As a sports fan and a baseball fan in general, this MLB season was truly amazing. Between the youth movement taking over the game and also being ready to say goodbye to a few legends that have paced the game for years, this season has been everything that we as fans could have asked for. The Yankees were bad for a while, got hot for a few games and then went back to losing to the 100-loss Orioles, benches cleared, lots of No-Hitters were thrown, Gerrit Cole got shelled 6 times, the Red Sox traded for Kyle Schwarber and not Joey Gallo and Miggy hit his 500th home run. What a year. Filled with all ups and few downs (unless you are a Yankees fan). Most of the highlights of this season came on the mound, so without further ado, here are my picks for the top 15 pitchers of the 2021 MLB season.
1. Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies
Season Stats: 213.1 innings pitched, 3 CG, 14-10 record, 2.78 ERA, 247 K, 7.6 WAR
Wheeler absolutely dominated this year and has rarely been talked about. To this point, he has logged the most innings out of any pitcher in baseball this year and his numbers have not suffered. He is my pick for NL Cy Young.
2. Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals + Los Angeles Dodgers
Season Stats: 2.46 ERA, 15-4 record, 179.1 IP, 236 K
Mad Max was the biggest fish at this season's trade deadline and paid dividends for the Dodgers. At 36 years old, Scherzer's numbers were amazing, especially his 7-0 record with the second-best team in the NL West.
3. Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers
Season Stats: 167 IP, 11-5 record, 2.43 ERA
Prior to the 2021 season, Burnes had never pitched over 60 innings. Burnes dominated and held opponents to a lowly .201 batting-average to go with a 35.6 strikeout percentage.
4. Robbie Ray, Toronto Blue Jays
Season Stats: 2.48 ERA, 6.7 WAR, 193 IP, 248 K
Ray was absolutely amazing this season for the Blue Jays and should be a shoe-in for the AL Cy Young award, but I see Gerrit Cole taking it home for absolutely no reason.
5. Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers
Season Stats: 16-4 record, 6.7 WAR, 2.47 ERA, 207.2 IP
Bueller was somehow the second best pitcher in his team's rotation, not at all a knock because he was fantastic. The Dodgers three-man rotation will be deadly this postseason if they make it past the Cardinals in the Wild Card.
6. Kevin Gausman, San Francisco Giants
Season Stats: 14-6 record, 2.81 ERA, 227 K, 192 IP
It would be wrong of me to not have Gausman somewhere in the top-10 considering the season he had on top of being the ace for the best team in baseball. What many considered an overpay at $18.9 million seems like a steal for the product Gausman has given.
7. Brandon Woodruff
Season Stats: 2.56 ERA, 5.7 WAR, 179.1 IP, 211 K
With the 1-2 punch that the Brewers have in their rotation, it is no surprise they made the playoffs for the 4th straight season. Woodruff's record wasn't showing of how great he was at 9-10, but he definitely deserves a top-10 spot
8. Gerrit "Kermit" Cole, New York Yankees
Season Stats: 5.6 WAR, 16-8 record, 181.1 IP, 243 K, lost the biggest start of his career at Fenway
It hurt me to have Gerrit anywhere on this list. I hate the Yankees therefore I hate Gerrit Cole. He is overpaid, can't succeed without Spider Tack. I hate the fact that Kermit will probably take home the AL Cy Young, Robbie Ray 100% deserves it.
9. Julio Urias
20-3 record, 2.96 ERA, 185.2 IP, 195 K
Urias led the league this year in wins, which is impressive as a 25 year old who somehow made his debut almost 6 years ago. This Dodgers rotation Is dangerous and even if they lose Scherzer, they will be just fine.
10. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
Season Stats: 206.1 IP, 3.05 ERA, 17-7 record
What an amazing season from Wainwright. At 40 years old, Wain-O pitched the third most innings in all of baseball, plus he got the starting nod for the Wild Card game.
11. Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox
Season Stats: 2.37 ERA, 13-5 record, .722 win%
Due to injuries, Rodon only made 24 appearances but shined every time he took the mound. Both Rodon and Lance Lynn were phenomenal, even though a rotation of high school pitchers could have done better than the rest of the AL Central.
12. Max Fried, Atlanta Braves
Season Stats: 14-7 record, 3.04 ERA, 165.2 IP
Fried finally had the breakout season that we had been waiting on since his debut back in 2017. With the uncertainty that are the Braves pitchers, having a consistent arm like Fried is a plus.
13. Liam Hendricks, Chicago White Sox
Season Stats: 38 SV, 71 IP, 118 K, 2.54 ERA
I was unsure of when to put my first non-starter on the list, so here he is. Hendricks dominated in relief this past season. His 38 saves were good for second most in the MLB and his 2.6 WAR was very impressive for a reliever.
14. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Season Stats: 9-2 record, 130.1 IP, 9.0 WAR (hitting + pitching)
I know that 14 seems a little low, but it is only because his innings were lower than others. Ohtani is the obvious choice for AL MVP and wow, what an amazing season he had.
15. Nathan Eovaldi, Boston Red Sox
Season Stats: 182.1 IP, 195 K, 4.6 WAR, 3.75 ERA
Go ahead, boo me all you want. This pick is 1000% me being a homer, but Eovaldi was the ace for a playoff team and I think his performance versus Gerrit Cole would make him deserving a higher spot on this list, but I am as unbiased as it gets.