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Who will be the best pitcher in 2015?

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Friday High Fives

As we presented the best players of the next five years over the past two weeks, there was ton of discussion about Ubaldo Jimenez and other top pitchers being left off the list. Mostly that's an issue of pitchers facing a much harsher aging curve than hitters. Surely there will be more than five pitchers among the top 50 players in the league, it's just that we're extremely unsure who they'll be.

I posed a similarly difficult question to the BtB authors this week: Who will be the best pitcher in 2015? Normally I'd call someone chicken for the following response, but in this case, Jeff Z. expressed what we're all thinking:

I refuse to guess this question. Five years ago I probably would have answered Brandon Webb, Dontrelle Willis, Jake Peavy, Aaron Harang and Josh Towers. I think pitchers are so fickle, I will be impressed if anyone gets two of their choices correct.

Here are the top five results for those of us who were willing to make some guesses (not me):

Pitcher 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots Points
Stephen Strasburg 5 2 1 1 9 38
Tim Lincecum 1 2 2 1 6 18
Ubaldo Jimenez 2 1 1 4 12
Zack Greinke 1 1 1 3 12
Felix Hernandez 2 1 2 5 10

Commentary and full results after the jump. How'd we do?

Lar: Seems way too early to put Strasburg on this list, but.... did you see that game on Tuesday?!

Peter: Any list like this is dangerous, because we're obviously going to be wrong more times than not. I stayed away from current major leaguers because they'll have a lot of mileage on their arms by 2015.

Matt Klaassen: Yeah, putting Greinke at the top is rank homerism, but hey, I can't even predict who will be the best pitcher next month, so homerism seems as good a method as any out there. If someone had told you in 2005 that Cliff Lee would be a month into his third Cy Young-caliber season, you would have thought they were nuts, right? Strausburg has to be in the discussion, since I love to buy into hype. Lincecum looks like he could keep going even if he can only throw 84 by then, and picking a couple high-upside prospects is always a good idea for a long-term pitching projection crapshoot.

Adam Darowski: After what I've witnessed, I will never stop believing in Jon Lester. That kid is going to do some amazing things. Then it's take your pick—I think Greinke, Hernandez, Lincecum, and Jimenez are all going to be monsters.

Michael: Let it be known that it is almost impossible to guess how good pitchers will be five years from now, given the injury risk involved with the profession. Having said that, seeing Strasburg dominate in the way that he did helped make the decision for #1 a lot easier.

Paul: In a world where TINSTAAP reigns supreme, the road to pick out best pitchers for 5 years from now is fraught with orange barrels. Given the learning curve necessary for most pitchers, I picked guys who were 26 or younger and (with the exception of Strasburg) who have been in MLB for at least a full season.

Daniel: If one of these five is correct I'd be OK with that. Whoever will be in the top 5 in 2015, I probably haven't heard of at least one of them and didn't even think to consider another one. Was briefly considering putting Jamie Moyer, Tim Wakefield, or some O's pitcher (Matusz?) on the list for fun.

Jeff Sullivan: Pitchers are next to impossible to predict so I'm just combining stuff + wear. Strasburg has a phenomenal baseline ability and the fewer miles on his arm, so I'm giving him the best odds.

[Sky: We get it guys, this is a tough question.]

Everyone receiving a vote:

Pitcher 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots Points
Stephen Strasburg 5 2 1 1 9 38
Tim Lincecum 1 2 2 1 6 18
Ubaldo Jimenez 2 1 1 4 12
Zack Greinke 1 1 1 3 12
Felix Hernandez 2 1 2 5 10
Roy Halladay 1 1 2 8
Jon Lester 1 2 3 7
Julio Teheran 1 1 2 6
Clayton Kershaw 1 1 2 5
Mike Leake 1 1 5
Arodys Vizcaino 1 1 4
Neftali Feliz 1 1 4
David Price 1 1 3
Tanner Scheppers 1 1 3
Tyler Matzek 1 1 3
CC Sabathia 1 1 2
Jacob Turner 1 1 2
John Lamb 1 1 2
Ricky Romero 1 1 2
Brian Matusz 1 1 1
Jeremy Hellickson 1 1 1
Phil Hughes 1 1 1
Tommy Hanson 1 1 1

Other BtB writers, the ones who claimed ignorance above, put out too much good content for me to run this question on Friday, hence the move to Saturday. Stop it with the good articles, guys. Jeez.