September 22, 2021

The 2020 guide to MLB’s top 20 free-agent starting pitchers (The Athletic)

Following a regular season in which starting pitching across the majors was deemphasized to extreme levels, October turned into a throwback showcase for front-line starters and the World Series was a nightly matchup of aces like we’ve rarely seen before. And now comes one of the strongest collections of free-agent starters ever, headlined by a pair of Cy Young-caliber aces, a third potential ace-in-waiting, one of the greatest postseason pitchers of all time, and the reigning ERA champions for both leagues.

Below is my ranked guide to the biggest names, the best and worst bets, and the diamonds in the rough from a star-studded, deep class of free-agent starters. (Note: All ages are as of June 30, 2020.)

1. Gerrit Cole

Last team: Astros

Age: 29

Houston’s player development machine turned Cole into a monster following his good but rarely great five-year run in Pittsburgh. He never whiffed more than 9.0 batters per nine innings for the…

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