Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Guest Post: Top 3 Most Dominant Pitchers in 2012

Top 3 Most Dominant Pitchers in 2012

Pitching in the MLB has been magnificent in 2012, but I’m going to narrow it down to the top 3 most dominate pitchers. Justin Verlander was undoubtedly the best pitcher in 2011, but some other pitchers have really stepped up their game in 2012.

This list was created based on analysis of several key pitching statistics including walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP), earned run average (ERA), strikeouts, opposing batting average, and wins.

As you probably noticed, I put wins last on the list because wins aren’t necessarily a good indication of how dominant a pitcher is. A pitcher could lead the league in every other category, but barely break the top 15 in wins. Win totals are completely dependent on the pitcher’s offensive support, how effective the bullpen is, and the amount of defensive mistakes committed. So keep this in mind when you read these rankings!

1. R.A. Dickey

Who would of predicted a knuckleballer to be the best pitcher in 2012? Mets’ ace R.A. Dickey has been the biggest surprise of the 2012 season. Not only is he having the best season of his career, Dickey has also proven to be the most effective pitcher in the league.

The numbers really do not lie. Dickey is currently ranked first with a 1.01 WHIP, first with 17 wins and 4 losses, fourth with a 2.63 ERA, and sixth in strikeouts with 190.

No other pitcher in the league ranks as high as Dickey for so many different categories. What makes his performance even more unreal is that he is purely a knuckleball pitcher. I don’t think there has been a knuckleball pitcher who has dominated like Dickey has in 2012, but his success is really no surprise.

A pitcher who can throw a knuckleball around 80 mph with accuracy, is practically unhittable.

First in WHIP 1.01, first in wins with 17, fourth in ERA (2.63), sixth in strikeouts with 190

2. Stephen Strasburg

Let’s face it, Stephen Strasburg is an absolute beast of a pitcher. Even with the Washington Nationals limiting his innings, Strasburg as still managed to compile 15 wins, and a ridiculous 195 strikeouts in only 156.1 innings.

That’s an average of 11.23 strikeouts per nine innings. If Strasburg wasn’t being limited to 5 or 6 innings per start, he would undoubtedly lead the league in wins and strikeouts.

Hopefully Strasburg can keep his arm healthy because there aren’t many pitchers who recover from two arm surgeries.

3. Justin Verlander

This choice may surprise you, but Verlander is still one of the most dominant pitchers in the MLB despite his lack of wins this season. Win total isn’t always a great indicator of pitching success or domination.

In fact, Verlander’s numbers aren’t much different than his 2011 MVP season.

2011: 24-5, 250 strikeouts, 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and a .192 opposing batting average.
2012 (current): 13-7, 209 strikeouts, 2.73 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and a .212 opposing batting average.

The only obvious difference is his win total, but Verlander currently leads the league in strikeouts and opposing batting average.

Honorable Mentions:
Felix Hernandez
David Price
Jered Weaver
Clayton Kershaw

I hope you enjoyed this article and feel free to disagree with any of my choices! My name is Nathan and I’m the owner of The Ultimate Pitcher, thank you for reading.


  1. Good list, tho I'd disagree with Verlander, I can't complain. He's definitely been better than most seem to think. I'd call Felix & Kershaw better tho, 'cause they're leaving more runners stranded & allowing a lower BABIP. I think BABIP's better for determining pitcher dominance than BA, 'cause it removes the fielder's affect.

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