MLB Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right Now: Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler Ranked By The Shredder

The Los Angeles Dodgers were prominently featured in MLB Network’s The Shredder’s list of top 10 starting pitchers entering the 2021 season, with Clayton Kershaw (No. 7) and Walker Buehler (No. 10) each making the cut.

Kershaw was unranked last season, but before that had been included in the rankings every year since 2012. For Buehler, it marks a second consecutive year being considered a top-10 starting pitcher.

New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom sits atop The Shredder rankings for this season, followed by Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer, Shane Bieber and former Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu. Dinelson Lamet (No. 8) and Aaron Nola (No. 9) also received recognition.

With the 2020 campaign shortened to just 60 games, the 2021 list was compiled by taking into account a three-year sample. It also entailed The Shredder rankings from the past two years and Statcast metrics, among other factors. Postseason statistics did not factor into the equation.

MLB Network analysts Mike Petriello and Sarah Langs each had Kershaw and Buehler in their respective top-10 lists. However, Vince Gennaro did not include either one in his rankings.

In 10 regular-season starts last season, Kershaw went 6-2 with a 2.16 ERA, 3.31 FIP and 0.84 WHIP, 62 strikeouts and eight walks in 58.1 innings. He placed ninth in National League Cy Young voting and was named to the All-MLB Second Team.

Kershaw went on to shine during the postseason as well, going 4-1 with a 2.93 ERA and 0.91 WHIP with 37 strikeouts and five walks in 30.2 innings. He was particularly dominant in the World Series, winning Games 1 and 5 while limiting the Tampa Bay Rays to a combined three runs over 11.2 innings pitched.

From 2018-20, Kershaw’s ERA of 2.78 is good for the fifth-lowest among pitchers with a minimum of 250 innings pitched. Over than span, he has held opposing hitters to a .220 batting average and .639 on-base plus slugging with a 25.8% strikeout percentage in 398 innings.

The 2020 season was hardly smooth sailing for Buehler, who again had a slow buildup and then dealt with blister issues. He finished the regular season with a 3.44 ERA, 4.36 FIP and 0.96 WHIP over eight starts, never logging more than six innings in any outing.

Despite having to closely manage his blisters, the Dodgers started Buehler in Game 1 of the Wild Card round, National League Division Series and NL Championship Series. His final playoff start was in Game 3 of the World Series.

Buehler was especially effective from the NLCS through the World Series, allowing a combined two earned runs while striking out 26 batters across 17 innings in three starts.

Since 2018, Buehler has allowed the fourth-lowest opponent OPS (.602) of any pitcher with a minimum of 250 innings pitched, trailing only deGrom (.552), Justin Verlander (.591) and Cole (.600).

MLB Top 10 starting pitchers right now for 2021

RankThe ShredderMike PetrielloSarah Langs Vince Gennaro
1Jacob deGrom (Mets)Shane Bieber (Indians)Jacob deGrom (Mets)Jacob deGrom (Mets)
2Gerrit Cole (Yankees)Jacob deGrom (Mets)Gerrit Cole (Yankees)Gerrit Cole (Yankees)
3Max Scherzer (Nationals)Gerrit Cole (Yankees)Shane Bieber (Indians)Blake Snell (Rays)
4Trevor Bauer (Dodgers)Yu Darvish (Padres)Trevor Bauer (Dodgers)Shane Bieber (Indians)
5Shane Bieber (Indians)Aaron Nola (Phillies)Yu Darvish (Padres)Lucas Giolito (White Sox)
6Hyun-Jin Ryu (Blue Jays)Walker Buehler (Dodgers)Max Scherzer (Nationals)Trevor Bauer (Dodgers)
7Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)Trevor Bauer (Dodgers)Walker Buehler (Dodgers)Yu Darvish (Padres)
8Dinelson Lamet (Padres)Luis Castillo (Reds)Aaron Nola (Phillies)Lance Lynn (White Sox)
9Aaron Nola (Phillies)Lucas Giolito (White Sox)Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)Tyler Glasnow (Rays)
10Walker Buehler (Dodgers)Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)Lucas Giolito (White Sox)Luis Castillo (Reds)

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