Who emerges as the top left-handed pitcher in the latest Starting Pitcher Power Rankings?

Our recent Starting Pitcher Power Rankings vote saw a compelling showdown among three remarkable left-handed pitchers, each presenting a strong case for the top spot but arriving there through vastly different paths.

The MLB.com panel was tasked with evaluating the merits of Shota Imanaga of the Cubs, whose seamless transition from Japan’s NPB to Major League Baseball has been nothing short of remarkable; Tarik Skubal of the Tigers, whose dominant pitch arsenal is propelling him to newfound success at age 27 following a promising return from injury last year; and Ranger Suárez of the Phillies, a crafty veteran with a soft-touch approach who is currently riding an impressive hot streak.

Arriving at a decision was no easy feat, but in the end, one pitcher emerged as the undeniable No. 1. Here’s a breakdown of the results from our latest Starting Pitcher Power Rankings, which also features some notable newcomers, including a resurgent veteran and a rising young star.

  1. Shota Imanaga, Cubs (Previous ranking: 4) Imanaga’s dominance on the mound has progressed from skepticism to wholehearted acceptance among our panelists. The 30-year-old southpaw has been nothing short of sensational, posting a flawless 5-0 record with a minuscule 0.84 ERA across nine starts. His deceptive four-seamer/splitter combination has baffled hitters, earning him a well-deserved ascent to the top spot in our rankings.
  2. Tarik Skubal, Tigers (2) Skubal may not have previously garnered Cy Young Award consideration, but his performance in 2024 has certainly put him in the conversation. Armed with a blazing four-seamer and sinker, complemented by a changeup and slider that induce plenty of swings and misses, Skubal boasts an MLB-leading 1.94 FIP and 0.78 WHIP, making him a formidable force on the mound.
  3. Ranger Suárez, Phillies (5) Suárez’s recent outings have been nothing short of extraordinary, drawing comparisons to legendary pitchers of yesteryears. Despite his modest fastball velocity, the 28-year-old has dazzled with impeccable control and a diverse repertoire of pitches. His stellar start to the season (9-0, 1.36 ERA) has propelled him into the spotlight and earned him a well-deserved spot among the top-ranked pitchers.
  1. Zack Wheeler, Phillies (1) Wheeler may have led our previous rankings, but a slight dip in performance, coupled with the exceptional success of those above him, has resulted in a drop in his ranking. Nonetheless, the durable right-hander remains a formidable presence on the mound and a strong contender for both the Cy Young Award and a World Series title alongside his Phillies teammates.
  2. Tyler Glasnow, Dodgers (3) Glasnow’s dominance stems from his overpowering fastball and elite breaking pitches, which have left hitters struggling to make contact. Leading the league with 81 strikeouts, Glasnow’s repertoire has been virtually unhittable, making him a valuable asset for the Dodgers as they pursue postseason success.
  3. Chris Sale, Braves (Not ranked) Sale’s resurgence in 2024 has been nothing short of remarkable, reminiscent of his dominant form from years past. Enjoying renewed health and vitality, the seven-time All-Star has been virtually untouchable on the mound, posting an impressive 50-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his last six outings.
  4. Seth Lugo, Royals (Not ranked) Lugo’s transition from reliever to starter has been seamless, with the Royals reaping the benefits of his solid performances. With a significantly improved strikeout rate, Lugo has emerged as a reliable option in the rotation, solidifying his place among the top-ranked pitchers in the league.
  1. Paul Skenes, Pirates (Not ranked) Skenes’ MLB debut showcased his immense potential, signaling the arrival of a pitching prospect with the talent to make a significant impact. A dominant outing against the Cubs underscored his capabilities, setting the stage for what promises to be a promising career ahead.
  2. Corbin Burnes, Orioles (7) Despite a recent stretch of tough luck, Burnes remains a force to be reckoned with on the mound. His consistent quality starts and impressive strikeout numbers highlight his effectiveness, making him a key contributor to the Orioles’ success this season.
  3. Tanner Houck, Red Sox (Not ranked) Houck’s ability to induce ground balls with his diverse pitch arsenal has made him a standout performer for the Red Sox. With a minuscule home run rate and opponents slugging just .254 against him, Houck has emerged as a reliable starter and a valuable asset for Boston.

Honorable mentions: Javier Assad (Cubs), Yu Darvish (Padres), Kutter Crawford (Red Sox), Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Dodgers), Jared Jones (Pirates), Reynaldo López (Braves), Dylan Cease (Padres), Luis Gil (Yankees), Luis Castillo (Mariners), George Kirby (Mariners), Zac Gallen (D-backs), Logan Webb (Giants)

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