After Max Scherzer’s one-hit performance, you could tell he was hungry for that no-hitter. And on June 20, he locked down the 289th no hitter in big league history. It was only a matter of time before Scherzer, who has an arsenal of pitches and a 97-MPH+ fastball, would throw one. This got my thinking about what big league pitcher was due to join baseball immortality. Some no-hitters are unpredictable (Chris Heston, Philip Humber) while other pitchers seem destined to throw one (Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Scherzer). In no specific order, these are the pitchers who have the best shot of throwing the next no-hitter in Major League Baseball.
1) Chris Sale
When you look up “dominant” in the dictionary, Sale’s picture should appear next to it. In 88.2 innings pitched this year, he has allowed only 63 hits and struck out 119 hitters, which is third-best in baseball. Opponents are hitting only .196 off of him, and his 0.94 WHIP is second-best only to Scherzer. In his last three starts, he has gone 22.2 innings, allowing only 10 hits. Sale will throw a no-hitter in his career; it’s just a matter of time as to when.
2) Sonny Gray
Gray has been quietly having a great season for lowly Oakland Athletics this season. He currently owns a 1.95 ERA and a WHIP of 0.95. In his 101.2 innings pitched this season, he’s allowed only 72 hits. He wont dominate teams with the strikeout, only racking up 90, but he finds ways to get outs and lock down teams. Even though Gray pitches in the difficult AL West, he still has a great shot to no-hit a team every time he toes up the rubber.
Another young arm in the AL West, Keuchel has been the ace of the Houston Astros staff and a major key to their success this year. He leads the league with 107.1 innings pitched, and has allowed a measly 75 hits in those innings. While he walks a few batters (30 this year), his WHIP is still under 1.00, at 0.98. Keuchel has six starts of at least six innings and fewer than four hits, including a complete game, four-hitter against the Chicago White Sox. In addition to his amazing beard, Keuchel’s left arm can produce a no-hitter in the future for the ‘Stros.
4) Jake Arrieta
The first National Leaguer on this list, when Arrieta is on he is untouchable. In 91 innings, he has allowed 78 hits and struck out 96. Coming off a complete game, four-hit shutout against the Minnesota Twins, Arrieta proved how dominant he is and how he can shut down a good lineup. If the Chicago Cubs keep Arrieta for a while, he will throw the first Cubs no-hitter since Carlos Zambrano in 2008.
5) Corey Kluber
The Klubot. This man’s slider is devastating when he’s throwing it well. Surrendering 97 hits in 103.2 innings is a red flag, but Kluber has shown signs of utter dominance against some opponents, including a one-hit, 18-strikeout performance against the St. Louis Cardinals, the best team in baseball. Hopefully this man can deliver some joy to the city of Cleveland, and their first no-no since Len Barker in 1981.
Wildcard) Chris Archer
Archer has pitched very well this year, allowing only 72 hits in 95 innings while striking out 116. Archer is a young arm and the ace of the Tampa Bay Rays rotation, and can provide the spark this team needs to keep their playoff push alive and hopefully deliver Tampa Bay a no-hitter.
Predicting a no-hitter is extremely difficult to do, but these six men have the best shot possible to produce the next piece of baseball history. There will be another no-hitter this year, and hopefully one of these guys throws it so I can say, “I told you so.”