The fans' top 5 starting pitchers in baseball
1. Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals
Greinke has been almost unhittable thus far in 2009, posting an 8-1 record with a sparkling 1.10 ERA through 11 starts. It wasn't always so easy, though. Despite a terrific rookie season, Greinke had a horrid 2005, seeing his ERA climb to 5.80. He only pitched 6.1 innings in 2006 as he battled social anxiety disorder. He regained form as a reliever in 2007, and then had an impressive 2008 going 13-10 with a 3.47 ERA.
2. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
Justin Verlander gave up eight ER in his first start of the season and had an ERA of 9.00 after four starts. Since then, he has given up a mere seven runs in seven starts to bring his ERA back down to 3.64. Verlander was the A.L. rookie of the year in 2006 and had a stellar 2007 before struggling mightily last season with a 4.84 ERA. Has he returned back to form for good?
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.