The Tampa Bay Rays' Tyler Glasnow was on the Baseball Tonight podcast recently and reported enthusiastically that when the shortened season begins -- when summer camp, which kicked off this past weekend, begins -- he'll be ready to go, full speed. An evaluator with another team listened to that and thought to himself: No, Tyler.
Because, the evaluator explained, there's a difference between going all-out firing the ball into a backyard net and going all-out in a game, against big league hitters, with the adrenaline ramped up to game speed. Pitching coaches and managers can now begin to assess the preparedness of their starting pitchers, which might be the most significant X factor in a 2020 season, if MLB can pull it off.
The conventional wisdom is that all teams will be heavily reliant on relief pitching, and the sooner that starters like Gerrit Cole and Jacob deGrom can shoulder a full load and absorb a greater share of innings, the better for their teams. In a typical season, some starting pitchers say they don't really build full arm strength until June -- but in this season amid the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no theoretical June, only the equivalent of an April and a May.
With all that in mind, here's our list of the top 10 starting pitchers in the majors going into this season.