This is a fun one. We know that these are the top pitchers in the game, but someone has to have success off them, right?
As you may know from reading my writing, I think introductions are stupid. Nobody ever reads them these days. Are you reading the opening right now? You’re one of the good ones!
Let’s get straight to it. Here is a list of the top 10 pitchers in baseball based on fWAR and their three biggest foes on offense.
Here are the qualifications:
- The offensive numbers reflect their career stats against the pitcher, not limited to just 2021.
2. Jacob deGrom did not qualify this year, so there are 11 pitchers because no list is complete without him. He’ll rank last in these rankings due to the ineligibility, but I know he’s the best in baseball.
3. Every hitter must have at least 10 AB against the opposing pitcher.
4. All hitters were on an MLB roster in 2021. The team listed next to their name was where they played in 2021.
5. Each hitter must have had at least 50 AB in 2021.
6. The Top 10 pitchers are ranked by their fWAR in 2021.
1. Corbin Burnes (SP, Milwaukee Brewers)
167 Innings, 12.61 K/9, 1.83 BB/9, 2.43 ERA, 1.63 FIP, 7.5 fWAR
What’s to say about this man that hasn’t already been said. He was THE best pitcher of 2021. He led baseball in ERA and FIP, while striking out a ridiculous 35.6% of hitters. The back-door 99 MPH cutter is my favorite pitch to watch and probably the best overall offering in the game. But… who is his daddy?
Paul Goldschmidt (1B, St. Louis Cardinals)
18 AB, 8 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, .444/.474/.667 1.140 OPS
Matt Carpenter (3B, St. Louis Cardinals)
13 AB, 4 H, 1 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, .308/.400/.846 1.246 OPS
Buster Posey (C, San Francisco Giants)
10 AB, 5 H, 0 XBH, .500/.500/.500 1.000 OPS
2. Zack Wheeler (SP, Philadelphia Phillies)
213.1 Innings, 10.42 K/9, 1.94 BB/9, 2.78 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 7.3 fWAR
Zack Wheeler was phenomenal this year. He finished second in NL CY Young voting, which is quite the accomplishment considering the winner, Corbin Burnes, was the best pitcher in 2021. He led all of Major League Baseball in innings and finished second in baseball in FIP and ERA. He was incredible for a Phillies team that needed every ounce, although still missed the playoffs. But… who is his daddy?
Cody Bellinger (CF, Los Angeles Dodgers)
11 AB, 4 H, 4 HR, 9 RBI, .364/.364/1.455 1.818 OPS
Brett Gardner (OF, New York Yankees)
10 AB, 6 H, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .600/.600/1.000 1.600 OPS
Josh Donaldson (3B, MInnesota Twins)
16 AB, 9 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, .563/.588/.813 1.401 OPS
3. Nathan Eovaldi (SP, Boston Red Sox)
182.1 Innings, 9.63 K/9, 1.73 BB/9, 3.75 ERA, 2.79 FIP, 5.6 fWAR
Surprised to see Eovaldi up this high? Honestly, I am too, but wow, what a season from the flamethrower in Boston. He was not a CY Young finalist, even though I think he should have made it over Lance Lynn. His 3.75 ERA doesn’t tell the whole story, as he was an obvious candidate for some bad luck. His 2.79 FIP ranked third in baseball, while he also finished third in fWAR. Eovaldi has had a wild career, but this was a season for the ages. But… who is his daddy?
Pablo Sandoval (3B, Atlanta Braves)
20 AB, 13 H, 3 2B, 1 HR, 11 RBI, .650/.619/.950 1.569 OPS
Kyle Seager (3B, Seattle Mariners)
12 AB, 6 H, 2 2B, 3 RBI, .500/.571/.833 1.405 OPS
Jose Altuve (2B, Houston Astros)
19 AB, 6 H, 3 HR, 3 RBI, .316/.350/.842 1.192 OPS
4. Walker Buehler (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers)
207.2 Innings, 9.19 K/9, 2.25 BB/9, 2.47 ERA, 3.16 FIP, 5.5 fWAR
I love this guy. He’s my current favorite pitcher to watch in baseball. He did everything in 2021, even though he didn’t finish as an NL CY Young finalist. It wasn’t his fault; the NL was just so stacked with talent this year. He was one of four pitchers to throw 200 innings this year, and he finished third in ERA, just 0.04 away from Corbin Burnes. Buehler is one of the best pitchers in baseball and my early pick to win the 2022 NL CY Young. But… who is his daddy?
Pete Alonso (1B, New York Mets)
12 AB, 4 H, 3 HR, 6 RBI, .333/.333/1.083 1.417 OPS
Raimel Tapia (OF, Colorado Rockies)
14 AB, 6 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, .429/.467/.714 1.181 OPS
Charlie Blackmon (OF, Colorado Rockies)
44 AB, 17 H, 4 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, .386/.417/.659 1.076 OPS
5. Max Scherzer (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers)
His different color eyes scare me, and I’m just watching him on TV. I can’t imagine stepping in the box against this guy, even at 37 years old. He was incredible with the Nationals, got traded, and was even better for the Dodgers. He finished second in CY Young voting and second in ERA, just 0.03 behind Corbin Burnes. Scherzer ranked sixth in FIP while striking out 34% of hitters he faced. The only question now is how much money will he get this offseason, as he’s looking for a juicy contract that moves into his 40s. But… who is his daddy?
Jake Lamb (3B, Chicago White Sox/Toronto Blue Jays)
11 AB, 6 H, 2 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, .545/.667/1.545 2.212 OPS
Brandon Crawford (SS, San Francisco Giants)
15 AB, 6 H, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .400/.438/1.000 1.438 OPS
Victor Caratini (C, San Diego Padres)
13 AB, 7 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, .538/.538/.846 1.385 OPS
6. Gerrit Cole (SP, New York Yankees)
Make the spider tack jokes all you want; Gerrit Cole was elite in 2021. He finished second in the AL CY Young voting behind Robbie Ray, even though he led in most advanced statistics. I am not that guy who’s going to shove the numbers down your throat, Robbie Ray had a fantastic season, and I’m totally fine with him getting the award. It shouldn’t take away from Cole’s season. The man finished fourth in FIP and struck out 34% of hitters he faced. But… who is his daddy?
Ji-Man Choi (1B/DH, Tampa Bay Rays)
14 AB, 8 H, 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB, .571/.667/1.429 2.095 OPS
Christian Yelich (OF, Milwaukee Brewers)
20 AB, 9 H, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, .450/.522/1.000 1.522 OPS
Nolan Arenado (3B, St. Louis Cardinals)
19 AB, 9 H, 1 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, .474/.474/1.000 1.474 OPS
7. Julio Urias (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers)
185.2 Innings, 9.45 K/9, 1.84 BB/9, 2.96 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 5.0 fWAR
The man won 20 games! Does that not mean anything anymore? Not really, but it’s still cool! The third Dodgers starter to make this list and the youngest at just 25 years old. He was one of eight pitchers this year with an ERA below 3.00 and was one of the best pitchers in baseball at keeping the ball in the yard. But… who is his daddy?
Nolan Arenado (3B, St. Louis Cardinals)
13 AB, 6 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, .462/.533/.846 1.379 OPS
Brandon Belt (1B, San Francisco Giants)
17 AB, 5 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 8 BB, .294/.520/.765 1.285 OPS
Buster Posey (C, San Francisco Giants)
18 AB, 9 H, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 3 BB, .500/.571/.667 1.238 OPS
8. Kevin Gausman (SP, San Francisco Giants)
192.0 Innings, 10.64 K.9, 2.34 BB/9, 2.81 ERA, 3.00 FIP, 4.8 fWAR
Was his first half much better than his second half? Yes. Should we be concerned about next year? Maybe. Does any of that matter for the article? No! Gausman was fantastic in 2021, finishing sixth in baseball in ERA and seventh in FIP as the ace of the 107-win Giants. But… who is his daddy?
Starling Marte (OF, Oakland A’s/Miami Marlins)
13 AB, 8 H, 3 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, .615/.688/1.077 1.764 OPS
Aaron Judge (OF, New York Yankees)
17 AB, 8 H, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 4 BB, .471/.591/1.118 1.709 OPS
Garrett Hampson (OF/INF, Colorado Rockies)
12 AB, 5 H, 3 HR, 3 RBI, .417/.462/1.167 1.628 OPS
9. Brandon Woodruff (SP, Milwaukee Brewers)
179.1 Innings, 10.59 K/9, 2.16 BB/9, 2.56 ERA, 2.96 FIP, 4.7 fWAR
Corbin Burnes ran the show in Milwaukee, but Woodruff would have run it on most staffs in baseball. This guy is elite and has been elite for a while now. He finished fourth in ERA and fifth in FIP while pitching in a notorious hitters park. He’s a great example of why pitching wins don’t really matter; he finished 9-10. But… who is his daddy?
Tyler O’Neil (OF, St. Louis Cardinals)
13 AB, 4 H, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, .308/.313/1.077 1.389 OPS
Marcell Ozuna (OF, Atlanta Braves)
10 AB, 4 H, 1 2B, 1 HR .400/.400/.800 1.200 OPS
Gregory Polanco (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates)
15 AB, 5 H, 2 HR, 2 RBI, .333/.375/.733 1.108 OPS
10. Charlie Morton (SP, Astlanta Braves)
185.2 Innings, 10.47 K/9, 2.81 BB/9, 3.34 ERA, 3.18 FIP, 4.6 fWAR
Ol’ Chuck Morton cracks the top 10! What a season from Morton, he continues to age like fine wine. He turned it up another level in the playoffs before exiting in Game 1 of the World Series due to a leg injury. He finished 10th in FIP and 10th in fWAR, while striking out 28.6% of hitters. But.. who is his daddy?
David Peralta (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks)
11 AB, 6 H, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB, .545/.600/.818 1.418 OPS
Freddie Freeman (1B, Atlanta Braves)
12 AB, 6 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, .500/.500/.917 1.417 OPS
Martin Maldonado (C, Houston Astros)
13 AB, 7 H, 1 2B, 4 BB, .538/.667/.615 1.282 OPS
11. Jacob deGrom (SP, New York Mets)
92.0 Innings, 14.28 K/9, 1.08 BB/9, 1.08 ERA, 1.24 FIP, 4.9 fWAR
Yes, Jacob deGrom finished 7th in fWAR. I ranked him 11th because I had no idea that was even possible. THE MAN THREW 92 INNINGS. I DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW THAT MATH WORKS. He was on pace for the single greatest pitching season ever before he went down with an injury. He averaged 99.3 MPH, the fastest of his career at 33 years old. He struck out 45% while walking just 3.4% of hitters he faced. He received a 5th place CY Young vote, which is incredible considering he threw about half the amount of inngs as his competitors. But… who is his daddy?
Andrew Stevenson (OF, Washington Nationals)
11 AB, 4 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, .364/.417/1.091 1.508 OPS
Randal Grichuk (OF, Toronto Blue Jays)
11 AB, 4 H, 1 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, .364/.417/.1.000 1.417 OPS
Giancarlo Stanton (OF/DH, New York Yankees)
27 AB, 9 H, 1 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB, .333/.419/.815 1.234 OPS