Major League Baseball's regular season is entering its third day of play, yet we've already encountered some high-quality pitching performances. Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer started the year off with rain-aided complete games, and Jacob deGrom and Mike Soroka kept the torch burning by trading zeroes on Friday afternoon. Sprinkle in some stellar individual outings from Kyle Hendricks and Shane Bieber, and it's been a good few days for pitching.
That trend ought to continue on Saturday, too, as the league plays its first full 15-game slate of the season. Below, we've highlighted six pitchers to keep an eye on as the season roars on. (Note: This list originally included 2019 World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg, but the Nationals righty was scratched from his Saturday night start vs. the Yankees due to a hand issue).
1. Darvish tries to mimic Hendricks
As mentioned in the introduction, Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks started the season off right by shutting down the Milwaukee Brewers. Teammate Yu Darvish will try to match Hendricks' performance on Saturday. He ended last season on a high note, reeling off a three-month stretch that saw him strike out 117 more batters than he walked over his final 88 innings. Darvish will turn 35 in August, but he remains a threat to win his first Cy Young Award.
2. & 3. Wheeler, Keuchel debut for new teams
Although the offseason feels like it happened years ago, it's important to remember that a number of pitchers are yet to make their debuts with their teams. That includes both Zack Wheeler and Dallas Keuchel. Wheeler is hoping to fulfill his promise as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies when he faces the Marlins on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Chicago White Sox would like Keuchel to serve as a veteran anchor in their rotation and get the team its first win of 2020 against the Twins.
4. McCullers returns in Houston
When Astros righty Lance McCullers is right, he's one of the nastiest pitchers in the American League. Unfortunately, it's been a while since we've seen him on the mound. He missed all of last year because of Tommy John surgery, meaning he hasn't started a regular season game since 2018. McCullers will get the nod against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday. He's recorded 12 double-digit strikeout games in his career. We'll see if he can notch No. 13.
5. Singer debuts for Royals
Last but not least, we'll have the major-league debut of Kansas City Royals prospect Brady Singer, who was the 18th pick in the 2018 draft. Singer entered the spring ranked by us as the fifth-best prospect in the Kansas City system due to his average or better fastball-slider combination and bulldog demeanor. There are concerns about his upside as a starter, however, stemming from his low release point and lagging changeup. Singer will have to address those deficiencies right off the bat against a Cleveland lineup stacked with switch-hitters.