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Throughout the season the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we debated the best catcher in baseball. This week we're going to shift our focus to the guys on the mound.

Who is the best starting pitcher in baseball?

R.J. Anderson: My obligatory boring response to questions of this ilk is that it depends on how you define it. Does the best pitcher right now mean, simply, this season? Or, does it mean the best performing pitcher the last few years to this point? If it's the former, you can make a great argument for Zac Gallen, Gerrit Cole, Spencer Strider, and several others. If it's the latter, then you have cases to make for Zack Wheeler, Sandy Alcantara, Corbin Burnes, and so on. I tend to lean toward the second methodology, but I accept that everyone is different and there's some validity in both approaches. 

Matt Snyder: I'm going to go with Gerrit Cole. There is no pitcher more dependable in giving you volume. He never gets hurt and consistently provides around 200 quality innings each season. There are some inconsistencies -- there nearly always are with pitchers -- but start to finish in every season he's giving a lot of value. Especially in this day and age with so much relief pitching being used, a starter who avoids the injured list and works deep into nearly every game is a huge boon for teams. Not only does it give his team the option to only use one or two -- or zero! -- of its important relievers, but it sets the staff up better for the days he doesn't pitch. It's the ripple effect ace-like workhorses have long provided their teams. 

I do want to give a shout out to Zac Gallen, though. Since the All-Star break last season, he's been other-worldly ridiculous. 

Dayn Perry: I have to go the boring route and agree with those saying Gerrit Cole. He gives you volume, elite stuff, swing and miss, and excellent run prevention. As well, his durability and capacity to go deep in games are points of distinction in the current era. As excellent pitchers go, he's probably more of a known quantity than anyone else in the game today. It says here he wins his first Cy Young in 2023.

Mike Axisa: Alcantara, Cole, Gallen, and Shohei Ohtani were the names that immediately jumped to mind. Gallen is outstanding and arguably the best starter on a per-inning basis right now, but I'm going with Cole. He has the best combination of elite track record and durability, and longevity matters to me. Lots of guys have one or two great seasons, but if we're crowning the best starter in the game, I want someone who's done it year after year for a long time. That's Cole. He's great, has been for the better part of a decade now, and he's as good a bet to stay on the field and soak up innings as anyone in the sport.