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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
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Eagle Spirit dancer Migizii Kwe dances with the audience at this years East Lansing Art Festival. Photo credit: Samantha Ku/WDBM
2024 East Lansing Art Festival Q&A
Samantha Ku, Writer/Volunteer • May 18, 2024

Heather Majano is the Art Festival & Arts Initiative Coordinator under the East Lansing Parks, Recreation & Arts department, she...

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The State – 04/19/24
April 19, 2024
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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
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Eagle Spirit dancer Migizii Kwe dances with the audience at this years East Lansing Art Festival. Photo credit: Samantha Ku/WDBM
2024 East Lansing Art Festival Q&A
Samantha Ku, Writer/Volunteer • May 18, 2024

Heather Majano is the Art Festival & Arts Initiative Coordinator under the East Lansing Parks, Recreation & Arts department, she...

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The State – 04/19/24
April 19, 2024

OPINION: MLB pitcher power rankings (1-10)

OPINION: MLB pitcher power rankings (1-10)

 

East Lansing-As the yearly calendar flips to June, it is officially baseball season and there’s no debate about that, but there is plenty of debate about who the top pitchers in the league are so far this year, with many familiar faces either injured or not pitching up to their luster. Here are my top 10 starting pitchers in the league through the first two months plus of the 2024 season. (All stats recorded used are recorded as of the end of play on June 2)

 

1. Ranger Suarez (PHI)

 

ERA: 1.70 W-L: 9-1 SO: 79 WHIP: 0.80

 

It’s pretty difficult to make an argument against Ranger Suarez being the best-starting pitcher in baseball through the first two months this season. The 28-year-old lefty has broken out for the first-place team in the National League this season, as he currently leads all of baseball in ERA, WHIP, and hits per nine, and is tied in the league-leading with nine wins. Suarez has been a monster at the top of the Philadelphia rotation, and it will be interesting to see how he continues into the second half, as a pitcher who has never thrown more than 155 innings in a Major League season. Suarez has been the best pitcher in the league so far, on the best starting roster in the National League.

 

2. Tarik Skubal (DET)

 

ERA: 2.01 W-L: 7-1 SO: 80 WHIP: 0.82

 

Tigers ace Tarik Skubal is everything and more that Detroit could have hoped for him so far. Skubal leads the American League in WHIP and FIP, while also ranking in the top five in Wins, ERA, strikeouts, and opponent Batting Average. He has been the most complete pitcher in the American League and has gone at least five innings in every start this season for the Tigers. The question for Skubal will be the same as it has been for the last two seasons, can he stay healthy? His production on the mound is unquestioned, but the next step for the 27-year-old lefty will be how he pitches in the second half and how he closes out the season.

 

3. Seth Lugo (KCR)

 

ERA: 1.72 W-L: 9-1 SO: 66 WHIP: 1.01

 

Maybe one of the biggest surprises this season so far has been how well Seth Lugo has performed for the Royals as a starter this season. Lugo is the American League leader in ERA and innings pitched right now, being tied with Ranger Suarez for the most wins in the league. The 34-year-old is the first right-hander on the list and was not even a full-time starting pitcher until last season, but he is making a run at his first All-Star Team on a young Royals team that is having their best season in quite some time. Lugo has gone six innings or more with two earned runs or less in ten of his first 12 starts this year and will be a player to watch all season long. 

 

4. Luis Gil (NYY)

 

ERA: 1.99 W-L: 7-1 SO: 79 WHIP: 0.95

 

Luis Gil just won the American League Rookie and Pitcher of the Month and it was rightfully deserved. The 26-year-old flamethrower is coming off of a season where he rehabbed from Tommy John surgery, and has matched the production of injured Yankees ace Gerrit Cole in the first two months of the season. Leading the league in hits per nine and opponent batting average, while also being top five in ERA, wins, and WHIP, he has been everything and more for a Yankees staff that did not expect him to be in the five-man rotation coming into the season. Yankees starting pitching has been the best in the American League from top to bottom, and Gil has headlined that, tallying 31 strikeouts in his last three outings for the first-place team in the MLB.

 

5. Reynaldo Lopez (ATL)

 

ERA: 1.73 W-L: 3-2 SO: 55 WHIP: 1.08

 

Another surprise journeyman takes the fifth spot in this week’s power rankings as Reynaldo Lopez gets some recognition for the start to the season he’s had. Lopez ranks second in the National League in ERA and has allowed two earned runs or less in nine of his first 10 starts, he allowed three in the other start. He has painted an excellent picture of consistency for the Braves so far this season and has used his contact managing style of pitching to gain success, only allowing two home runs on the year thus far. With Spencer Strider out for the season, guys like Lopez must continue to produce for Atlanta, if they plan on winning their division for the seventh consecutive season. 

 

6. Zack Wheeler (PHI)

 

ERA: 2.32 W-L: 6-3 SO: 85 WHIP: 0.95

 

Zack Wheeler has paired with Ranger Suarez as the best two-headed monster of any double-starting pitcher teammates so far this year. Wheeler ranks top five in the National League in nearly every relevant category, including ERA, strikeouts, WHIP, innings pitched, and opponent batting average. The veteran right-hander was undefeated in May and pitched into the seventh three times in the month. Wheeler placed second in Cy Young voting in the 2021 season, and sixth place last season, and if he stays healthy, he not only has a chance at winning his first Cy Young, but leading the Phillies back to the playoffs for the third straight year, and a division title for the first time since 2011. 

 

7. Corbin Burnes (BAL)

 

ERA: 2.35 W-L: 5-2 SO: 71 WHIP: 1.05

 

Corbin Burnes may have been the most talented starting pitcher in the league to switch teams this past off-season, and he has been everything the Baltimore Orioles hoped he’d be. Burnes ranks in the top 10 in the American League in ERA, opponent batting average, and innings pitched, and is 11th in strikeouts. He’s been the ace that Orioles fans have been waiting for and has been a perfect addition to a team that wants to contend for a World Series right now. Burnes has pitched at least five innings in every start he’s made this season, including an active streak where he’s gone at least six innings in each of his last seven starts. The right-hander is making a great case for making the all-star team for the fourth straight season.

 

8. Tanner Houck (BOS)

 

ERA: 1.85 W-L: 5-5 SO: 75 WHIP: 0.96

 

Tanner Houck has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball for the Boston Red Sox so far this season. Houck is currently top five in the American League in a ton of categories, including ERA, WHIP, innings pitched, and top 10 in stats such as opponent batting average and strikeouts. Houck has shown flashes for Boston since making his debut in 2020 but seems to have put it all together this year, and is making a case for making his first all-star team this season. Houck is one of six pitchers in the entire league with a complete game shutout this year and will need to continue to pitch excellently if the Red Sox want to have any chance at competing in the American League Wild Card race this season. 

 

9. Chris Sale (ATL)

 

ERA: 3.06 W-L: 8-1 SO: 82 WHIP: 0.95

 

What a bounce-back season this year has been for one of the best starting pitchers of the 2010s, Chris Sale. The 35-year-old lefty is leading all of Major League Baseball in FIP and strikeout/walk ratio so far this season and is tied for second in the league in wins, including a seven-game winning streak that lasted all of May. Sale had his worst start of the season by far this past weekend against Oakland but has been nails all year long for the Braves, and it will be interesting to see how he bounces back from his bad start if he can make the all-star team for the first time since the 2018 season. Sale has pitched seven full innings in six of the first eleven starts he has made this season and was recognized as the N.L. Pitcher-of-the-Month in May. 

 

10. Luis Castillo (SEA)

 

ERA: 2.99 W-L: 5-6 SO: 81 WHIP: 1.15

 

Rounding out this week’s list is a mainstay in starting pitcher conversations for the last five years, Luis Castillo. The three-time all-star is leading the American League in innings pitched so far this season and has not gone less than five innings in any of the games he’s started in this season, including at least six innings in nine of his last 10 starts. Although Castillo has not shined in every way we’ve seen in the past, he has been incredibly solid for a first-place Mariners team and has provided them the consistency they’ve wanted from an ace ever since he was traded to Seattle at the 2022 trade deadline. If the Mariners want to hold onto first place and win the American League West for the first time since 2001, Castillo will have to be a major contributor all season long. 

 

Some honorable mentions for this week’s power rankings include Max Fried, Marcus Stroman, Jordan Hicks, Tyler Anderson, Shota Imanaga, and Brady Singer.

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