MLB Projections: Top 10 pitchers for the 2020 season

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets in action against the Chicago Cubs during a game at Citi Field on August 29, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets in action against the Chicago Cubs during a game at Citi Field on August 29, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

MLB Projections: Top 10 pitchers for the 2020 season

6. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

For most of his career, Stephen Strasburg has been looked upon as an injury-prone fire-baller whose main skillset is racking up strikeouts. In 2019, that misconception was completely thrown out the window and Stras established himself as one of the toughest pitchers in the game.

Not only did he post a Cy Young-caliber regular season, but in the postseason, he delivered one of the most memorable performances since Madison Bumgarner‘s 2014 postseason appearances. It earned Strasburg so much respect that this offseason he was awarded the 2nd richest contract for a starter in the history of the game, a deal worth $245M.

The STEAMER system projects Stras to post a 13-10 record with a 3.48 ERA and 228 strikeouts. While the Nats would certainly take that, I think he’ll officially overtake Max Scherzer as the ace of the staff.

5. Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox

With the announcement today that Chris Sale is expected to miss the first 2-3 weeks of the MLB season due to pneumonia, the five-spot might be tough to swallow for some. However, given how dominating Sale can be at any given time, I’d say he’s something of a sleeper. Someone people don’t expect much from, but can completely shock the world.

This is a guy who since in his debut in 2010 places 4th among all MLB starts in fWAR (44.5); a guy who places 2nd in FIP (2.90), 2nd ERA (3.06), and 4th in strikeouts (1895) among all starters with a minimum 1500 IP since 2010.

If that’s not elite, I don’t know what is.

The STEAMER system projects sale to post a 14-7 record with a 3.12 ERA and 232 strikeouts. I agree with this projection.

4. Justin Verlander, Houston Astros

The Benjamin Button of Baseball, Justin Verlander, projects to maintain his standing as a top 5 starter in MLB this season. In fact, the STEAMER system expects Verlander to post a 16-8 record with a 3.37 ERA and 267 strikeouts.

As for me, I think Verlander will finally start to show signs of aging during the 2020 MLB season. Last season, Verlander allowed the 3rd most home runs (36) of any pitcher in the league, and in the postseason, he was a non-factor for the Houston Astros.

In fact, in six postseason starts in 2019, Verlander posted a 1-4 record with a 4.33 ERA. He gave up 8 HR in 35.1 IP, which is good for an atrocious 2.05 HR/9.

Of all the starters in this list, I have the least faith in the 2019 AL Cy Young award winner.