1. Dallas Keuchel (Houston Astros) struck out 12 Yankees on June 25th in a complete game shut out of the team. The Astros haven’t been worth paying attention to at the big league level for a couple of years now. Keuchel is just one reason why the Astros are now worth your time and why staying up late to watch the AL West is worth the loss of sleep. Keuchel was named to the 2015 All-Star game so he isn’t really under the radar anymore but you can impress your friends by telling them that he strikes out 7.5 batters per 9 faced and his WHIP is an astounding 1.005. Right now he is second in pitcher WAR behind Zack Greinke.
You can follow Dallas Keuchel on twitter @kidkeuchy.
2. Jacob deGrom (New York Mets) (pictured above) has drawn more than one Tim Lincecum comparison due to his hairstyle but his pitching reminds me more of Roy Halladay. The Mets have been decimated by injuries to their pitching staff, including a UCL tear for Zack Wheeler. deGrom has done more than his part to help the Mets. He is, according to baseball-reference 10th in pitcher WAR, 4th in WHIP, and 5th in ERA. His company atop those leader boards is pretty impressive for a sophomore pitcher. He was last year’s Rookie of the Year and an All-Star selection this year. My advice is to jump on the bandwagon now before it gets too crowded.
You can follow Jacob deGrom on twitter @JdeGrom19.
3. Noah Syndergaard (New York Mets) is a rookie pitcher having, if I may make a dated reference, the time of his life. He has a 3.11 ERA a 1.11 WHIP and a K/9 of 9.72. However, He’s only pitched 11 games in his major league career. There are no guarantees for this season or the next one. It could be all small sample size variation. But as the Mets fight for a Wild Card berth, he could be a key part of that push.
You can follow Noah Syndergaard on twitter @Noahsyndergaard.
4. José Fernández (Miami Marlins) is not exactly low profile. Fernández has already made his mark on the league. But a UCL tear and Tommy John surgery means that he hasn’t pitched in over a year. Success in returning from Tommy John surgery is not a guarantee for pitchers. 1 in 5 pitchers never return from the surgery at all and many who do return have diminished fastball speeds and control issues. Fernández struck out 9 batters in his second start back from the surgery. It isn’t enough to hang your hat on but it is a good sign for Fernández’ many fans.
You can follow José Fernández on twitter @JDFernandez16.
5. Clayton Kershaw is absolutely dominant right now. His K/9 is 11.707. His WHIP is currently 1.024. He’s the reigning NL MVP so knowledge of Kershaw isn’t exactly inside baseball but, aside from a few starts, that have his ERA at 2.85, his highest since his rookie season. He has been absolutely incredible. When that big curveball is working, Kershaw is on another plane of baseball existence from the rest of his league. It is worth the cost of an mlb.tv subscription just to listen to Vin Scully call Kershaw games. While you have that subscription, check out Zack Greinke who is leading the league in pitcher WAR through the first half of the season.
You can follow Clayton Kershaw on twitter @ClaytonKersh22.
Image (c)Arturo Pardavila III under creative commons 2.0 via flickr