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MLB - US Sports: Top Five Pitchers in the MLB

We take a look at who is hot in the pitching world at the moment in MLB, with the position almost certainly the most important in the game.

Joe Musgrove (San Diego Padres)

Born in El Cajon, California. Musgrove is a lifelong Padres fan and threw the franchise first no-hitter last year against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field.

The 29-year-old was a World Series Champion in 2017 with the Houston Astros before being traded in a four-way switch to the Pittsburgh Pirates, which saw Gerrit Cole move in the opposite direction.

In January 2021 Musgrove, 5/1 to win the National League Cy Young Award, was part of a three-team trade which saw his dream of playing for the Padres a reality.

The righty was a revelation last season, he led the rotation in wins, ERA and strikeouts. This season he has followed up on that excellent campaign by leading the majors in ERA (1.50) and is yet to lose a start, 7-0.

Alek Manoah (Toronto Blue Jays)

The 24-year-old has had an explosive start to his Major League Baseball career. Manoah made his debut last season against the New York Yankees, picking up the win in a 2-0 victory.

He finished his rookie season with a 3.22 ERA going 9-2, striking out 127. This season Manoah has been even better, he has an 8-1 record with a 1.67 ERA in 12 games started.

He has the lowest number of strikeouts (68) in this top five, but has the third best WHIP, 0.91.

Manoah was brilliant in his start against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night, throwing six scoreless innings, striking out seven, allowing just one hit and he is 11/2 and in the conversation for the American League Cy Young Award.

Sandy Alcantara (Miami Marlins)

Alcantara was aged just 17 when he was picked by the St Louis Cardinals as an international free agent. He was promoted to the Major Leagues in 2017 and used mainly as a closer, pitching in eight games.

Alcantara was then traded in the winter, along with three others for Marcell Ozuna to the Miami Marlins. He made his Marlins debut in June 2017 and hasn’t looked back.

He signed a new five-year deal worth $54million in the winter and has been worth every penny.

The 26-year-old has a 6-2 record with a 1.68 ERA in 13 games, with 82 strikeouts and is 7/2 to win the NL Cy Young award.

Shane McClanahan (Tampa Bay Rays)

McClanahan was born in Baltimore before moving to Florida. He was drafted by the New York Mets in the 2015 Major League Baseball draft but turned down the opportunity to attend University of South Florida and play college baseball.

He was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the draft of 2018 and was added to the 40-man roster for the AL Wild Card series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

McClanahan made his debut in the AL Division series against the New York Yankees, becoming the first pitcher to have made his debut in the post-season.

Last season, McClanahan threw 10-6 with a 3.43 ERA. This season the lefty has been mighty impressive with a 7-2 record in 12 games started.

He has a 1.87 ERA giving up only 49 hits, while striking out the most in this top five, 98 and he is priced at 15/4 to win his first AL Cy Young award.

Justin Verlander (Houston Astros)

The veteran pitcher is at it again. He's an eight-time All-Star and a World Series Champion in 2017 with the Astros, while he's also won a Cy Young award twice and had three no-hitters.

The 39-year-old signed a one-year extension to his contract in the winter of 2021 following two years of inactivity due to receiving Tommy John surgery.

He has an 8-2 record this year in 12 starts throwing a 1.94 ERA with 78 strikeouts. He’s given up 10 home runs, which is the highest of the five featured.

Rarely do pitchers return from surgery and get better, he went 624 days between Major League starts and tossed just six innings in the previous 269 days.

Speaking to the official Astros website at the start of June, Verlander said: "I have to look at this season as part of my rehab process. I think I'm going to have to really listen to my body, especially as the innings start to build up."

Verlander is 4/1 to win a third Cy Young award.

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