitchers?

Injury is an unfortunate occupational hazard for any athlete, and pitchers aren’t immune. The season is missing out on seeing great pitchers like the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole on the mound, too.

Who are the best MLB pitchers of all time?

A lot of pitchers have stepped on to the mound in the baseball’s nearly 150-year history, so let’s use some of these metrics to take a look at the all-time top pitchers by ERA and WHIP:

Player

ERA

WHIP

Ed Walsh

1.82

1

Addie Joss

1.89

0.97

Mordecai Brown

2.06

1.07

John Ward

2.1

1.04

Christy Mathewson

2.13

1.06

Rube Waddell

2.16

1.1

Walter Johnson

2.17

1.06

Tommy Bond

2.25

1.09

Will White

2.28

1.11

Ed Reulbach

2.28

1.14

(Source: ESPN)

Now, statistics only tell part of the story when it comes to the best pitchers of all time. There are some notable names missing from that list (looking at you, Cy Young and Roger Clemens). Let’s look again, adding in games played and wins in addition to ERA:

Player

Games Games Started Wins ERA

Cy Young

906

815

316

2.63

Walter Johnson

802

666

279

2.17

Pete Alexander

696

599

208

2.56

Christy Mathewson

635

551

188

2.13

Warren Spahn

750

665

245

3.09

Kid Nichols

620

561

208

2.95

Pud Galvin

697

682

308

2.87

Greg Maddux

744

740

227

3.16

Roger Clemens

709

707

184

3.12

Tim Keefe

599

593

225

2.62

(Source: ESPN)

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the best pitchers of all time?

Cy Young and Roger Clemens are two of the best and most well-known baseball pitchers of all time.

What is the bullpen in baseball?

The bullpen is the area where a team's relief pitchers warm up before taking the mound.

What's the fastest pitch ever thrown?

105.6 mile per hour.

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