Best pitcher to start one game

Scouts, execs pick arms to start must-win game now and in three years

Updated: June 14, 2012, 12:39 PM ET
By Kevin Goldstein | Baseball Prospectus
VerlanderJoe Nicholson/US PresswireJustin Verlander has the stuff to no-hit any team at any time, making him a popular choice.

On the surface, the question seems like an easy one: If your team was playing in a championship game tomorrow, and you could have any starting pitcher, who would it be? Your choice is of any ace in the game, but for some it's not just about statistics, it's about comfort and mitigating risk.

The question was posed to 12 industry insiders, ranging from pro scout to general manager, and those 12 generated five different responses. (We also asked them who they think their choice will be in 2015, and those answers are below.)

1. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers (seven votes)

Verlander was the runaway winner, but some might be surprised to see him get just more than half the votes. "He just walks to the mound like he owns it," said an American League scouting official. "You're talking about 95-100 mph to both sides of the plate, a hellacious curveball and a plus change."

A National League scout agreed, while focusing on the thought of just one game. "He's capable of no-hitting anyone at any time, in any place," said the talent evaluator. "Every time you see him you wonder if you're going to see something special."


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