MLB starting pitcher power rankings

August 6th, 2020

Baseball has so many great aces. But who's the best of the best right now?

It's time for the first MLB starting pitcher power rankings of 2020.

A panel of experts ranked their top 10 starting pitchers across the Major Leagues right now. This is about ranking the best starters who have been on top of their game to start the 2020 season -- not necessarily the ones with the strongest long-term body of work (for example, Justin Verlander, who is missing time with a forearm strain, did not make the list).

Pitchers received 10 points for each first-place vote, nine for each second-place vote, and so on. The power rankings were determined by total score.

Here are the top 10 starters in this week's power rankings.

1) Jacob deGrom, Mets
The back-to-back National League Cy Young Award winner is facing a challenge for the title of "Ace of New York" from the Yankees' Gerrit Cole, but right now, there's no one better than deGrom. The Mets right-hander is as dominant as ever, with a 2.12 ERA and 22 strikeouts through his first three starts of 2020. Oh, and deGrom is throwing 100 mph now, too. As if he weren't scary enough for the rest of the league already.

2) Shane Bieber, Indians
Last year's breakout ace of the Cleveland staff and hometown All-Star Game MVP, Bieber has looked untouchable to start the season. After becoming the first starting pitcher in modern history with back-to-back 13-plus-strikeout games to open a season, Bieber K'd eight more in his last outing to bring his strikeout total to 35, third-most for a pitcher through his first three starts. There's a reason Major League hitters think Bieber could be the great ace of the 2020s.

3) Gerrit Cole, Yankees
Cole's career in pinstripes is off to a fine start. With his 326 strikeouts in 2019 with the Astros, the most since Randy Johnson in 2002, Cole entered the 2020 season as the most overpowering pitcher in the game. He hasn't slowed down, winning each of his first three starts with the Yankees, including his Yankee Stadium debut, with a 2.55 ERA and 16 K's. Cole has won his last 19 decisions, five shy of the record.

4) Max Scherzer, Nationals
Mad Max hasn't gotten any less dominant. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has been a finalist for the NL award in each of his last four seasons with the Nats, winning it twice, and he's right back in the conversation for the best pitcher in the NL again in 2020. After leading Washington to its first World Series title last October, Scherzer opened this season with back-to-back double-digit strikeout starts, with a 2.84 ERA. Scherzer, however, exited his third start after one inning due to a tweaked right hamstring on Wednesday.

5) Sonny Gray, Reds
The Reds' starting rotation has emerged as a force behind the troika of Gray, Trevor Bauer and Luis Castillo. Gray's resurgence in Cincinnati has continued from his All-Star season last year (11-8, 2.87 ERA, 205 strikeouts) straight into 2020. Gray is 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA and an NL-leading 28 strikeouts through his first three starts.

6) Lance Lynn, Rangers
The 33-year-old Lynn is a late-blooming, fastball-loving ace who broke out with a career year last year in Texas (16-11, 3.67 ERA, 246 strikeouts, fifth-place American League Cy Young Award finish) and has been even better this season. Lynn has a Major League-best 0.49 ERA through three starts, plus 24 strikeouts, as the leader of the Rangers' staff.

7) Trevor Bauer, Reds
The second of the Reds' trio to make these power rankings, Bauer is off to a superb start, just like Gray. Bauer followed up a 13-strikeout performance in his first start of the season by throwing a seven-inning, two-hit shutout in his latest outing, and he now leads the NL with a 0.68 ERA. The 29-year-old has always had the talent and analytical mind to be a premier strikeout artist, and he looks like it right now.

8) Brandon Woodruff, Brewers
Woodruff's rapid evolution over the past few years has been extremely impressive -- from the Brewers' 2018 postseason jack of all trades to a breakout All-Star starter in 2019 (11-3, 3.62 ERA, 143 strikeouts) to a true staff ace in 2020. The 27-year-old right-hander has a 2.08 ERA and 21 strikeouts through his first three starts of the season.

9) Luis Castillo, Reds
When he's on, Castillo is one of the most unhittable starters in Major League Baseball, hands-down. With the nastiest changeup in the game and a wicked upper-90s two-seamer to match, Castillo's 226 strikeouts in 2019 were no accident. He's got 17 more in 12 innings through two starts this year, including 11 K's in his season debut. And even though his ERA is at 4.50 right now, he's been the victim of some bad luck. Castillo has an MLB-best 0.67 FIP and an expected ERA of 1.74 based on the quality of contact he's allowed, per Statcast.

10) Germán Márquez, Rockies
Even pitching in the unfriendly expanses of Coors Field, Márquez has established himself as a top-tier starter for the Rockies. After racking up 405 strikeouts over the last two seasons, the 25-year-old right-hander has 23 over his first three starts of 2020, and his sparkling 1.89 ERA at the top of the Colorado rotation is a big reason behind the Rockies' fast start.

Other pitchers receiving votes:

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Yu Darvish, Cubs
Max Fried, Braves
Walker Buehler, Dodgers
Tyler Chatwood, Cubs

Starting Pitcher Power Rankings voters: Mike Petriello, Andrew Simon, David Adler, Matt Kelly, Sarah Langs, Thomas Harrigan