Appointment Television: Baseball’s Must Watch Starting Pitchers (September 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 JuneJuly, and August 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. Cliff Lee
  7. Max Scherzer
  8. Anibal Sanchez
  9. Stephen Strasburg
  10. Chris Sale
  11. Doug Fister
  12. Jose Fernandez
  13. David Price
  14. Francisco Liriano
  15. Shelby Miller
  16. Mat Latos
  17. Derek Holland
  18. Jordan Zimmerman
  19. Homer Bailey
  20. Partrick Corbin
  21. Hiroki Kuroda
  22. Zack Greinke
  23. Clay Buchholz  (On the DL, no return set)
  24. Matt Harvey (Out for the season)

Let’s talk about the changes. Harvey falls off because he’s not pitching anymore this season. Greinke joins the italicized players thanks to a very strong stretch of pitching and his Ruthian season at the plate. Both Jarrod Parker and Cole Hamels have my attention, but I’m not ready to call them must watch starters just yet.

There is very little else worth moving on the list as only Liriano made the jump from fringe to stable with everyone else in italics maintaining their place on the list. I find the lack of movement kind of interesting, as I added and subtracted more guys in previous months. Perhaps this is a function of performance evening out, or perhaps it’s just a random blip on the radar. As always, this is an entirely subjective list based on my own sense of what makes someone compelling to wach.

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


One response

  1. michael peddycord | Reply

    As a completely biased Cubs fan I have to make an argument for Travis Wood. Great season because of his approach over is stuff, plus he is one of the better hitting and base running pitchers in the league

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