Now that the first decade of the 2000’s is gone, I know what you’re all thinking – “Jake, I’m a terrifically lazy, good-for-nothing human being, and I have no tolerance for doing any sort of research but I still really want to know who the top 5 pitchers of the 2000’s are.” Well good people, I have gone through the painstaking research necessary and am ready to present my exciting results.
Actually the results are not that exciting. I’m sure most people who know anything about baseball could guess 3, 4, maybe all 5 first try. But its still fun to have a go.
Preface: Let’s keep in mind the magnitude of achievement of these pitchers – The late 90’s and the first part of the 00’s were the heyday for steroids hitting. The kind of numbers these guys put up despite the widespread steroid use is amazing.
Honorable Mention: CC Sabathia (136 wins, 3.62 ERA, ’07 Cy Young), Roger Clemens (3.34 ERA, 203 K/year, Cy Young ’01, ’04), Roy Oswalt (137 wins, 3.23 ERA, 135 ERA+), Mike Mussina (134 Wins, 4.09 K/BB, Gold Glove ’01, ’03, ’08).
5.) Curt Schilling – He is probably the best pitcher of the ’90s and ’00s to never win a Cy young (finished 2nd three times). Greatly unappreciated, Schill’s numbers and his big game pedigree should not be overlooked. Ultra-consistent, and durable to the end, Schill was everything any fan could ever ask for. Over the 2000’s Schill averaged a 18-9 record and 228 K’s per 162 games. His most amazing stat was his K/BB ratio, which was the best of all-time in the modern era and during the 2000’s he averaged an amazing 6.01 (his career number is 4.38). Schill will be best remembered for his bloody sock game that propelled the Sox to the ’04 WS. Flat out dude was a fighter and a winner.
4.) Roy Halladay – One of the only pitchers considered still playing, and playing well at that, Roy Halladay started the 2000’s relatively unknown and struggling to find his stuff, making his presence on this list all the more impressive. Roy found his stuff fast, and his numbers are impressive considering he had to pitch against the Yanks and the Sox in division. Halladay leads all pitchers in the 2000’s with 6 All-Star game selections and won his first Cy Young in ’03. His 3.43 ERA, average of 17 wins a season, 1.17 WHIP and workhorse mentallity (lead the MLB in IP 3 years during the 2000’s) position him securely in the 4 spot.
3.) Pedro Martinez – Now to the meat of the list. The next three are by far the three best of the decade and only their order is disputable. Personally speaking, Pedro is my favorite pitcher of the of all time – the way he made right handers look silly with his back door two-seamer was the best – but there is no bias in this pick. Pedro’s numbers in the 2000’s back up his place in 3rd. Most people’s last memory of Pedro is him struggling at the end of his career, but the first half of the 2000’s he was dominant. Pedro’s Cy Young came in 2000 and capped a 3-in-4-years Cy Young kick. His 2000 season is worth recounting – facing the most juiced up batters in history, Pedro unleashed this stat line: 18-6, 1.74 ERA, 284 K’s, 8.88 K/BB, and 0.74 WHIP. 0.74!! My god for a starter that is unreal. Actually the best ever for a single season. Over the 2000’s Pedro’s 3.01 ERA and 1.03 WHIP was best, and his 244 K’s a year put him second. Pedro is really only trumped, somehow, by two guys.
2.) Randy Johnson – Arguably the best pitcher of the 90’s to 00’s, Randy won 3 Cy Youngs back-to-back-to-back from ’00-’02 and made 4 AS games. Guys were actually afraid of Randy and his upper ’90s stuff (if you remember the all-star game I’m referring to you know what I’m talking about). He was the most prolific strike out pitcher of our time, and in the 00’s he struck out 2182 averaging a meteoric 262 a year. His 3.34 ERA and 1.11 WHIP also weren’t too bad, and he was an integral part of that Diamondback squad that pulled out a game 7 win against the Yanks in ’00. Last thing – From ’00 to ’02 Randy average 21 wins a year, a 2.48 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 351 K’s a year. You read that right, 351…
1.) Johan Santana – Even I forgot just how dominant Johan was during the 2000’s. When I started to look at his starts again I began to recall a game I heard on the radio when I was much younger. Pedro vs. Johan. Pedro on his way out and Johan on his way in, it was a game in which both pitchers brought shutouts into the 8th. I remember thinking it couldn’t be possible someone was better than Pedro, or as dominant, but I was proved wrong and Johan finished his complete game shutout with the Win. Onto the stats. Johan is the only guy in the 00’s with a Gold Glove (’07) and a Cy Young (’04, ’06). Across the board Johan’s numbers were spectacular – 122 Wins, 3.12 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 217 K’s a year. His consistency throughout the whole of the 2000’s is what puts him above all in my mind. In a five year period, Johan average 18 wins, 2.82 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 238 K’s a year and 4.58 K/BB. That’s five years of dominance that no one else can match and that’s what makes Johan the best of all in the 2000’s.