The Best Fifteen Left Handed Pitchers Right Now
Top 15 Left Handed Pitchers in Baseball
There have been a couple of huge contracts given to right handed pitchers this past offseason, but there were lefties that deserved them much more. Without any of the top guys getting new deals during the offseason, the deal that will be a big comparison piece is the extension Cole Hamels received early last season.
For those of you who don’t remember, Hamels got a six year $144 million deal with limited no trade provisions. This deal is currently the second largest contract for a left handed pitcher behind only C.C. Sabathia’s seven year, $161 million deal that the New York Yankees used to lure him to New York in 2009.
A little bit of a spoiler but the third and fourth highest paid lefties are not in my top 15. That is Barry Zito (free agent signed for seven years, $126 million after the 2006 season) and Johan Santana (extension signed for six years, $137.5 million after trade from Minnesota Twins to New York Mets).
I really like Santana, but his injuries and age have caused him to drop out of my top 15. I will admit there are pitchers on this list who are not as good as Santana (when healthy), but I can’t reward a guy who hasn’t made 30 starts since 2008.
It is realistic that my number one guy will become the highest paid pitcher in baseball history in a year or two. And it will be well deserved.
If you don’t know who I am talking about then you just have to wait and see.
#15 Jon Lester
A couple of seasons ago Jon Lester would have been my number one, but due to some major under-performing last year and at the end of 2011, Lester falls all the way down to 15.
#14 Wandy Rodriguez
When he played for the Houston Astros, Wandy Rodriguez flew pretty far under the radar while being a top of the line pitcher. Now pitching with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Rodriguez is hidden in the rotation behind A.J. Burnett and James McDonald.
Also, with all the hype on young prospects like Jameson Taillion, the pressure on Rodriguez to win is even less than it was in Houston.
#13 CJ Wilson
If you read my top 15 right handed pitchers slideshow, you know how overrated I think Zack Greinke is. To me, C.J. Wilson is the left handed Greinke.
Wilson got a pretty big offer to sign with the Los Angeles Angels last offseason, but he was helped a lot by the weak free agent class. When Wilson is widely considered the best free agent pitcher in a class, it is a WEAK class.
Wilson was also helped by pitching for a couple very good Texas Rangers teams his last two or three seasons in Texas.
#12 Matt Harrison
I believe Matt Harrison is one of the most underrated pitchers in the league. When you produce the way Harrison has and you are still stuck behind a combination of C.J. Wilson and Derek Holland over the last three seasons, you aren’t very highly regarded.
Harrison is finally starting to get the respect he deserves and is listed as the Rangers number 2 starter behind Yu Darvish.
#11 Wade Miley
Wade Miley really broke onto the scene last year with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He wasn’t expected to make the big league club out of spring training, but he ended up being the ace of their rotation.
Recognizing how much hype was surrounding Bryce Harper, for Miley to make it a close race for the National League rookie of the year took a lot.
#10 Mark Buehrle
You can’t really say anything bad about Mark Buehrle. He consistently goes out and throws 200 innings. He is never outstanding, but he is always above average. He is easily one of the best pitchers in the majors when it comes to fielding his position.
He may struggle a little moving into the American League east this year, but Buehrle is the kind of pitcher who shouldn’t be to affected by it.
#9 C.C. Sabathia
C.C. Sabathia is somewhat in the same boat as Buerhle. Just on the next level.
Sabathia will go out every season and give you upwards of 220 innings and 200 strikeouts. He will win you 20 games a season (granted he is helped by pitching for the New York Yankees).
There is a reason Sabathia had the biggest contract given to a pitcher for multiple years, and he definitely deserved it.
#8 Madison Bumgarner
Madison Bumgarner has only been in the league a couple of seasons, but he has been one of the best pitchers in the league. It is tough to earn your way into the number 2 slot of a rotation as good as the San Francisco Giants.
Bumgarner is the left handed anchor in that rotation and he definitely deserves all the credit for getting there.
#7 Aroldis Chapman
This one is a little tricky. Aroldis Chapman is on here as long as he is a closer.
I know he is supposed to be a starter this season, but last year he had one of the best seasons as a closer, of all time. His 100MPH fastball and wicked slider make him a perfect closer.
Sadly I doubt Chapman can come anywhere near his top production as a starter. As a starter you don’t get to pitch the same way you do as a closer. It just doesn’t work like that.
#6 Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee has been one of the best pitchers in the league for multiple years. His control is impeccable and his composure is amazing.
He didn’t win many games last season, but you can’t put that completely on him. The Philadelphia Phillies rarely gave him a chance.
Lee will be back to his normal self this year, and his record will show it.
#5 Chris Sale
Chris Sale burst onto the scene last season with the Chicago White Sox. Anyone throwing upper 90s with a sick breaking ball from the left side is going to be good.
Everything he throws is sick and the only worry about him is his inning jump from 2011 to 2012.
#4 Gio Gonzalez
Gio Gonzalez was noticeably good when he pitched for the Oakland Athletics a couple years ago, but he got a lot of attention when he could finally pitch on a winning team last year.
Pitching for the Washington Nationals really got Gonzalez a lot of hype last year and he will now have to live up to what he has earned.
#3 Cole Hamels
Cole Hamels has been an ace since about 2008. He has been overshadowed by Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay in the Phillies rotation, but he will emerge this season as the true number 1.
#2 David Price
Last year's Cy Young award winner brings upper 90s from the left side, with one of the best change ups in the game. Pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays really helps Price due to the winning culture.
Everyone who pitches for the Rays has a great change up and Price’s is one of the best.
#1 Clayton Kershaw
Who else would it be?
Clayton Kershaw is easily the best lefty in the game. The 2011 National League Cy Young award winner is an amazing overall pitcher. Everything he throws has great movement and he has great deception.
Without question Kershaw is the best left handed pitcher in the game and it is pretty reasonable to think that Kershaw will break Felix Hernandez’s record for highest paid pitcher in the game in a season or two.