Appointment Television: Baseball’s Must Watch Starting Pitchers (July 2013 Update)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

In May, I rolled out our list of Appointment Television starting pitchers, or pitchers who were worth planning your baseball viewing (and life) schedule around. Today, as I did in June, I’d like to update that list and talk about the changes. The original list can be found here, which also includes a little more detail on the origin of the project. Recall that the order is tiered into stable and non stable (italics), but each ranking is meaningless.

Here is the gist from the original:

The methodology is simple but also subjective. To be classified as Appointment TV you have to have a high likelihood of pitching a gem. There is no set definition of gem or likelihood, but the idea is that to make this list, you have to be likely enough to throw a game worth clearing your schedule for. I think a number of pitchers qualify. Most are high strikeout guys, but that isn’t a requirement. If you are good enough to dominate on a semi-regular basis you’re in. If on your day to pitch, I make sure I’m aware of the start time so that I can check in, you’re Appointment TV.

This is a rolling list and pitchers will be added and subtracted throughout the season and it will be updated as necessary. There is no order other than that pitchers lower on the list in italics are recent additions, so if you’re wondering if Jordan Zimmermann really qualifies, know that he’s earned his way onto the list in his last few starts. Remember, this is a list of pitchers who on this date are can’t miss TV. These are not necessarily the best pitchers and plenty of good pitchers aren’t on the list.

Appointment Television Starting Pitchers:

  1. Justin Verlander
  2. Adam Wainwright
  3. Clayton Kershaw
  4. Felix Hernandez
  5. Yu Darvish
  6. Matt Harvey
  7. Cliff Lee
  8. Max Scherzer
  9. Jordan Zimmermann
  10. Anibal Sanchez (coming of the DL July 6th)
  11. Stephen Strasburg
  12. Chris Sale
  13. Doug Fister
  14. Jose Fernandez
  15. Shelby Miller
  16. Mat Latos
  17. Derek Holland
  18. Clay Buchholz  (On the DL, no return set)

Let’s get the minor changes out of the way first. Stephen Strasburg is back on the list because he’s off the DL and I’ve decided to let Anibal Sanchez slide because he is schedule to come off the DL when his turn comes up in the rotation this weekend. Clay Buchholz gets the DL treatment, so he’s off the list for the time being because you can’t watch a guy who doesn’t pitch.

Doug Fister moves from the borderline italics section to the permanent list because he’s really good and Chris Sale gets a first even jump for not listed to regular type with his fantastic month of June. Jon Lester has really stumbled since his strong April so he’s off the list until he gets himself back on track, and Matt Moore, whom I really wanted to be great this year, is walking too many batters to be considered must watch. The strikeouts and run prevention is good, but if he doesn’t get his control in line he’ll regress a good deal.

Finally, the list gets three new names in the italics section. Mat Latos and Derek Holland have pitched too well to ignore even if I haven’t personally enjoyed their starts as much as their teams have. Both guys are on notice as I haven’t really fallen in love with their outings, but they’ve earned mention. Finally, Jose Fernandez has been lights out this season and after last night’s gem, he’s earned your attention. The Marlins have two players worth watching! I’m crossing my fingers for Jacob Turner.

Feel free to make a case for other starting pitchers who are must watch guys and we’ll consider adding them to the list.

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2 responses

  1. […] were worth planning your baseball viewing (and life) schedule around. Today, as I did in June and July, I’d like to update that list and talk about the changes. The original list can be found here, […]

  2. […] were worth planning your baseball viewing (and life) schedule around. Today, as I did in June, July, and August I’d like to update that list and talk about the changes. The original list can be […]

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