There are many ways to evaluate the top MLB players of recent years, as well as down through the history of the game.
The statistic of WHIP, or “Walks + Hits / Innings Pitched”, has become one of the more popular tools to make such evaluations. It is one of my personal favorites.
WHIP is fairly simply to calculate. You simply add the number of hits and walks that a pitcher allows, then divide that total by the number of innings pitched by the hurler.
This afternoon out in Los Angeles, two of the best current starting pitchers in baseball will be facing off. Left-hander Clayton Kershaw takes the mound for the host Los Angeles Dodgers. For the visiting Washington Nationals, it will be right-hander Stephen Strasburg who toes the rubber.
This premier matchup got me to thinking, who exactly are the best starting pitchers of recent vintage? I have my opinion, but what do the stats show?
I decided to let the career Baseball-Reference WHIP rankings inform me. The pitchers on this list have been some of the toughest to beat over the last decade or so in Major League Baseball. They usually don’t surrender many hits. They don’t beat themselves most night by walking a bunch of batters.
Who are the currently active top ten starting pitchers in Major League Baseball, based on B-R career WHIP figures? One hint: the cover boy for this story, Strasburg does NOT make the countdown.