I just wrapped up my series where I ranked the top 10 MLB players at each position, but I’m not done yet. This edition will rank the top 10 pitching duos in MLB, another list where the Braves will be well represented. If you haven’t yet checked out my position player rankings, follow the links below.
- Starting Pitchers
- Right Field
- Center Field
- First Base
- Second Base
- Third Base
- Left Field
- Relief Pitchers
Top 10 Pitching Duos in MLB
- Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander
- Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodón
- Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff
- Max Fried and Spencer Strider
- Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler
- Alek Manoah Kevin Gausman
- Shane McClanahan and Tyler Glasnow
- Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier
- Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urías
- Shane Bieber and Tristian McKenzie
Pitching wins championships, so there’s a reason every duo on this list represented their team in the postseason last season except for the Brewers.
I don’t think there’s any doubt about who the top spot belongs to, as much as it pains me to say it. Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander have both aged like a fine wine. Unless something changes, it’s likely they will be competing with each other for the NL Cy Young award in 2023. This has the potential to be one of the best pitching duos of all time.
The next 5-6 spots on this list are separated by a razor thin margin. I went with the Yankees new tandem at #2. Gerrit Cole is a Cy Young contender every year, and Carlos Rodón has emerged as arguably the best left-handed starter on the planet over the last two years.
Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff are the only duo on this list to miss last year’s postseason, but it was too no fault of their own. These two have been the most consistent pitching duo of the last few seasons, and it’s not even close.
If there’s someone who could challenge Rodón for the title of best southpaw on the planet, it’s Max Fried, who clocks in with his running mate, Spencer Strider. Fried has been consistently great over the last three seasons, emerging as the ace of the Braves staff, but that might not last for long if Strider builds off of his incredible rookie campaign.
At #5 is another NL East duo, which is a testament to how ridiculous the division is when it comes to pitching, and I didn’t even include last year’s NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara.
The sixth spot belongs to Alek Manoah and old friend Kevin Gausman. Manoah is one of the most entertaining players in the game, a true bulldog on the mound that finished third in the AL Cy Young race last season. Gausman’s career has done a complete 180 since we last saw him with the Braves. He’s not the most dominant pitcher but is as solid of a number two as they come.
Shane McClanahan and Tyler Glasnow probably would have come in higher if Glasnow could manage to stay healthy. Glasnow only made two starts last season and has never made more than 13 over his entire seven-year career.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a duo from the reigning World Champions. These two have been spectacular for the Astros, particularly when it matters most in the postseason.
The Dodgers probably would have been better represented if Walker Buehler didn’t undergo Tommy John surgery last year. He will miss most of next season, but Clayton Kershaw is a pretty good #2 if you ask me. Even at 35-years-old, he posted a 2.28 ERA last season, and Urías has blossomed into one of the best pitchers in baseball.
I could have gone a number of different ways for the final spot, but I chose the Indians duo of Shane Bieber and Tristan McKenzie. Bieber is a perennial Cy Young candidate and one of the most dominant pitchers in the game. McKenzie isn’t close to that, but he is oozing with talent and broke out last season, posting a 2.96 ERA.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire