Though he didn’t look like it last night, CC Sabathia is an ace. He’s a stud and a true #1 starter. There are very few of them in this world and, like pornography, you know one when you see one.

The idea of an “ace” is constantly kicked around by all fans: the most “casual” types wondering if their team’s Opening Day starter qualifies as a legitimate ace or the prospect types projecting and/or wishcasting on a low-A fireballer.

Who are the real aces in baseball right now? Recently Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus tweeted that you can name all the aces in baseball right now on two hands. Is it true? Below, a list of one man’s humble opinions in no particular order.

Jered Weaver

David Price

Felix Hernandez

Cliff Lee

Roy Halladay

Stephen Strasburg

CC Sabathia

Justin Verlander

Clayton Kershaw

Zack Greinke

The thing with aces: you could probably argue a few of these guys off the list but would have tough time arguing any of the below hurlers on to the list. Click this link for a custom Fangraphs leaderboard featuring all their recent exploits.

A few of the guys on the below list might end up with their photo on Getting Blanked one day. A few of these guys used to be the list but health or Lincecumonia knocked them down a peg. Still good, not quite “great” in my arbitrary, not rigorously researched way. (If I could have made this a slideshow, I would have.)

The Not Quite Theres

Yovani Gallardo Cole Hamels Matt Cain
Yu Darvish Josh Johnson Big Carp
R.A. Dickey Chris Sale Tim Lincecum
Adam Wainwright James Shields Jon Lester

Comments (25)

  1. Won’t let me submit a comment that only says “Roy the best” which is a shame because Roy will always be the best.

  2. halladay is on the verge of falling off…but i don’t know that grienke is better in results/talent than say: waino or cain. darvish looked so good when i saw him early in the year in toronto (against a team that was hitting well at the time) and then the number for him from mid-august onward are pretty stellar as well.

  3. Where’s Romero?

  4. I would also like to submit Max Scherzer to the almost there list as well

  5. Roy’s the best!

  6. List is complete.

  7. No Matt Cain love?

  8. greg maddux ou roy hallawday

  9. I would try to argue Brandon Morrow onto the not-quite-there list, and I would try to argue James Shields is an ace after his last two years, but other than that these two lists seem right to me

  10. Cain and Hamels should be on the list.

    Jon Lester shouldn’t be within 100000 feet of “The Not Quite Theres”

  11. Wen the FCK did this become bleacher report?

  12. No Cole Hamels?

  13. greinke – all the numbers add up but not a consistent, year over year ace. this is what they’ve done, not what they should have done. maybe you could explore the difference in his home and road performances. also – innings pitched, CGs – where does he rank there?

    • Since 2008, Greinke ranks fifth in fWAR, 14th in innings, sixth in FIP, fourth in SIERA, ninth in K%, fifth in total strikeouts, sixth in K/BB, and 8th in WPA. He has the largest gulf between his ERA and FIP (ERA being higher) than any pitcher with 1000 innings over that span. He ranks 10th in complete games, tied with Cole Hamels. He’s legit.

      His home road splits are a little strange since he moved from a pitcher’s park to an extreme hitters park in Milwaukee. If you want Hamels on and Grienke off, I’ll listen. But not many others.

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