LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — As we approach the All-Star break, the 2015 season has already been filled with dominant pitching performances. Young pitchers have emerged as the new faces of pitching in the MLB and every team seems to have at least one fireballer who throws at least 100 mph.
We compiled a list of the top five most dominant pitchers this season in the major leagues, based on strike-out percentages, opponent's batting average, and earned run average.
5. Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
Jacob deGrom has followed up his impressive 2014 rookie season picking up right where he left off. He has a record of 9-6 in 17 starts this season for the Mets and has an ERA of just 2.14 with a WHIP of 0.92.
He has 112 strikeouts in 113 2/3 innings pitched, giving him a strikeout rate (K%) of 25.28%. That ranks him 13th in the MLB for K%, and every fourth batter he is averaging a strikeout.
As for opponents batting average against deGrom, hitters are batting just .206 against him, which ranks 7th best in the entire MLB.
His 2.14 ERA is 4th best in the majors and he was selected to his first All-Star team this season in just his second year in the MLB.
4. Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays
Chris Archer has racked up 147 strikeouts in 121 2/3 innings pitched this season for the Tampa Bay Rays. The ace has an ERA of just 2.74 and leads the majors in games started with 19.
Archer was selected to his first All-Star team this season, after posting a strikeout percentage (K%) of 30.43%. That K% is good for third best in the MLB, trailing only Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw.
Opposing batters are hitting a meager .210 against Archer this season, and that ranks 10th best among all major league pitchers.
His ERA is 16th best in the MLB, and he also has an impressive 1.02 WHIP (10th best in MLB) as the All-Star break approaches. The 26-year old is in his fourth big league season, and the future is bright for the Rays ace as he is just one win shy of matching his win total from last year.
3. Zach Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers
Zach Greinke has been untouchable as of late. He currently has a streak of 35 2/3 scoreless innings streak going into the All-Star break, and has lowered his ERA to a league-best 1.39.
He is just the fifth pitcher in the common era to take an ERA under 1.40 going into the All-Star break, and the the 2009 Cy Young Award winner was selected to his third All-Star game.
Greinke has registered 106 strikeouts this season with a K% of 22.75. His opponents batting average this season is just .191, which ranks fourth among all major league pitchers. He has surrendered just 84 hits in 439 batters faced.
Greinke is a legitimate candidate to start the NL All-Star game on the mound, as he is on pace for a record-breaking season.
2. Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
Watching Chris Sale pitch is truly something special. Every pitch he throws he contorts his body in angles that don't seem physically possible. The crafty left-hander has struck out 10 batters 10 separate times this season, as he carries a 2.80 ERA with him as he was selected to his fourth consecutive All-Star game.
Sale has 147 strikeouts on the year, and a K% of 33.41% which ranks first in the entire major leagues.
Opponents are hitting just .205 on the year against Sale, which is good for fifth best in the league. Sale has a record of 7-4, but leads the majors in strikeouts per nine innings with a rate of 11.8.
The previous three seasons, he has finished in the top six in voting for the AL Cy Young Award. In 2012 he finished sixth, in 2013 he finished fifth, and last season he finished third. If trends indicate anything, he should win a Cy Young Award for his dominance on the mound in the next two years.
1. Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
Before the 2015 season began, Max Scherzer was a free agent and signed a massive seven-year, $210 million deal with the Washington Nationals.
When the terms of the contract were released, many scoffed at the huge contract, but few were surprised that he received it.
In 2013 he made his first All-Star team with the Detroit Tigers and put up a league best 21 wins while only suffering three losses. His ERA that season was 2.90 as he struck out 240 batters on his way to winning the Cy Young Award in the American League.
In 2014, Scherzer won 18 games, also a league best, and only lost five games. His ERA was 3.15 but he did strike out a career-high 252 batters.
This season, Scherzer is 9-7 with a 2.12 ERA, and leads the league in complete games (3) and shutouts (2). Going into this season, Scherzer had just one complete game and one shutout in his career in seven previous seasons.
He also threw a no-hitter earlier in the year, and was just one out shy of making it a perfect game, as he hit Pirates' Jose Tabata with a pitch with 8 2/3 perfect innings already pitched.
Scherzer's strikeout percentage is fourth best in the major leagues at 30.17% and his opponents batting average leads the league as he is holding hitters to a minuscule .188 batting average.
His 0.80 WHIP also leads the major leagues, as he has allowed just 85 hits and 14 walks in a league-leading 123 1/3 innings pitched.
On June 14th, Scherzer struck out 16 batters against the Brewers and only surrendered one hit in a complete game shutout. His next start on June 20th, Scherzer threw a no-hitter against the Pirates. He struck out 10 batter and allowed his first base-runner with two outs in the 9th inning.
Scherzer has absolutely dominated hitters this year, and is certainly deserving of garnering the title of most dominant pitcher in the MLB for the first half of the season.
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