The top 5 starting pitchers in baseball
1. Johan Santana, New York Mets
Santana has been one of the most dominating pitchers of the decade. Since he started 14 games in 2002, he hasn't had an ERA above 3.33 and has had an ERA under 3.00 five times. Last season Santana was 16-7 with an ERA of 2.54 and 206 strikeouts. No one has had better numbers for as long a time, and he's shown no signs of slowing down.
2. Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays haven't had much success in recent years, but it certainly hasn't been Roy Halladay's fault. Halladay is a five-time All-Star with a career record of 133-66 with an ERA of 3.52. Last season was arguably the 2003 Cy Young winner's best as he was a true workhorse, pitching 246 innings with a 20-11 record, an ERA of 2.78 and a career-best 206 strikeouts.
3. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
Tim Lincecum, at age 22, made his MLB debut in 2007 and it didn't take long to realize he would be something special. He started 24 games and finished with a 7-5 record with an ERA of 4.00 and 150 strikeouts. He took the leap last season, though, going 18-5 on a terrible offensive team while posting an ERA of 2.62 and striking out 265. Those eye-popping numbers were enough to win the Cy Young Award.
4. CC Sabathia, New York Yankees
Sabathia won the AL Cy Young award in 2007, and if he hadn't split his time between the Indians and Brewers last season, it's quite possible he could have won back-to-back honors. After being traded to the Brewers last year, Sabathia went 11-2 including a mind-boggling seven complete games and three shutouts (10, 5 combined). CC's dominating performance was rewarded with a monster contract from the Yankees.
5. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
Hamels made his MLB debut in 2006 and has gotten better each year since. He was the ace of last season's staff that went on to win the World Series. He went 14-10 with an ERA of 3.09 with 196 strikeouts. He has the stuff to continue to be an elite pitcher, but there are some worries of too much wear and tear early on in his career.