As we enter the second half of the season I take a look at the Top 10 lefty starters in the game right now
Ranger's C.J. Wilson
10. C.J. Wilson, Rangers: The Rangers starter was an major part in the World Series run and now that Cliff Lee left he has been thrust into that role as the franchise's ace. Last year in his first season as a starter he pitched to a 15-8 record with a 3.35 ERA. This year the lefty has gone 9-3 with a 3.20 ERA and 110 strikeouts, 7th in the AL.
9. Jaime Garcia, Cardinals: The young lefty starter has gone some what under the radar despite his outstanding pitching in his first two seasons as a starter in the majors. Last year the ace went 13-8 with an unbelievable 2.40 ERA. This year his stats have elevated a little and are almost identical to Wilson's but he is still pitching extremely well with a 9-3 record and a 3.22 ERA.
8. Gio Gonzalez, A's: Gonzalez has come on like a man looking for a comeback after struggling the first two seasons. The 25 year old starter has thrived the last few seasons in the bay area and it looks like things can only get better. After a break through last season with a 15-9 record and a 3.23 ERA he has come back even better being 7th in the MLB in ERA (2.47) has led the A's to a rare 8 wins.
2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels
7. Johan Santana, Mets: The two time Cy Young winner is currently on the DL but is expected to be back at Citi Field by August. Santana has been one of the best lefties in this decade and has had an astonishing 3.10 ERA for his career. Last season the ace struck out 144 batters and had a 2.98 ERA throughout the season despite being on the struggling Mets.
6. Cole Hamels, Phillies: Hamels is the #3 for the Phillies but still in contention for the Cy Young award. Thats possible because the Phillies have the best rotation in baseball and arguably the two best pitchers in the game right now. Hamels was the ace during the Phillies 2008 World Series run and won the World Series MVP award that year as well. Hamels stuck out an amazing 204 batters last season and had an ERA right above the 3.00 mark but this season he has been a rocket. He is carring a 2.32 ERA out of the All Star break and has an 11-5 record on the mound. Great things still to come from the 27 year old.
5. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: The boy from Dallas, Texas has been blowing his pitches by batters ever since he entered the league three years ago. This year his has been exceptional with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP while carrying the struggling Dodgers to 10 wins. This young lefty has a whole decade in front of him and I believe he will become on of the top three pitchers in the league in a couple years.
4. David Price, Rays: This former number one overall draft pick burst onto the scene as a starter last season for the Rays and was the AL's starter for the All Star game last year as well. Price was second in the AL last year in wins (19) and also had a deadly ERA of 2.72. Price has one of the best fastballs in the game and if he can keep up that velocity for the next ten years this guy could be headed to Cooperstown someday.
3. Jon Lester, Red Sox: The powerful lefty is one of the best all around pitchers in the game and had a great season last year and is backing it up with an extraordinary year this year as well. Last year he was tied for second in the AL in wins (19) 9th in ERA (3.25) and 3rd in Strikeouts (225). He is currently injured but is holding a 3.31 ERA and leads the Red Sox with 10 wins. Lester, only 27, looks like a keeper for the Red Sox.
Yankees' ace C.C. Sabathia
2. C.C Sabathia, Yankees: The 6'7 290 pound Yankee has been having arguable his best season of his career on the mound. He has already racked up 14 wins and his holding an outstanding 2.64 ERA. Sabathia is currently in a hotly contested battle with Josh Beckett, Jared Weaver, and Justin Verlander for the AL Cy Young award, his second. If C.C. keeps this up on the mound then we could easily see the Yank's playing in November.
1. Cliff Lee, Phillies: Arguably Lee is the second best pitcher in the league yet he is also the second best pitcher in his rotation, and he finishes out our top 10 list. The lefty just finished up one of the best months in pitching history, giving up only 1 run in June and a .21 ERA for the month. It took the ace a while to get used to the Philly atmosphere but he has clicked at the right time. More impressive than his regular season numbers have been his numbers in the post season. Lee has a 7-2 record with a 2.13 ERA in 10 career playoff starts. Halladay, Lee, Hamels, and Oswalt could be the most dominating rotation in baseball history.