Top 6 Pitchers of 2017

Another year of baseball has come to pass. Another year in the books means another year of evaluation. The closing of 2017 has amped up the lists and opinions of who the top players were for all positions for the year. A more critical position, the pitcher, is a difficult category to break down to claim who the best was. Here is a list of pitchers that I believe were the top ten in Major League Baseball in 2017.

Clayton Kershaw – Dodgers

A popular name among best pitchers of the year and rightfully so. Kershaw suffered a short back injury but was back at it with the same enthusiasm he had before. He is projected to enter the Hall of Fame later in his career and continually shows that he is worth the consideration.

Max Scherzer – Nationals

Scherzer played an amazing year with the Nationals keeping a 31.5 percent strikeout rate. His strikeout rate was a career high for him and also ranked as the highest strikeout record pitched in 150 innings besides Jose Fernandez.

Noah Syndergaard – Mets

Syndergaard throws an impressive fastball at a speed of 98.2 MPH. That kind of speed has led him to some problems with his throwing arm that required surgery. The surgery did not affect his pitching skills, and we see constant improvement from the newbie each year.

Chris Sale – Red Sox

Sale, known for his funky delivery when pitching comes in at number four. Some skeptics say that his delivery won’t last him over the long haul, but his massive stack of games pitched at Chicago say otherwise. He recently moved to Boston where he will be getting better pitching and fielding advice to further his career.

Corey Kluber – Indians

Pitching over 200 innings in a season should be impressive enough to have a pitcher on the top 6 list. Critics talk about Kulber’s “off” year in 2016, but he still accomplishes some impressive feats. His curve/slider is a killer for players and is a promising prospect for upcoming seasons.

Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants

Bumgarner pitched a four-hit shutout against the Mets in the NL Wild Card game which is one example of the skill he has to an all-time great. Bumgarner, now 28, is reaching the peak of his career and serves as a trustworthy pitcher for the Giants.

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Components of A Good Training Program for Baseball Players

Baseball players have steadily shown evidence of increased strength and power equating to improved performance on the field. The need to maintain flexibility and agility is critical to a player’s skill set. Implementing a training program for baseball players that improves each of these physical components is the objective.

Core Strength

An important place for any training program to begin is with core development. A pitcher’s body momentum and the torque of a hitter’s swing center on their core. Developing strong abdominal and oblique muscles will increase body control.

Since injuries to this part of the body can be debilitating to a baseball player, this is the place to begin building a program. Core strengthening exercises can be done on a daily basis. However, always stress core flexibility to equally counter strength exercises.

A Powerful Lower Base

Even though many baseball moves use the upper body, everything benefits from strong leg muscles. Building a powerful base is critical for pitchers and hitters. Pitchers, who have a weak lower body structure, inherently experience a higher risk of arm injuries. Good hitters appreciate that the torque in their lower body initiates the power in their swing.

Lower body development for baseball players, especially pitchers, is enhanced by running. Sprints build speed and leg power. Strength exercises to build the quads, hamstrings and calf muscles help improve lower body power. It’s critical that a baseball player’s leg training program include rigorous stretching.

Upper Body Training

Baseball players often forego upper body training. There isn’t the same need for brute upper body strength in baseball like there is in other more physical sports. However, baseball players who properly add arm, chest and shoulder training can dramatically improve their game.

The most important cautionary recommendation is to never lift before a game or practice. Lifting weights, or other types of strength exercises, are helpful to build muscular power. Problems can occur when joints are tired from lifting, then baseball moves are performed.

Players should never weight train on pitching days. This can weaken the structure around the shoulder and elbow creating a higher risk of injury. A blend of weightlifting and exercises that use a player’s body weight are excellent ways to supplement a training program. Since hitters benefit from full arm extension when connecting with the ball and pitchers suffer from bulky arm muscles, intense stretching of the upper body post-training sessions is critical.

A training program for baseball players can benefit from strength building exercises. It is best to focus on core development first, and then make sure a powerful base is established. Even upper body power can improve performance on the field. Above all else, remember that joint and muscle flexibility is critical for playing baseball. Augment every training program with flexibility and agility work.

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Biggest World Series Upsets

As upsets go in sports, baseball has long been known for its parity. Major League Baseball plays a season double the length of its closest rival the NBA. With 164 games spread across seven months, baseball enthusiasts appreciate that any team can beat another on any given day. However, when it turns October and its playoffs season, the landscape for upsets changes.

Short, five-game series have been known to produce an occasional win by the underdog. More often than not though, the best teams earn the right to move on. The ultimate stage for the MLB in the World Series. A seven-game slugfest, back and forth until one team wins the fourth game. Over the history of baseball, there have been a few times where the underdog prevailed.

The Unlikely Senators – 1924

The Senators, with abysmal recent history, went head-to-head with a team making its fourth consecutive appearance in the fall classic. Oddsmakers had the New York Giants as overwhelming favorites. Most felt that New York would potentially sweep the Senators.

This was not the case. New York would struggle during the middle games of the series. One win away from their third title in four tries, the Giants would ultimately be unable to close during game six. Washington would win during game seven and upset John McGraw’s highly-favored Giants.

Cincinnati Has a Bash – 1990

In 1990, there hadn’t been a World Series upset for over two decades. There wasn’t anyone who thought the Reds would change that trend against the Oakland A’s. Oakland had the charismatic Bash Brothers leading a cast of superstars.

In fact, the A’s were one of the top favorites in years; some fans projected a four-game sweep. It turned into a sweep alright, but for the underdog. Cincinnati was backed by an elite bullpen including a trio of relief pitchers known as the Nasty Boys.

They made the highest scoring team in the league that year look like befuddled little leaguers. Cincinnati’s pitching allowed Oakland a total of eight runs in four games, four of those in a 10-inning game. As heavily favored as Oakland was, the 1990 upset is deemed the biggest in World Series history.

Over the years there have been other World Series upsets. The young Florida Marlins franchise took out the legendary New York Yankees in 2003. Baseball purists will never forget how Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski shocked the world with his ninth-inning walk-off home run in 1960.

The New York Mets defeat of the Baltimore Orioles in 1969 was considered an upset. However, the Mets actually won 100 games during that regular season. There have been a handful of World Series upsets out of the more than 100 Fall Classics. The improbable turnaround season of the 1924 Senators and the Reds stymieing of the 1990 Oakland A’s have to be two of the most memorable.

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Best Pitchers in The 90’s

The 1990s saw some great pitchers in Major League Baseball. Some of the greatest pitchers in the history of the game pitched in this era. There will always be arguments and discussions as to which pitchers were the best and in what order. However, in the era of the 1990s, these five pitchers stand out.

Dennis Eckersley

Dennis Eckersley began his career as a starting pitcher with the Cleveland Indians before moving to the Boston Red Sox. While a good starting pitcher who pitched a no-hitter, Eckersley achieved his pitching fame as a relief pitcher.

During his time with the Oakland A’s in the late 80 through the mid-90s, Eckersley had great numbers. In 1992, he won the Cy Young Award and League MVP. He was named to the All-Time MLB Team roster.

David Cone

David Cone played his career with several teams most notably with the Kansas City Royals, the New York Mets, and the New York Yankees. He was a dominating pitcher who won 20 games on two occasions. Cone was a Cy Young winner who had a great career ERA.

Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson was an imposing presence on the mound. His nickname was the “Big Unit”. During the 90s, Johnson played for Seattle most of the time. He led the league with the lowest ERA twice in the 90s, and he was the strikeout leader for four years in a row. He won the Cy Young Award twice in the 90s, and he won the award five times in his career.

In the 2000s, Johnson would continue his great career with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He would retire with over 300 wins.

Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux was part of one of the greatest starting pitching rotations ever when he played for the Atlanta Braves. He helped lead the team to multiple playoff appearances.

Greg Maddux won 355 games in his career, and he won the Cy Young Award four times in the 90s. He was a great fielding pitcher winning 18 Gold Glove Awards.

Roger Clemens

Clemens had notable years with the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Yankees. He is a seven-time Cy Young Award winner and five-time strikeout winner.

Roger Clemens finished his career with 354 wins. He was on two World Series Championship teams, and he was voted to the MLB All-Century Team.

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Unbreakable Baseball Records

Some records you just can’t break. Baseball has a wide variety of records that some people consider to be unbreakable. The evolvement of baseball has led to some of these records to be increasingly difficult to break. Listed, are some records and their record holders that baseball professionals and analysts consider to be unbreakable.


Career Wins – 511 – Cy Young


Cy Young holds the record for most career wins for a single player. His long career spans over twenty seasons with five of them having thirty wins and the other fifteen having twenty. No other player has come relatively close to the record that Cy Young has set with career wins.


Completed Games In A Season – 75 – Will White


In 1879, before the modern era of baseball Will White set the record for most completed games in a season at 75. Evaluating this record and adjusting the number to begin the live-ball era in 1920, the record is still considered to be unbreakable.


Most Consecutive No-Hitters – 2 – Johnny Vander Meer


Considered to be the most unbreakable of all baseball records is the consecutive no-hitter record. Set by Johnny Vander Meer on June 11th and June 15th. The thought of throwing three consecutive no-hitters is regarded as almost unfathomable. The closest a pitcher has come to throwing two consecutive no-hitters was Max Scherzer in 2015. Scherzer, unfortunately, was stripped away of the chance in the seventh inning of the second game.


Most Career Strikeouts – 5,714 – Nolan Ryan


Over Nolan Ryan’s career from 1966-1993, he threw six 300 strikeout seasons and an additional fifteen 200 strikeout seasons. To accomplish this feat, Ryan completed twenty-seven seasons total, setting the record for most seasons played in Major League Baseball. Since 2002 there have only been two pitchers that have surpassed the 300 strikeout season mark. Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale are the only two pitchers to throw 300 strikeout seasons since 2002.


Most Career Hits – 4,256 – Pete Rose


Pete Rose has led Major League Baseball as most career hits from 1963 to 1986. The only person to have surpassed his record was Ichiro Suzuki with 4,358. Unfortunately, 1,278 of those hits were recorded in the Japanese major leagues which do not count towards the MLB total. One player named Miguel Cabrera has potential to break Rose’s record. Cabrera currently stands at 2,636 hits in his fifteen season career at age 34. If all goes well, Cabrera may be able to break the most career hits record.

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