10 amazing early-season pitching performances that have surprised MLB fans

Apr 12, 2024; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Paul Blackburn (58) walks
Apr 12, 2024; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Paul Blackburn (58) walks / Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
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The big pitching story this early in the 2024 season has been injuries. Many of the game’s best known arms – Spencer Strider, Justin Steele, Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom – either haven’t yet thrown a single pitch or have been injured doing so.

With only 10 percent of the season played out to date, performances are only beginning to firm up. But there have also been pleasant surprises, both in the starting and relief ranks.

Here’s a look at 10 of the most surprising pitching arms of the 2024 campaign.

10 most surprising pitching performances to start 2024 MLB season

Tyler Anderson, Los Angeles Angels. To the extent the Angels were given any chance to contend in 2024, it was despite their pitching, not because of it. But Anderson and Reid Detmers, for two, are off to very strong starts.

Detmers' performance is not much of a surprise, but Anderson’s start is. His 1.47 ERA in three starts is lightyears better than anything he’s done before, including his 5.43 ERA of last season. He’s only allowed 12 hits in 18 innings.

Jose Berrios, Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays gave Berrios a long-term $126 million deal three years ago, and he has only been marginally worth it. He produced a 4.28 ERA through the first two seasons of that deal.

But Berrios has started 2024 like a $126 million pitcher. Through four start,s he’s 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA, stifling Tampa, Houston, Seattle and Colorado. Berrios has been a lifeline to the Jays, who are 5-8 in games anybody else started.

Paul Blackburn, Oakland A’s. Nobody expected anything from the A’s entering 2024, and certainly not from Blackburn, who had a 4.43 ERA in 104 innings last season, after making the All-Star team in 2022 mainly out of compunction.

But Blackburn has opened 2024 like a serious Cy Young contender. In his three starts, he has not allowed a run, either earned or unearned, and only the anemic A’s offense has kept him from a 3-0 record. Needless to say, his 0.00 ERA leads the league. His key; just 14 baserunners allowed in 19 innings.