’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – Top Ten Active Pitchers Most Likely To Reach The 3,000 Strikeouts Milestone
I’ve always considered the 3,000 strikeout milestone to be one of the best ways to display a pitcher’s dominance over time. While wins are certainly more important to team success, they also require a team to have an offense that is better than their opponent’s.
The strikeout is about the 1-on-1 match-up. And whether your skill is power or finesse, joining the ‘3,000 Strikeouts Club’ means that you dominated batters for a very, very long time.
For this week’s ‘Top Ten List’, I thought it would be fun to analyze today’s crop of pitchers to see which ones are most on track to reach this milestone. And while I do not expect that all 10 of these players will reach that mark, I think that based on their track records, they have the inside track.
And away we go!!!
HM – Gio Gonzalez, Yovanni Gallardo, Barry Zito, Josh Beckett, Jake Peavy, Cliff Lee, Mark Buehrle, Zach Grienke, Jered Weaver, and Ben Sheets.
10 – Dan Haren. In 10 seasons, Haren has 1,585 K’s. He is only 31 years old and has started 30 or more games in 8 of his 10 seasons.
9 – Tim Lincecum. In six seasons, Lincecum has 1,317 K’s. He has reached 200 or more strikeouts in 4 of those 6 seasons and has started 30 or more games in a season since becoming a full-time starter for the Giants. If his role remains in the starting line-up, he has a solid shot as he is just 28 years old.
8 – Matt Cain. In 8 big league seasons, Cain has amassed 1,278 K’s. He has started 30 or more games in seven straight seasons and he is just 27 years old. Cain has never had a 200-strikeout season, but has had at least 170+ in six of the last seven.
7 – Cole Hamels. Amazingly, Cole Hamels is just 28 years old. And with 7 seasons under his belt, Hamels has 1,307 K’s to his credit. He has started 30 or more games in the last five straight seasons and has eclipsed the 200-K mark in two of the last three.
6 – Roy Halladay. He just completed his 15th season in the major leagues and has 2,066 K’s for his career. Prior to the 2012 season, Halladay had collected 200 or more K’s in four straight years. If he can return to form, 3,000 is in his sights. Halladay will be 35 when the 2013 season starts.
5 – Stephen Strasburg. He only has 250 innings of major league experience under his belt, but Stephen Strasburg has already struck out 313 batters. If the Nationals unleash him in 2013, he should continue to dominate. And at the young age of 23, the sky is his limit!!
4 – Justin Verlander. Verlander is in the midst of one of the most dominant pitching stretches of recent history. He is just 29 years old and with 8 seasons under his belt has recorded 1,454 K’s. Verlander has been the American League leader in strikeouts in three of the last four seasons and has a career ratio of 8.4 K’s per inning.
3 – Felix Hernandez. King Felix has been quietly mowing down batters for the last eight seasons. At the age of just 26, Hernandez has amassed 1,487 strikeouts with at least 200 or more in the last four straight seasons. He has made 30 or more starts in 7 of his 8 big league seasons.
2 – CC Sabathia. Sabathia has 2,214 K’s through his first 12 big league seasons. He is the closest active pitcher to 2,214 that has a solid shot at the goal. CC has a K:9 innings ratio of 7.8. He has started 30 or more games in 10 of his 12 big league seasons, and has compiled at least 150 or more K’s in 9 of his 12 seasons.
1 – Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw has been on a tear since entering the league just five seasons ago. At the age of just 24, Kershaw already has 974 K’s on his resume, with 200 or more in three straight seasons. He has started 30 or more games in four consecutive seasons and has a K:9 innings ratio of 9.3!
And there you have it. If I were a betting man, I would say that 6 of these guys are going to reach the mark if health is on their side. We often see a dramatic decline in the number of K’s an ‘old’ pitcher amasses during the latter stages of their careers, but these guys are off to amazing starts.
Did I miss anyone? Would you change my rankings? Let me hear it!!