Top 10 Young Pitchers in MLB
Major League Baseball has seen a rise in young pitching over the past few years. Finding young pitching in baseball is hard to do but when you find a young ace, teams build around their young starters. These are the top ten pitchers in Major League Baseball who are age 25 or younger.
10. Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
Fernandez just turned 21 on Wednesday and is showing the Marlins that he should be their ace for a long time. Fernandez is the first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2004 to strike out 13 batters or more in consecutive starts and is the last rookie since Kerry Wood in 1998. He is 8-5 with a 2.54 ERA and has 138 strikeouts in 127 innings pitched. He was an All-Star this season.
9. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
Chapman throws over 100 miles per hour and is a shut down closer for the Reds. The Reds thought about moving Chapman to the rotation this season during Spring Training but he is best suited for the pen. In 2012, Chapman saved 38 games with a 1.51 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 71.2 innings and helped lead to the postseason. This year, the 25-year-old Cuban has 25 saves and 71 strikeouts in 41.2 innings.
8. Mat Latos, Cincinnati Reds
Latos, 25, is the veteran of this group, pitching in five seasons already between the San Diego Padres and Reds. He has a career record of 51-36 already and has been a part of a solid 1-2 punch with Johnny Cueto. Latos has a record 24-7 so far in his two seasons with the Reds. He is 10-3 with a 3.38 ERA with 148 strikeouts this season.
7. Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays
Moore was the top pitching prospect in 2012, according to Baseball America. Moore made the team in 2012 and had an 11-11 record with a 3.81 ERA and 175 strikeouts in 177.1 innings. This season, the 24-year-old left-hander has shown his potential and has been an ace for the Rays this season. He is 14-3 on the season and was a first time All-Star. Moore is currently on the 15-day DL, but should be ready to lead the Rays to the postseason in 2013.
6. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
Don’t let a 5-8 record this season fool you, Strasburg is one of the best pitchers in the league. He is a strikeout machine and averaged 230 strikeouts in 197 for his four-year career, according to Baseball Reference. In 2012, the Nationals had a pitch count and innings limit after he was recovering from 2012. Strasburg was the first pick in the 2009 draft and his 2010 debut may be one of the best debut’s in the past 20 years.
5. Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
Sale was the 13th pick in the 2011 draft and made his debut that season in the bullpen. In 2012, he became the ace of the White Sox staff. He went 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA in 192 innings while striking out 192 batters. Sale was the opening day starter and is 6-11 this season, but has a 2.92 ERA with 155 strikeouts this season in 142 seasons. The White Sox locked up Sale this season with a five-year extension worth $32.5 million.
4. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
When Mariano Rivera retires this season, Kimbrel may take the throne as MLB’s top closer. He has led the NL in saves in each of the first two full seasons of his career and is currently leading the league in saves this season as of August 3. When Kimbrel comes out for the ninth inning, the game is pretty much over.
3. Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
Bumgarner is only 23 years old and has two World Series rings. He has quickly become one of the best left-handers in baseball and the ace of a very good Giants rotation. Bumgarner was a first time All-Star this season and is currently 11-6 with a 2.69 ERA.
2. Matt Harvey, New York Mets
In his first full season with the Mets this season, Harvey was the starter for the NL in the All-Star Game in his home ballpark. Harvey is one of the best pitchers in the game, he can throw all four pitches for strikes and has a fastball that hits the high-90s. Harvey is 8-3, 2.21 ERA, and 172 strikeouts in 150.2 innings pitched. He is a candidate for the NL Cy Young winner this season in the future.
1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw is just 25 years old and is already a Cy Young Award winner in 2011 and has been the ERA leader in the NL for back to back seasons. Kershaw gets better and better every season. Kershaw is a free agent in 2014 and, according to multiple reports, he could be the first pitcher to make $200 million. Kershaw is 10-6 with a 1.88 ERA and 161 strikeouts this season and will most likely capture his second Cy Young award in three seasons.