Appointment Television: Baseball’s Must Watch Starting Pitchers (August 2013 Update)
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 and July, 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:
- Justin Verlander
- Adam Wainwright
- Clayton Kershaw
- Felix Hernandez
- Yu Darvish
- Matt Harvey
- Cliff Lee
- Max Scherzer
- Anibal Sanchez
- Stephen Strasburg
- Chris Sale
- Doug Fister
- Jose Fernandez
- David Price
- Shelby Miller
- Mat Latos
- Derek Holland
- Jordan Zimmerman
- Francisco Liriano
- Homer Bailey
- Partrick Corbin
- Hiroki Kuroda
Clay Buchholz(On the DL, no return set)
Let’s talk about the changes. First of all, Jose Fernandez made the jump from the borderline region into the stable region because he continues to impress during his rookie season. Jordan Zimmernmann falls into the fringe ranks because while he is still pitching well, he hasn’t been turning in dominating, turn the game on and notice performances.
Everyone else on the list is in the same spot and the remaining changes are those who have joined the party. Francisco Liriano is impressing in Pittsburgh over his 95 IP this season. If he remains healthy, he should hold his spot on the list. Price is an obvious addition to the list. He’s been dominant since coming off the DL and was one of the top pitchers in the game last season. He’s now healthy and even more efficient than before.
Bailey, Corbin, and Kuroda are all having very nice seasons and have earned their way onto the list. They don’t make me turn my head quite as much as some others, but they have now pitched their way to the point where I will always be aware when they are on the mound.
Feel free to make a case for other starting pitchers who are must watch guys and we’ll consider adding them to the list.