Are you one of about 10 percent of the population that is left handed? Congratulations! How did you spend your special day? Did your friends all buy you a few drinks to celebrate? Maybe your significant other cooked you your favorite meal and let you actually pick what to watch tonight.
Or maybe nobody remembered. Tuesday is, after all, International Left-Handers Day. The day for all those filthy righties to take a step back and let those who struggle with things like painful ringed notebooks and scissors, and ... um ... harder-to-find golf clubs have their day in the sun.
With that in mind, let's celebrate some of the best left-handed starting pitchers in the MLB on their special day. Here are the top five lefties in the MLB by FanGraphs' Wins Above Replacement:
Clayton Kershaw (5.0 fWAR)
Of course Kershaw is No. 1. He's arguably the best pitcher in the majors right now. He has a 1.88 ERA and it's not April. He strikes out boatloads of batters while rarely giving up a walk. Power hitters crumble before him. To top it off, he's somehow just 25 years old. Evan Gattis is older than Kershaw, and Gattis is a rookie. Kershaw has won a Cy Young, then finished second, and is definitely shooting to win again in 2013. Left handers are often late-bloomers. Kershaw has certainly eschewed that tradition.
Derek Holland (4.6 fWAR)
Holland has taken more of a traditional left-handed path. The 26-year-old first was called up by the Rangers in 2009 and, over the course of his first four seasons, proceeded to rack up an inauspicious 4.71 ERA and 1.350 WHIP. His peripheral stats were OK, but Holland couldn't keep the runs off the board. He improved his control last year, but had home run troubles. It looked like better days were on the horizon and, sure enough, he now is rocking a 3.07 ERA and has helped the Rangers top the AL West. If he finishes the year strong, he has a chance to nearly double the career WAR total he had coming into 2013.
Chris Sale (4.2 fWAR)
Like Kershaw, it is unsurprising to see Sale on this list. He moved into the White Sox's rotation in 2012 after spending two years in the bullpen and I'm not sure Chicago could have hoped for any better. Sale has a 2.90 ERA over the past two seasons and has been one of the most valuable pitchers in the majors. He has shown impeccable control this season with a BB/9 under 2.0, and has the stuff to be a strikeout champ one day. The White Sox may not be having the best of seasons, but it's not Sale's fault.
Patrick Corbin (3.4 fWAR)
One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong.
Prior to the 2012 season, John Sickels at Minor League Ball said Corbin could develop into a fine mid-rotation starter. Baseball America had him ranked as Arizona's 10th-best prospect. Corbin pitched in 22 games for the Diamondbacks in 2012, making 17 starts. He had his ups and downs and finished with a 4.54 ERA and ho-hum numbers. In 2013, he has made 23 starts and has a 2.36 ERA, a 1.023 WHIP, and was selected to his first All-Star game. That is quite the turnaround for a player few thought would be special.
Mike Minor (3.3 fWAR)
In 2012, Minor finally was a part of the Braves' crowded rotation full-time. Over 30 starts, he was Patrick Corbin with fewer hits allowed. That allowed him to have a better WHIP and a slightly better ERA. He wasn't great, but for his first full season, the former top-50 prospect nationwide showed promise. That promise is being fulfilled now, as Minor has been the best pitcher in a rotation many expected to be among the league's best. He has a 2.87 ERA and has 143 strikeouts against just 32 walks. Minor is certainly growing into one of the best young pitchers in the majors today.