Is Michael Wacha An Elite Starting Pitcher?

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

To put it simply, Michael Wacha is awesome. The only question here is, just how awesome is he?

Check out the table below that shows where Wacha ranks among MLB starting pitchers in a handful of stats.

[table id=798 /]

Wacha’s numbers across the board are elite and when you compare him to other starting pitchers it becomes clear pretty quickly that this guy belongs in a pretty illustrious group. So far this season, Wacha is one of only four pitchers to be in the top-15 in FIP, WHIP and K/9. The other pitchers? Oh just some guys named Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka.

Last season, seven guys finished the season in the top-15 in FIP, WHIP and K/9: Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez, Max Scherzer, Cliff Lee, Madison Bumgarner and Stephen Strasburg. All seven of those guys finished the season in the top 18 (among starting pitchers) on ESPN’s player rater and five of them finished in the top nine.

If I were ranking pitchers, Wacha would without a doubt be in my top-20 and he’d likely crack my top-15. He’s a bonafide stud, the type of pitcher you make sure is in your lineup no matter who the opponent is (even against the Rockies in Coors) and as of now I’d take the second-year Cardinal over fringe top-20 pitchers like Justin Verlander, James Shields, Jeff Samardzija, Mike Minor and Cole Hamels.

Michael Wacha is pretty freaking awesome.