Cole Ragans is the best KC Royals pitcher ever (so far). Here is why.

The lefty is shattering standards set by Kansas City pitching pillars.
Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages
2 of 4

26 - Fewest earned runs

What is the best way for a starting pitcher to win over baseball fans? Keep the opposition off the scoreboard. How many earned runs a pitcher allows tells people how they control the game, keep their respective teams competitive in each start, and just set a better tone for the game as a whole. Ragans limiting the opposition's scoring so well is one reason why Royals fans boarded the Cole Train so fast.

The lefty has allowed more than three earned runs in two of his sixteen Kansas City starts, compared to 10 quality starts in that span. Ragans has a better chance of allowing two or fewer runs at the start than not. That is why Royals fans clamored for him to be the rotation's top guy, and he is.

Believe it or not, Ragans is better so far in 2024 than he was in 2023. His current 1.93 ERA, 2.35 FIP, and 4.14 K/BB ratio are all improvements from last season. All of these contribute to his keeping the opposition off the scoreboard so far in 2024. His five earned runs allowed ties for the fifth-best mark among starters with at least 20 innings pitched this season.

Let's add some context here. There is a reason Ragans' 2.46 ERA is second to Royals pitcher Andy Hassler's 2.33 ERA through 16 starts. Hassler pitched in Kansas City from 1976–1978, with four of his first 16 franchise starts being complete games. He pitched 104 1/3 innings, averaging more than 6 1/3 innings per start. The MLB has moved from workhorse starters to pitchers like Ragans, who then hand the ball over to the bullpen.