In honor of King Felix and the Majors’ 23rd perfect game- Pitchers mostly likely to throw 2 perfect games

Posted: 08/16/2012 by levcohen in Baseball

Yesterday, Felix Hernandez pitched the 23rd perfect game in MLB history. Hernandez was dominant, getting more swings and misses on off speed pitches than anyone in years. He also pitched arguably the third best game in MLB history, mowing down 12 in his perfect game. The only pitchers with higher game scores are Sandy Koufax (in 1965) and Matt Cain (this year), who each mowed down 14 batters in their perfect-os. In my opinion, two other pitchers threw more impressive games. Don Larsen, who threw the only postseason perfect game in 1956, has to be considered the most impressive game ever pitched. But there is another game that is wayy underrated. On May 26, 1959, Pirates pitcher Harvey Haddix had a perfect game through 9 innings. But his Pirates didn’t score a run either. He was perfect through 10. Through 11. Through 12. But the score was still 0-0. Finally, in the 13th inning, he gave up a hit and the Brewers walked off. The run was unearned. To me, this was the best game ever pitched.

Anyway, perfect games have become a lot more common recently. There have been 3 this year, a record. There have been 6 perfect games since 2009. There were none between 1968 and 1980, and only one between 1904 and 1956. With the perfect games going up, it’s only a matter of time before someone throws two. The question is, who are the most likely?

3 most likely pitchers to throw a second perfect game (of guys who are active and have thrown one)
All candidates:
Roy Halladay
Matt Cain
Felix Hernandez
Mark Buehrle
Dallas Braden
Phillip Humber

#3. Roy Halladay, 35 years old: career stats: 194-99, 3.26 ERA, 1.16 WHIP. 1.8 walks/9 and 6.9 strikeouts/9.

Roy Halladay has consistently been one of the best, if not the best, pitcher in the major leagues for years. At 35, he has fought injuries this season, but, when healthy, still looks good. He got his perfect game just two years ago, so don’t count him out. He doesn’t walk a lot of hitters, which is very important when talking about perfection. If not for the age, Halladay would be a perfect candidate.

#2. Matt Cain, 27 years old: career stats: 80-78, 3.31 ERA, 1.18 WHIP. 3.1 BB/9 and 7.5 K/9

Matt Cain tied for the best game score in MLB history this season when he struck out 14 in his perfect game. At 27 years old, he’s just entering his prime, and he has really elevated his stats this season. This year, his ERA is under 3, his WHIP is near 1, he is lowering his walks to 1.9 per 9 innings, and he’s up over 8 strikeouts per 9. Cain is clearly becoming a dominant pitcher, and offenses have to watch out. Cain could throw another perfect game.

#1. Felix Hernandez, 26 years old: career stats: 96-72, 3.17 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9 and 8.3 K/9

It’s hard to believe that King Felix is only 26 years old. He has been around for 8 years, which is amazing for a 26 year old. Felix has to be considered the favorite to throw a second perfect game. He’s already been to three all-star games and is a Cy Young award winner.

Pitchers who haven’t thrown a perfect game who can throw 2:

#1. Stephen Strasburg, 24 years old: career stats: 20-9, 2.76 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9 and 11.2 K/9

Strasburg is a dominant young pitcher who I’d bet on to win a few Cy Young’s. I don’t know about throwing perfect games, but he’s as likely as anyone else to.

Other candidates:
Justin Verlander
Tim Lincecum
Clayton Kershaw
R.A. Dickey
David Price
Chris Sale
Madison Bumgarner
Jered Weaver

  1. Marinite says:

    Great idea and fascinating column! Where do you find all your info?

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