Ranking the top strikeout artists among Major League starting pitchers, including the ace of the Boston Red Sox starting rotation.
The Boston Red Sox have been one of the best teams in baseball at striking out opposing hitters, as they rank third in the American League in strikeouts.
Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel lead in both statistical categories of total strikeouts and K/9 rate for their respected positions. Sale is on pace to challenge the franchise record for strikeouts in a season, while leading the majors with 216 strikeouts and a 12.68 K/9. Kimbrel has been even more dominant, posting a major league best 16.43 K/9.
While our Red Sox have shown that they are capable of striking out as many hitters as possible, I wanted to see how our best strikeout pitcher ranked against the other pitchers in this league. For the purposes of this exercise we’ll be looking at starting pitchers.
Working in shorter stints allows relievers to unleash the full force of their velocity in a way starters would never be able to sustain in their expanded workload. It’s no wonder that the top-10 K/9 rates in the majors (minimum 40 innings) belong to relievers. Relievers could also never hope to reach the strikeout totals of these elite starters, which will be the focus of these rankings.