By Tyler Ruby on May 8, 2014
Twenty is the magic number for starting pitchers, and every year that passes by, it becomes a rarer feat to achieve. You can chalk that up to a number of different aspects, but pitchers need a lot of things to go their way to reach 20 wins. It's just difficult to maintain their effectiveness throughout 30-35 starts.
That being said, read on to find out which pitchers have the best chance to reach that 20-win plateau.
Rick Porcello may be the most surprising pitcher on this list considering the fact that he hasn't been a dominant pitcher for the majority of his career. He has never had more than 14 wins in a year, but he is 5-1 this season with a 3.49 ERA. Run support won't be an issue for Porcello, or really any Detroit pitcher, so 20 games doesn't seem too far out of reach.
The Oakland A's always seem to have at least one pitcher on their staff who flirts with 20 wins each season, and Sonny Gray could be that pitcher this year. He's 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA, and he possesses a powerful fastball with strong secondary pitches.
Tim Hudson's career was in the balance after suffering a brutal ankle injury last year against the New York Mets, but he has shown no ill effects for San Francisco. He has four wins on the year, and he has become the de facto ace of the Giants' pitching staff.
Jose Fernandez is one of the most exciting young pitchers in today's game, as he possesses electrifying stuff. He has a live fastball with a devastating curveball. If he gets any sort of run support from the Miami Marlins' lineup, he could reach that 20-game plateau. He is just that good.
Somebody has to win for this Angels club, why not C.J. Wilson? He has four wins on the year, and if that Angels offense can kick it into high gear, he could be the beneficiary of a number of those wins. He had 17 wins last year on an underachieving team, and if the Angels can finally put it all together, expect him to be around 20 wins come season's end.
The 2013 Cy Young winner has gotten off to a good start this year. He is 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA, and he continues to prove that he is one of the most dominant pitchers in the game today. It will be difficult to get to 20 wins in back-to-back years, but Scherzer definitely has that ability.
This the third Tiger pitcher on this list, but Justin Verlander always seems to be flirting with winning 20 games. He won 24 games back in 2011, and he is 4-1 this year. The only concern is that the Tigers can't have three 20-game winners, so some of these wins will be split up between the three.
Zack Greinke is second in the league right now with five wins. In the past three years, he has collected 16, 15 and 15 wins, and he won the Cy Young in 2009. Maybe this is the year he finally wins 20 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Mark Buehrle hasn't gotten close to 20 wins since 2002, so the fact that he is 6-1 with a 1.91 ERA seven starts into the year could be an anomaly. But he does have six wins, and he is a quarter of the way there. At 35 years old, can he keep it up the rest of season? I don't know, but I would never count the crafty lefty out.
In three of the last four years, Adam Wainwright has had either 19 wins or 20 wins, so in my estimation, he still has the best chance to win 20 games this year. He is 6-2, and he often goes long into games to avoid any sort of bullpen disaster to negate a win for him. Add in the fact that he pitches for the St. Louis Cardinals, and I would be shocked if Wainwright doesn't win 20 this year.
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