2020 MLB Pitcher Projections

July 24, 2020
Last week we looked at the kind of numbers that MLB's top hitters are projected to put up in 2020. This week, we’ll look at what SIS projections show for top pitchers.
 

This comes with a caveat that pitcher usage at the start of this season figures to be hard to predict. But this still feels like a worthwhile endeavor because its focus is on the best performers.

Fourteen pitchers were projected to pitch 200 innings in a full 2020, headed by Gerrit Cole. Now, in a shortened season, Cole is projected for 77, as are Shane BieberJustin VerlanderStephen Strasburg, and Jack Flaherty.

Cole had also been projected as the major league leader in strikeouts with 284. Now, with a projection of 105, he’s the only pitcher projected with more than 100. Max Scherzer and Verlander, each projected for upwards of 250 strikeouts in a full season, rank behind Cole with projected totals of 99 and 95 in a 60-game campaign, respectively.

Wins are going to be a tricky thing to assess because teams may go to non-traditional pitching strategies upon their return to play. Verlander was projected as the top winner with 17 victories in a full season, with Scherzer, Cole, and Strasburg right behind him (Scherzer had 16, the others had 15). Prorating their numbers to a 60-game season results in their sharing the league lead with 6 wins.

MLB’s projected saves leaders for 2020 are Kirby Yates and Aroldis Chapman. Each was projected for 44 saves in a traditional full season, a total that drops to 16 in this shortened season. Taylor Rogers ranks third with a projection of 14 saves.

ERA, WHIP, and strikeout-to-walk ratio projections are unchanged from our initial numbers. Scherzer’s 3.08 ERA is the lowest projected among qualifiers for the ERA title. The lowest rate of baserunners per 9 innings among that same group of pitchers is Verlander (8.8). Scherzer and Chris Paddack are next-lowest (9.4). Bieber has the best projected strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.4-to-1).

 

Below is the list of projected MLB pitching leaders by stat:

2020 Projected MLB Leaders

Stat Name Projection
Wins Verlander, Scherzer, Strasburg, Cole 6
ERA Max Scherzer 3.08
Baserunners per 9 Justin Verlander 8.8
K:BB Ratio Shane Bieber 6.4-to-1
Strikeouts Gerrit Cole 105
Saves Yates/Chapman 16
Innings Pitched 5 pitchers tied* 77

* Cole, Bieber, Verlander, Strasburg, Flaherty

 
 

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