Best Pitchers in Baseball (All-Time & 2024)

Pitchers are a key part to any baseball team. In this post we explore some of the best pitchers in baseball from all-time, by position, by year and so on. You can consider this your ultimate guide to the best pitchers in baseball — period.

Let’s start by looking at the best closing pitchers of all-time in the MLB.

Best Closers in the MLB of All Time

Closers are the best at what they do when no one notices that you did your job. Closers have one of the toughest and most stressful jobs in sports. This article will examine the top 5 greatest closers of all time.

5. Billy Wagner

Billy Wagner totaled 422 career saves, which ranks sixth all time in MLB history. Wagner also was selected to seven all star games and twice finished in the top 10 in Cy Young voting.

Wagner has a career WHIP under 1.000, and he is only 100 innings pitched away from qualifying for the all time ranking, where he would rank second lowest career WHIP of all time.

4. Rich Gossage

Rich Gossage totaled 310 saves in his career and led the league three separate times during his career. Gossage was also a nine time all star and was top top in Cy Young voting five times.

Gossage also helped the New York Yankees win the World Series in 1978 and was selected to Cooperstown in 2008 with 85.8 percent of the vote.

3. Trevor Hoffman

Trevor Hoffman totaled 601 career saves, which is second all time only behind Mariano Rivera. Hoffman was a seven time all star and led the league in saves once during his career.

Trevor Hoffman has a career WHIP of 1.058 which ranks 10th all time amongst qualifying pitchers. Hoffman also finished second in Cy Young voting twice during his career.

2. Dennis Eckersley

Dennis Eckersley ranks 9th all time in career saves with 390, and was a six time all star. Eckersley also won the Cy Young and the MVP in 1992, which he also led the league in saves that season for the second time during his career.

Five other times Dennis Eckersley was top five in Cy Young voting, and two other times finished top five in MVP voting. Eckersley also helped the Oakland A’s win the 1989 World Series and was the 1989 ALCS MVP on the way to the World Series.

1. Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera has the most career saves of all time with 652 career saves. Rivera led the league in saves three different times, and was selected as an all star 13 times during his career.

Rivera was known for his devastating cutter that was responsible for breaking countless bats during his career. Rivera dominated the league for around 15 years with one main out pitch, which speaks to how good that one pitch was.

Rivera is also the all time leader in ERA+ with 205, and helped the New York Yankees win five World Series during his career. Without a doubt, Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer to ever play in the MLB.

Top 5 Pitchers in College Baseball for 2024

This list is, of course debatable and everyone looks for something different to focus on. KnupSports tried to use the whole spectrum of work from last season.

  1. Josh Hartle from Wake Forest -His record was 11-2 with a 2.81 ERA in 18 appearances and 17 games started in 102.1 innings pitched. The batting average against was .237. At 6’5. 200 lbs. this lefthander has four different pitches, starting with a fastball that averages 90 mph and tops out at 94 but misses plenty of bats because of his angle, sinking and boring action and command. His plus low-80s slider with two-plane depth is his best secondary pitch, though his upper-80s cutter isn’t far behind and his mid-80s change-up also has its moments.
  2. Hagen Smith from the Arkansas Razorbacks was 9-2 last season with a 3.64 ERA in 11 starts and 71.2 innings pitched. This left-hander is capable of hitting triple digits with his fastball and has work short relief. middle relief and long relief. His coach says he is best suited to be a starter. He is like a 5-15 draft pick.
  3. Trey Yesavage at 6’4″ and 225 lbs from East Carolina, this righthander has a big body and good control of his lower half. is fastball is sitting in the mid-90s and getting up to 98 MPH with exceptional carry, though he was more in the low-90s as the year went on. His command has improved drastically, as well. All of Yesavage’s secondaries garner plenty of whiffs, led by a mid-to-upper-80s cutter/slider hybrid with late bite and tilt. His low-80s curveball has plenty of depth and boasts plenty of success.
  4. Brody Brecht- righthander from Iowa is 6’4″ and 225 lbs. He is a beast on the mound that can hit 104 mph with his fastball. He usually is 97-99 mph with explosive action. The slider is his best pitchat 87-91 mph with tons of motion both vertically and horizontally. His splitter is used rarely but a decent pitch. His upside is large. Could go in Top Ten of draft depending team needs. Looks like a good candidate for the St. Louis Cardinals and their love of fireballers.
  5. Chase Burns also a starter at Wake Forest. He pitched last season for the Tennessee Volunteers before entering the transfer portal. In 2023, he was 5-3 with a 4.25 ERA in 19 appearances and 2 saves. He has a 96 MPH fastball that can reach 102 on occasion. The fastball comes in straight which allowws the batters to get a good look at it. His slider is a great pitch in the upper 80’s and successful with A 61% swing and miss rate. First round pick in draft. Make be converted to relief.

Next three: Matt Ager (UC Santa Barbara), Drew Beam (Tennessee). Michael Massey (Wake Forest)

Top 5 Relief Pitchers in College Baseball 2024

  1. Fran Oschell a right-handed junior reliever at 6’7″ 230 lbs from Duke. In 22 appearances in 2023 he had a 0.69 ERA. He pitched 39.1 innings and fanned 66 while only walking 18 batters. Opponents batted .133 against him. Finished the season on a 14 innings scoreless streak.
  2. Tyson Neighbors is 6’2″ 220lbs from Kansas State. He could easily had been listed as #2 on this list. He led the Big 12 Conference with 11 saves while posting a 1.85 ERA with 86 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings last spring. Opponents hit .134 against him.
  3. Brandon Neely from Florida is 6’3″ and 220 lbs. He is a senior and a right handed pitcher . In 2023 he had 51.2 IP, 3.66 ERA, 19:68 BB:K ratio, 13 saves. Opponents hit .218 against him.
  4. Hudson Barrett from UC Santa Barbara is a sophomore pitcher from the left side. He is 6’5″ and 225 lbs. He wad 5-1 i\with a 1.92 ERA in 61 inning pitched.He fanned 82 and walked 32 batters. Opponents manage to hit .195 against him.
  5. Danny Beal out of East Carolina is 6’2″ and 205lbs. This right-hander went 6-2 last year with a 2.70 ERA in 53 innings pitched. He fan 65 batters and only issued 12 base on balls

Next in line: Ben Abeldt (TCU), James Tallon (Duke), Jared Spencer (Indiana State)

Our Other Top Lists in Baseball

We also explore other positions in this series of “best” players from baseball. Check out…

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