• HaroldHecuba: Mike Mussina is EASTERN EUROPEAN, not Italian....

At any given time there are no more than a handful of pitchers in baseball that you can call true aces. Pitchers who are not only good enough to be the number one starter on your team, but are so good you wouldn’t hesitate to throw them in any game, against any opponent and feel pretty confident you’d come out on top. Freakishly good and consistent pitchers who, barring sudden injury, you can pretty much carve in stone that they will win north of 16 games and post an ERA south of 3.75.

These are what I call “unquestioned aces,” and I’ve made it something of an annual tradition each year to compile a list of who makes the grade. To make this list, a pitcher has to have put up near-Cy Young quality numbers for at least two years in a row and has to free of even the slightest rumor of injury. Like I said, “unquestioned.”

This year, eight pitchers made the cut:

Zack Greinke – So dominant from wire to wire last season that he just couldn’t be kept off this list, but had a pretty outstanding 2008 as well.

Roy Halladay – Mr. Automatic, the most consistent ace in baseball, and the current longest streak on this list, at four seasons.

Dan Haren – Has quietly posted 5 brilliant seasons in a row.

Felix Hernandez – Still only 23 years old, the scary part is he may still have upside.

Tim Lincecum - Coming off his second straight NL Cy Young.

CC Sabathia – Went under the bright lights of New York and didn’t miss a beat, posting 19 wins and a 3.37 ERA.

Justin Verlander – Last time I checked he still throws 99 mph. But he keeps getting smarter every year.

Adam Wainwright - Proved the doubters (including yours truly) wrong with a Cy-calibre season in 2009, his peripherals keep improving every year.

So what do you think? Did I leave anyone out? Did I include someone undeserving?

Aces from previous years after the jump…

2009
Roy Halladay
Tim Lincecum
Roy Oswalt
CC Sabathia
Johan Santana
Brandon Webb

2008
Roy Halladay
Roy Oswalt
Jake Peavy
Johan Santana
Brandon Webb
Carlos Zambrano

2007
Chris Carpenter
Roy Halladay
Roy Oswalt
Johan Santana
John Smoltz
Brandon Webb
Carlos Zambrano

2006
Mark Buehrle
John Smoltz
Roy Oswalt
Johan Santana

2005
Roger Clemens
Tim Hudson
Randy Johnson
Roy Oswalt
Johan Santana

2004
Roy Halladay
Tim Hudson
Mike Mussina
Barry Zito

2003
Tom Glavine
Tim Hudson
Randy Johnson
Greg Maddux
Pedro Martinez
Wade Miller
Matt Morris
Mark Mulder
Mike Mussina
Roy Oswalt
Curt Schilling
Barry Zito

2002
Tom Glavine
Tim Hudson
Randy Johnson
Greg Maddux
Mike Mussina
Curt Schilling
Barry Zito

2001
Kevin Brown
Tom Glavine
Tim Hudson
Randy Johnson
Greg Maddux
Pedro Martinez
Mike Mussina

2000
Kevin Brown
Randy Johnson
Greg Maddux
Pedro Martinez
Kevin Millwood
Mike Mussina

1999
Kevin Brown
Roger Clemens
Tom Glavine
Randy Johnson
Greg Maddux
Pedro Martinez
Mike Mussina
Curt Schilling
John Smoltz

3 Responses to “Nick’s Unquestioned Aces, 2010 Edition”

  1. skoorbo says:

    Cliff Lee is injured if you weren’t aware.

  2. You state that the pitcher must put up near-Cy Young type numbers for two years in a row to meet your standards; Adam Wainwright has not done that. His numbers pre-2010 aren’t bad, but they do not qualify as near-Cy Young. Justin Verlander might be a bit the same way, as his 2008 was awful (4.84 ERA and led the majors in losses), but his 2006-2007 were really good, so we’ll let that one slide.

  3. Lyndsay says:

    I’m still waiting, one of these days,for Sabathia’s arms to come flying off and blood to spray everywhere like that old Phil Hartman sketch. I mean, Girardi had him into a triple digit pitch count on opening night – opening night!! who does that? that’s gotta come back and bite them in the ass at some point, right?

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