The Best MLB Pitchers of the 2000s

Counting down the top MLB pitchers of the decade

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Kendrick, Scott. "The Best MLB Pitchers of the 2000s." ThoughtCo, Mar. 27, 2017, thoughtco.com/top-pitchers-of-the-2000s-320722. Kendrick, Scott. (2017, March 27). The Best MLB Pitchers of the 2000s. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/top-pitchers-of-the-2000s-320722 Kendrick, Scott. "The Best MLB Pitchers of the 2000s." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-pitchers-of-the-2000s-320722 (accessed October 19, 2017).

Who was the best pitcher of the 2000s in baseball? Is it somebody with the most wins? The best ERA? The best in the postseason. This list factors in all of that and more (but does not factor in alleged performance-enhancing drug use.)

To qualify, a player must have played in five seasons. On with the countdown:

New York Mets v Washington Nationals - Johan Santana
Mitchell Layton/Contributor/Getty Images Sport
  • Teams: Minnesota Twins (2000-07), New York Mets (2008-09)
  • 2000s stats: 10 seasons, 122-60, 3.12 ERA, 310 games, 1709.2 IP, 1430 hits, 1733 Ks
  • Major awards: 2004 and 2006 Cy Young, 2007 Gold Glove; AL ERA title (2004, 2006); NL ERA title (2008); Led AL in strikeouts (2004, 2005, 2006)
  • Team accomplishments: 4 playoffs
  • Notable: The decade's best pitcher didn't become a full-time starter until 2003.
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  • Teams: Arizona Diamondbacks (2000-04, 2007-08); New York Yankees (2005-06); San Francisco Giants (2009)
  • 2000s stats: 10 seasons, 143-78, 3.34 ERA, 287 games, 1885.1 IP, 1616 hits, 2182 Ks
  • Major Awards: NL Cy Young (2000, 2001, 2002); 2001 World Series MVP; ERA titles (2001, 2002); led NL in strikeouts (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004).
  • Team accomplishments: 1 championship, 4 playoffs
  • Notable: Ageless wonder had 150 wins in the 1990s and 143 in the 2000s, which began when he was 36.
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03
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  • Teams: Houston Astros (2001-09)
  • 2000s stats: 9 seasons, 137-70, 3.23 ERA, 283 games, 1803.1 IP, 1756 hits, 1473 Ks
  • Major awards: 2005 NLCS MVP; 2006 NL ERA title
  • Team accomplishments: 1 pennant, 2 playoffs
  • Notable: Surprised he's this high on the list? Steady production every season, starting with a 14-3 rookie season in 2001. He's been in top five in Cy Young voting five times.
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  • Teams: Boston Red Sox (2000-04); New York Mets (2005-08); Philadelphia Phillies (2009)
  • 2000s stats: 10 seasons, 112-50, 3.01 ERA, 227 games, 1468 IP, 1171 hits, 1620 Ks
  • Major awards: 2000 Cy Young; Three AL ERA titles (2000, 2002, 2003); led AL in strikeouts (2000, 2002)
  • Team accomplishments: 1 championship, 2 pennants, 3 playoffs
  • Notable: Has an incredible career WHIP of 1.054.
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  • Teams: Toronto Blue Jays (2000-09)
  • 2000s stats: 10 seasons, 139-69, 1883.1 IP, 1400 Ks, 3.40 ERA
  • Major awards: 2003 Cy Young
  • Notable: Best pitcher on this list who has never pitched in the postseason.
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  • Teams: New York Yankees (2000-03, 2007), Houston Astros (2004-06)
  • 2000s stats: 7 seasons, 107-50, 3.34 ERA, 229 games, 1453.2 IP, 1268 hits, 1356 Ks
  • Major awards: AL Cy Young (2001), NL Cy Young (2004), NL ERA title (2005)
  • Team accomplishments: 1 championship, 4 pennants, 6 playoffs
  • Linked to performance-enhancing drugs: Yes
  • Notable: Dominant at an advanced age.
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07
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  • Teams: Cleveland Indians (2001-08), Milwaukee Brewers (2008), New York Yankees (2009)
  • 2000s stats: 9 seasons, 136-81, 3.62 ERA, 288 games, 1889.1 IP, 1738 hits, 1590 Ks
  • Major awards: 2007 Cy Young
  • Team accomplishments: 1 championship, 1 pennant, 3 playoffs
  • Notable: Big lefty was runner-up in Rookie of the Year balloting (behind Ichiro Suzuki) in 2001.
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  • Teams: New York Yankees (2000-09)
  • 2000s stats: 45-39, 397 saves, 714.1 IP, 548 hits, 669 Ks, 2.08 ERA
  • Major awards: Rolaids Relief winner (2001, 2004, 2005), 2003 ALCS MVP
  • Team accomplishments: 2 championships, 4 pennants, 9 playoffs
  • Notable: The decade's most dominant reliever has received MVP votes in more seasons (six) than Cy Young (three).
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09
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  • Teams: San Diego Padres (2002-2009), Chicago White Sox (2009)
  • 2000s stats: 8 seasons, 95-68, 3.26 ERA, 215 games, 1362.2 IP, 1169 hits, 1366 Ks
  • Major awards: 2007 Cy Young; NL ERA titles (2004, 2007); Led NL in strikeouts (2005, 2007)
  • Team accomplishments: 2 playoffs
  • Notable: Might have been higher on the list without injuries - he won 19 games in last two seasons.
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10
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  • Teams: Oakland Athletics (2000-04), Atlanta Braves (2005-09)
  • 2000s stats: 137-76, 3.50 ERA, 290 games, 1924.1 IP, 1837 hits, 1270 Ks
  • Major awards: None
  • Team accomplishments: 5 playoffs
  • Notable: Finished in double digits in wins in nine consecutive seasons.
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  • Teams: Philadelphia Phillies (2000), Arizona Diamondbacks (2000-03), Boston Red Sox (2004-07)
  • 2000s stats: 117-63, 3.54 ERA, 243 games, 1569.3 IP, 1515 hits, 1545 Ks
  • Major awards: 2001 Roberto Clemente Award, 2001 World Series MVP
  • Team accomplishments: 3 championships, 3 pennants, 4 playoffs
  • Notable: Finished second in Cy Young voting three times in a decade (2001. 2002, 2004) and won 20 games in all three of those seasons.
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  • Teams: Arizona Diamondbacks (2003-09)
  • 2000s stats: 7 seasons, 87-62, 3.27 ERA, 199 games, 1319.2 IP, 1200 hits, 1065 Ks
  • Major awards: 2006 Cy Young
  • Team accomplishments: 1 playoffs
  • Notable: Was 25 games over .500 despite a 7-16 season in 2004.
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  • Teams: New York Yankees (2000-03, 2007-09)
  • 2000s stats: 148-89, 3.90 ERA, 303 games, 1882 IP, 1975 hits, 1441 Ks
  • Major awards: 2001 ALCS MVP
  • Team accomplishments: 2 championships, 4 pennants, 7 playoffs
  • Linked to performance-enhancing drugs: Yes
  • Notable: All-time leader in postseason wins has never had a losing season in 15 years.
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14
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  • Teams: Atlanta Braves (2001-2008), Boston Red Sox (2009), St. Louis Cardinals (2009)
  • 2000s stats: 9 seasons, 56-41, 154 saves, 3.28 ERA, 367 games, 1058 IP, 982 hits, 986 Ks
  • Major awards: 2002 Rolaids Relief, 2005 Roberto Clemente Award, Led NL in saves(2002)
  • Team accomplishments: 6 playoffs
  • Notable: After missing 2000 season, Smoltz became a closer for four seasons before going back to being a solid starter.
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  • Teams: Florida Marlins (2001-2005), Boston Red Sox (2006-09)
  • 2000s stats: 9 seasons, 106-68, 3.79 ERA, 228 games, 1401 IP, 1280 hits, 1330 Ks
  • Major awards: 2003 World Series MVP, 2007 ALCS MVP
  • Team accomplishments: 2 championships, 2 pennants, 4 playoffs
  • Notable: Runner-up for 2007 Cy Young had seven postseason wins in the decade.
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  • Teams: Chicago White Sox (2000-09)
  • 2000s stats: 10 seasons, 135-97, 3.80 ERA, 326 games, 2061 IP, 2143 hits, 1188 Ks
  • Team accomplishments: 1 championship, 1 pennant, 3 playoffs
  • Linked to performance-enhancing drugs:
  • Notable: Started 30 or more games, double digits in wins in each of the past nine seasons.
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  • Teams: Toronto Blue Jays (2000-02), St. Louis Cardinals (2004-09)
  • 2000s stats: 9 seasons, 93-52, 3.68 ERA, 207 games, 1323.2 IP, 1270 hits, 1018 Ks
  • Major awards: 2005 NL Cy Young
  • Team accomplishments: 1 championship, 1 pennant, 3 playoffs
  • Notable: Missed all of 2003 and most of 2002, 2007 and 2008 and still won 93 games.
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  • Teams: Chicago Cubs (2001-09)
  • 2000s stats: 9 seasons, 105-68, 3.51 ERA, 259 games, 1551.1 IP, 1313 hits, 1324 Ks
  • Major awards: 2006 and 2008 Silver Slugger
  • Team accomplishments: 3 playoffs
  • Notable: Solid statistics for an entire decade, and he's just 28 entering 2010.
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  • Teams: Baltimore Orioles (2000), New York Yankees (2001-08)
  • 2000s stats: 134-87, 3.87 ERA, 283 games, 1790.2 IP, 1801 hits, 1388 Ks
  • Major awards: Gold Glove (2001, 2003, 2008)
  • Team accomplishments: 3 pennants, 7 playoffs
  • Notable: Had 136 wins in the 1990s and 134 in 2000s; finished career with a 20-win season in 2008.
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20
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  • Teams: Boston Red Sox (2000-04), Los Angeles Dodgers (2005-08), Atlanta Braves (2009)
  • 2000s stats: 130-99, 3.81 ERA, 66 saves, 410 games, 1833.2 IP, 1863 hits, 1177 Ks
  • Team accomplishments: 1 championship, 1 pennant, 4 playoffs
  • Notable: Was a closer in first two seasons of the decade and won 21 games in the first season as a starter.
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21
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  • Teams: Oakland Athletics (2000-06), San Francisco Giants (2007-09)
  • 2000s stats: 133-106, 3.84 ERA, 321 games, 1999 IP, 1775 hits, 1501 Ks
  • Major awards: 2002 AL Cy Young
  • Team accomplishments: 5 playoffs
  • Notable: Despite struggles at end of decade, he started 32 games or more in every full season and won 10 or more games every year.
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22
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  • Teams: Cleveland Indians (2002-09), Philadelphia Phillies (2009)
  • 2000s stats: 8 seasons, 90-52, 1196.2 IP, 1224 H, 900 Ks, 3.97 ERA
  • Major awards: 2008 AL Cy Young; 2008 AL ERA title
  • Team accomplishments: 1 pennant, 2 playoffs (but didn't pitch for Indians in 2007 playoffs)
  • Notable: Went 22-3 with 2.54 ERA in 2008 and 18-5 in 2005.
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  • Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates (2000-01), San Francisco Giants (2001-06), Los Angeles Dodgers (2007, 2009)
  • 2000s stats: 9 seasons, 89-53, 3.63 ERA, 197 games, 1260.1 IP, 1071 hits, 1223 Ks
  • Major awards: NL ERA title in 2003
  • Team accomplishments: 1 pennant, 2 playoffs
  • Notable: Sneaky good stats in decade aided by great seasons in 2003 (17-5, 2.34) and 2004 (18-7, 3.20).
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24
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  • Teams: Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels (2002-09)
  • 2000s stats: 8 seasons, 102-71, 3.81 ERA, 234 games, 1501 IP, 1519 hits, 1201 Ks
  • Major awards: AL ERA title in 2007
  • Team accomplishments: 1 championship, 1 pennant, 5 playoffs
  • Notable: Emerged as Angels' ace in the latter half of the decade.
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  • Teams: San Diego Padres (2000-08), Milwaukee Brewers (2009)
  • 2000s stats: 23-40, 2.77 ERA, 546 games, 363 saves, 533 IP, 432 hits, 523 Ks
  • Major awards: 2006 Rolaids Relief, Led NL in saves (2006).
  • Team accomplishments: 2 playoffs
  • Notable: All-time saves leader had at least 30 saves in every season but one (2003, injured).

NEXT FIVE: Francisco Rodriguez, Bartolo Colon, Jamie Moyer, Dan Haren, Mark Mulder

Honorable mention: Javier Vazquez, Ben Sheets, Freddy Garcia, David Wells, Justin Verlander, Brad Penny, Matt Morris, Jon Lieber, Kenny Rogers More »

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Kendrick, Scott. "The Best MLB Pitchers of the 2000s." ThoughtCo, Mar. 27, 2017, thoughtco.com/top-pitchers-of-the-2000s-320722. Kendrick, Scott. (2017, March 27). The Best MLB Pitchers of the 2000s. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/top-pitchers-of-the-2000s-320722 Kendrick, Scott. "The Best MLB Pitchers of the 2000s." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-pitchers-of-the-2000s-320722 (accessed October 19, 2017).