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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

MLB’s top-performing pitchers halfway through the 2022 season

The Aggie highlights some of the best pitchers so far this major league baseball season

 

By PATRICK FIGUEROA — sports@theaggie.org

 

Having an ace starting pitcher can give a baseball team a significant advantage, as they can prevent their opponents from scoring runs and save a bullpen’s energy by pitching for more innings, but they are generally hard to find. With Major League Baseball (MLB) having recently had its annual all-star game, The Aggie wants to highlight some of the pitchers who made the cut, as well as highlight some pitchers that might have deserved to be all-stars but were unfortunately snubbed. 

 

Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins 

Sandy Alcantara has the best pitching record at this point in the 2022 season. In 19 games, Alcantara has pitched the most innings in MLB (138.1) with 123 strikeouts, a league-best two complete games and a 1.76 ERA. Alcantara is the early National League (NL) Cy Young favorite. 

 

Tony Gonsolin, Los Angeles Dodgers 

Gonsolin’s success this season is a surprise to some Dodgers, and baseball, fans. Through 17 games, Gonsolin has a perfect record of 11-0, a 2.02 ERA and the best WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) in the NL (0.843). Gonsolin’s surprising performance has turned out to be much needed for the Dodgers, who have dealt with pitching injuries this season. Clayton Kershaw has missed time this season and 2021 NL Cy Young candidate Walker Buehler is expected to be out for a few months. 

 

Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres

After being acquired by the San Diego Padres in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Musgrove has been the Padres’ best pitcher this season. Through 16 games, Musgrove has been electric with a 2.42 ERA, 102 strikeouts and an 8-2 record. The Padres tried to extend Musgrove earlier this year, but negotiations fell through. If Musgrove continues to perform at this level, he should expect to become one of the highest-paid pitchers in MLB. 

 

Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays

After losing star pitcher Tyler Glasnow for most of last season and the start of this season with Tommy John surgery, the Rays needed a new ace pitcher, and Shane McClanahan has stepped up to the plate. Through 18 games, McClanahan is an early American League (AL) Cy Young candidate with a 1.71 ERA, 147 strikeouts, the most in MLB this season, and the highest WHIP in MLB (0.795). With the AL wildcard race heating up, McClanahan must continue performing at this level to maintain the Rays’ wildcard spot.

 

Nestor Cortes, New York Yankees 

In a starting rotation that features star Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes stands out as having the best 2022 season for the Yankees. Cortes has lived up to his nickname of the “Nasty Nestor.” Through 17 games, Cortes has a 2.63 ERA, 99 strikeouts and a 7-3 record. He is one of the primary reasons why the Yankees have the best record in MLB this season. 

 

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

The only two-way player in baseball right now, Shohei Ohtani, is having an excellent season on the mound. Through 15 games, Ohtani has a 9-4 record, a 2.38 ERA and 123 strikeouts. In addition, Ohtani provides elite hitting, with 19 home runs and 51 RBI.

 

Carlos Rodon, San Francisco Giants 

In his first year as a Giant, Carlos Rodon has been their best pitcher. Rodon has a 2.66 ERA, 131 strikeouts and an 8-5 record through 18 games. More importantly, Rodon has pitched 100 innings this season. If he reaches 110 innings pitched, he can opt out of his two-year deal with the Giants and seek a new contract this offseason. Given the way Rodon has pitched, this might be the best move for the 29-year-old.

 

Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies

The 2021 NL Cy Young runner-up Zack Wheeler continues to dominate in the 2022 season. After a disappointing April, where he had a 5.79 ERA through four games, Wheeler has turned his season around. He now has a 2.89 ERA, 108 strikeouts and an 8-5 record through 17 games. Some were surprised that Wheeler was not named an all-star. 

 

Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox

While the Chicago White Sox have underperformed so far this year, Dylan Cease has broken out as a star pitcher. 26-year-old Cease has a 2.30 ERA, 142 strikeouts and an 8-4 record through 18 games. If the White Sox are going to turn their season around, they will need Cease to continue performing at this level.

These are just some of the best pitchers in baseball right now. Others not mentioned in this article include Houston Astros’ Framber Valdez, Toronto Blue Jays’ Alek Manoah and Atlanta Braves’ Max Fried. Baseball fans were able to watch some of these players showcase their talent in the recent all-star game, and they should keep an eye out for these players for the rest of the season to see who will win the NL and AL Cy Young awards. 

 

Written by: Patrick Figueroa — sports@theaggie.org