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John Dewan's Stat of the Week


Is Max Scherzer the World’s Best Pitcher?

June 29, 2015

In the 2015 Bill James Handbook, Bill James introduced his new formula to determine the World’s Best Pitcher at any given time. The system is based on Game Scores and weighs positive and negative recent performances more heavily than older performances. As of the publication of the Handbook, Clayton Kershaw was the No. 1 pitcher in baseball by a substantial margin, and even in the Stat of the Week update from November that reflected Madison Bumgarner’s dominant playoff performance, Kershaw was still well clear of the field.

So far in 2015, Kershaw has been a little less dominant than his usual self. That combined with some excellent pitching performances from some of his peers, one in particular, has radically closed the gap:

World's #1 Starting Pitcher as of 6/29/2015
Rank Started Season Pitcher Current Score
1 1 Clayton Kershaw 585.9
2 4 Max Scherzer 584.6
3 6 Chris Sale 557.7
4 2 Madison Bumgarner 553.8
5 10 Zack Greinke 553.1


Specifically, Max Scherzer has flown up the rankings this year thanks to his 1.79 ERA and his league-leading 9.3 strikeouts per walk. Following his no-hitter, Scherzer has pulled close to even with Kershaw. Kershaw is still No. 1, but that title is at jeopardy for the first time since June 1, 2014, when Scherzer briefly held the title. Kershaw has been so dominant for so long, that the last starter other than Scherzer to have the title over him is Justin Verlander back in early 2013! A change could happen as soon as Thursday when Scherzer and the Nationals take on the Braves.

The rankings are updated daily over at Bill James Online.

Search Archived Stats of the Week

Published Date:

 TitlePublished Date
Edit Is Max Scherzer the World’s Best Pitcher? Jun 29 2015
Edit AL Central – Defense-Independent Standings Jun 17 2015
Edit Who Will Throw the Next No-Hitter? Jun 11 2015
Edit 2015 Booms and Busts May 29 2015
Edit Are the Padres’ Outfielders Hitting Enough? May 20 2015
Edit Who are the Best and Worst Defensive Teams So Far? May 14 2015
Edit Who's Hot and Who's Not...according to Bill James Apr 30 2015
Edit Shifts Continue to Rise Apr 23 2015
Edit Home Runs and Home Run Robberies Apr 15 2015
Edit What is the Upper Limit of Shifts? Mar 30 2015
Edit A Strike on Every Pitch? Mar 20 2015
Edit Could Jonathan Lucroy Be As Good As Yadier Molina? Mar 06 2015
Edit Who Will Be The 2015 Statistical Leaders? Feb 26 2015
Edit Shift or Get Off the Pot Feb 13 2015
Edit The Best Projected Defensive Infield and Outfield Feb 06 2015
Edit Let's Eliminate The Shift Jan 30 2015
Edit The Most Pitcher & Hitter Friendly Umpires Jan 16 2015
Edit The Best Baserunning Team in MLB Jan 09 2015
Edit Are Defensive Runs Saved Predictive? Dec 31 2014
Edit The Downside of the Recent Padres Acquisitions Dec 19 2014
Edit The Flat Bat Award 2014 Dec 04 2014
Edit Mark Buehrle – One of the Most Durable Pitchers of All Time Nov 25 2014
Edit Is Madison Bumgarner the World's #1 Starting Pitcher? Nov 14 2014
Edit Giants Defensive Positioning a Big Assist in Game 7 Victory Nov 05 2014
Edit The 2014 Fielding Bible Awards Oct 30 2014
Edit Who Gives a Shift? Oct 23 2014
Edit Who are the 2014 Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part II) Oct 06 2014
Edit Who are the 2014 Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part I) Oct 01 2014
Edit Pitchers with the Best and Worst Run Support Sep 18 2014
Edit Which teams have come on in the second half? Sep 09 2014
Edit Instant Replay Sep 02 2014
Edit Top Defensive Players for 2014 Aug 20 2014
Edit Who Are The 2014 MVP Candidates? Aug 08 2014
Edit How Do Shifts Affect League-Wide Batting Averages? Jul 25 2014
Edit The Best and Worst Baserunners in 2014 Jul 18 2014
Edit The White Sox Blow Another Lead Jul 10 2014
Edit Shifts Against Right-Handed Hitters Jun 26 2014
Edit Cannon Arms in 2014 Jun 10 2014
Edit The Most Improved Defensive Teams Jun 06 2014
Edit How Many More No-Hitters This Year? May 29 2014
Edit Rookie of the Year – Tanaka or Abreu? May 16 2014
Edit Can the National League Reverse a 10-Year Trend? May 09 2014
Edit Who Are the Best and Worst Defensive Teams So Far? Apr 25 2014
Edit Shifts Still on the Rise Apr 18 2014
Edit Can the First 10 Games Predict Playoff Chances? Apr 11 2014
Edit Who Will Be The 2014 Statistical Leaders? Mar 31 2014
Edit Can Spring Training Statistics Predict Breakout Power Seasons? Mar 25 2014
Edit Who Will Be The Best Defenders In 2014? Mar 11 2014
Edit Sochi Olympics - Dominant Countries Feb 25 2014
Edit United States on Track for Most Olympic Medals Feb 17 2014
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