Best starting pitcher from the MLB first half


After an exciting first half of the 2021 MLB season, there have been some surprising and dominant pitchers that we’ve watched. Let’s dig into my choice for best pitcher so far and pick out some honorable mentions for the first half of the season. 

(FTN’s Kyle Murray picks out the award winners from the first half of the 2021 MLB season.)

Honorable mention

Kevin Gausman, San Francisco Giants 

Kevin Gausman is having a career year by far, sitting at 9-3 through 18 starts while owning a 1.73 ERA. That ERA is almost 2.00 below his best season to date, and it’s also second best in the league. Gausman has also led San Francisco to the best record in the MLB, at 57-32. Gausman is close to a personal milestone as well, 46 strikeouts away from his career high. 

Trevor Rogers, Miami Marlins 

Trevor Rogers made the jump from Double-A Jacksonville to the big leagues in 2020, where things did not look promising for the southpaw — he went 1-2 with a 6.11 ERA in seven starts and 28.0 innings last year. Even in spring training this year, Rogers was an afterthought to make the roster, but through 18 starts, he has been one of the most underrated pitchers in the National League. He won back-to-back NL Rookie of the Month Awards, and he was also Miami’s lone All-Star. Rogers ranks 18th in the league with 122 strikeouts and is tied for seventh in the league with a 2.31 ERA. 

Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies

Although wins have been hard to come by for the Zack Wheeler, individually he’s having the best season of his career. Highlighted by a top-five ERA of 2.26, while averaging 10.9 K/9, Wheeler has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the league this season. He’s put together five starts of double-digit strikeouts, while not allowing a run in seven starts. Expect Wheeler to continue to dominate hitters, especially in the NL East, while reaching 200 innings pitched for the first time in his career. 

Chris Bassitt, Oakland A’s

Chris Bassitt‘s numbers aren’t out of this world, but the 6-foot-5 righty has put together a solid first half, winning 10 games and a respectable 3.28 ERA. Over his last seven games, Bassitt has found his groove, winning five of those starts to go along with a 2.86 ERA and 38 strikeouts. Oakland will need to lean on Bassitt in the second half of the season if they want to continue to hold onto the Wild Card spot. 

And the top pitcher of 2021 so far 

Jacob deGrom, New York Mets

Shocker, right? As if we didn’t think he could get any better, Jacob deGrom has put together one of the best seasons we’ve seen from a pitcher. With a 1.08 ERA, 14.3 K/9 and an absurd 22.2% whiff rate, deGrom has been nearly untouchable. What’s more impressive is his control, averaging 13.27 strikeouts per walk. He did have a stint on the IL, which may have actually hurt him a bit, but over his last few starts he looks like he’s back to 100%. This Mets rotation should get a huge boost down the stretch as well, with some key arms returning to the rotation. 

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