Simon: Who are the movers and shakers among starting pitchers?

From SABR member Mark Simon at ACTA Sports on June 8, 2018:

From May 2013 through the end of the 2016 season, Clayton Kershaw almost always reigned supreme in The Bill James World’s Best Starting Pitcher Rankings, a measure based on the Game Score metric and a pitcher’s sustained excellence over a lengthy body of work.

But Kershaw’s recent injury history has caused him to drop in the rankings to No. 5 now, with the possibility that he slips even further if he remains on the sidelines.

The race for the No. 1 spot has become a tight battle between former teammates Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, who currently occupy the top two positions. Scherzer has been outstanding the last six seasons, but he may never have been better than in the first 13 starts of 2018, in which he’s averaged 13.7 strikeouts per 9 and allowed six home runs in 87 2/3 innings pitched.

Verlander has a 1.24 ERA in 87 1/3 innings pitched this season, following up on a five-start run with the Astros in which he posted a 1.06 ERA en route to winning the World Series last season.

Verlander and Scherzer have been so good that they’ve dropped Indians ace Corey Kluber, who ended the 2017 season ranked No. 1, to No. 3 in the rankings, even though Kluber has a 1.96 ERA and is averaging seven innings per start this season.

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Originally published: June 8, 2018. Last Updated: June 8, 2018.