It's Week 5 in MLB. This is a good time to talk about the Top 5 Starting Pitchers in Major League Baseball based on ERA. ERA is still the best measure of a starting pitchers ability to win games and help your Daily Fantasy Baseball Team. The 5 guys below have been money so far. Check it out!
Top MLB Pitchers by ERA
1. Jordan Zimmermann, Detroit Tigers, 5-0, .55 ERA – Sometimes it doesn't work out that a player can switch from one league to another and have the same success. For Zimmermann, going from the National League to the American League has been a blessing. He's given up only 2 earned runs in the games where he's started. He's been pitching smart. With only 23 strike-outs, Zimmermann has been strategically beating batters instead of trying to just blow by them. That's a good sign that he'll continue his dominance. I think he's worth putting on your almost every time he starts.
2. Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs, 6-0, .84 ERA – I just want to say that I don't believe Jake Arrieta is on PEDS. There are plenty of athletes that I know of who have bodies like Arrieta. Even I gained 10 pounds of muscle by sticking to a diet of pea protein and leafy, green vegetables. I don't even lift weights. Arrieta does twice a day, I think. It's important that we be careful with how we paint hard working individuals when we don't have all of the facts. It's just not cool to assume that someone is on PEDS without really looking into their daily routine. Sure, I could be wrong because I don't know Arrieta. All I'm saying is that hard work can get you anywhere and nobody seems to work harder than Jake Arrieta.
Back to baseball. Arrieta averages a bit over 7 strike-outs a game. That's a lot of strike-outs. But to me, his success is more about ball placement sort of like what Mad Dog Greg Maddux used to do in the early 1990's. Like Zimmerman, Arrieta should dominate for the entire season.
3. Gio Gonzalez, Washington National, 2-1, 1.15 ERA – I didn't think that Double G was going to bounce back from a 2015 where he went 11 and 8 with a 3.79 ERA. So far, he's been ultra-impressive. The 26 strike-outs from 31.1 innings pitched means that Gonzalez is a viable starter for your fantasy team every time he hits the mound. The WHIP of .99 is eclipsed by Arrieta's WHIP of .74 but it's better than Zimmermann's WHIP of 1.06. The best part about going with Double G is that he often times won't cost you nearly as much as the ace pitcher on the mound that day.
4. Jason Hammel, Chicago Cubs, 4-0, 1.24 ERA – Wow. What a surprise, right? Hammel is the second best starter via ERA on a staff with Jon Lester, Arrieta, and John Lackey. No wonder the Cubs are tearing it up. Hammel has improved from a 10 and 7 record with a 3.74 ERA last season to his 4 and 0 and 1.24 ERA this season. He's walked 10 batters in only 29 innings. So far, that hasn't hurt his ability to win games, but it could pose an issue as the season wears on. Hammel almost definitely won't cost you a high salary comparable to other pitchers on the mound, but the walks have to be a concern if you go with him.
5. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners, 2-2, 1.38 ERA – Hernandez, like in most seasons, has been a top pitcher in the American League so far. He's on pace to improve mightily upon his 3.53 ERA from 2015. The WHIP of 1.13 is under the 1.20 threshold. The 28 strikes in 32.2 inning pitched, with a game coming up on May 4, isn't bad at all. Make no mistake…if you like King Felix, it's going to cost you. So, my advice is to be judicious regarding when you decide to put him on your team and when you decide that others might be more cost effective.