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MLB Network ranks Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto among 10 best pitchers in baseball

It might or might not be true, but the idea should get you a little more excited about Opening Day.

Division Series - Chicago Cubs v San Francisco Giants- Game Three
I chose this picture because it makes Bumgarner look like a cyborg baseball pirate.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I spend most of my days worrying about Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson. There’s a post coming today or tomorrow on it, and I’ll probably have one next week and the week after that. For the Giants to go with a pair of unknowns in a corner outfield spot, when they’re likely going to need every win they can scrounge up? Dunno, man. Seems risky.

On the other hand, the Giants just might have two of the 10 best pitchers in baseball. That should help make up a lot of the difference.

That assertion comes from MLB Network, who came up with this list:

  1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
  3. Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
  4. Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs
  5. Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs
  6. Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians
  7. Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
  8. Johnny Cueto, San Francisco Giants
  9. Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets
  10. Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks

It is not a list that would meet with a lot of consensus, to be fair. For starters, the last guy on the list had a 4.37 ERA — 56th in baseball among pitchers with 150 innings pitched or more — and a 4.12 FIP last year. But it’s not like it’s a bunch of goofballs voting on this stuff. From the press release:

MLB Network’s Top 10 Right Now! series is hosted by Brian Kenny with contributing analysis from MLB Network on-air personalities, Boston Red Sox senior advisor of baseball operations and renowned sabermetrician Bill James, President of SABR Vince Gennaro and analyst Mike Petriello.

Edit: The ranking didn’t come from those folks, apologies. You can find their personal rankings elsewhere, but it’s worth mentioning that Petriello, noted smart guy, also has Bumgarner and Cueto in his personal top 10.

There are some notable omissions, like Justin Verlander, David Price, Jose Quintana, Stephen Strasburg, Cole Hamels, Jacob deGrom, Yu Darvish, and several others, and making a list like this is always a great way to get fans to grumble. Verlander, specifically, has a great grumble-case.

At the same time, can you argue that Bumgarner and Cueto seem out of place on this list? You cannot. While I might put a couple pitchers between Scherzer and Bumgarner, I’m not as convinced that any of the omissions should replace either of the Giants pitchers, and considering that both of them finished among the top 10 in park-adjusted ERA, it’s not like they’re an invention of AT&T Park. There’s a legitimate argument that the Giants have two of the 10 best starting pitchers in baseball.

This, I submit to you, is a good thing.

It almost makes you forget that when it came to rounding up the nominations for the best left fielder in baseball, the Giants’ only representative was the dude who left.

Will Ty Blach make the list next year? Only time will tell. In the meantime, though, the Giants have two of the best starting pitchers in baseball, and it’s a little too easy to forget that. Any talk of them contending in 2017 should start with a reminder.