When you think of an MLB game the first thing that comes to mind is who is on the mound. An MLB pitcher is key to their team’s victory, at times more than the hitters.

This season MLB pitchers will continue to earn quite a bit of money; they are the first line of defense for a team as they could literally shut the opposition down with pure heat.

Here are the 25 top earning pitchers as per Spotrac for 2022. The list does not include Trevor Bauer who is on administrative leave. Stats and records as per this writing.

25. Madison Bumgarner - $17 Million

The Diamondbacks’ starting pitcher is on a 5-year $85 million deal but Madison Bumgarner has delivered in spades. Bumgarner is a three-time World Series winner, 4-time All-Star, and hit two grand slams in his career.

24. Lance McCullers Jr - $17 Million

The 28-year-old starter enters 2022 with a 45-30 record and 3.57 ERA. Lance McCullers is on a 5-year deal with the Houston Astros worth $85 million. McCullers Jr has won 1 World Series and was a 2017 All-Star. 

23. Adam Wainwright - $17.5 Million

40-year-old Adam Wainwright is on a one-year deal worth $17.5 million, the St. Louis Cardinals ace has had a great career, winning the 2006 World Series, and was a 3- time All-Star. Wainwright won 2 Gold Glove awards and was a 2-time National League leader in wins.

21. Liam Hendriks - $18 Million

Well-traveled relief pitcher Liam Hendriks has played for five teams, now with the White Sox, Hendriks has 82 saves entering the season and was a 2-time American League reliever of the year in 2020 and 2021.

20. Dallas Keuchel - $18.5 Million

With over 1,000 strikeouts and a 100-82 record entering 2022, Dallas Keuchel is on a three-year deal worth $55.5 million for the 2015 Cy Young award winner. 

19. Jose Berrios - $18.7 Million

The Toronto Blue Jays ace enters the season with a 60-47 record and a 4.08 ERA. Jose Berrios is on a massive 7-year deal worth over $100 million. Berrios has been a very mediocre pitcher, it’s up to you to decide if this is money well spent.

18. Lance Lynn - $19 Million

34-year-old Lance Lynn has had a great career entering 2022 Lynn has a 115-77 record and over 1,500 strikeouts. A two-time All-Star and a World Series winner.

17. Charlie Morton - $20 Million

Charlie Morton makes $20 million a season and is now in his second stint with the Braves. Morton returned to win the World Series last season and hopes to continue to add to his over 1,000 strikeout count.

16. Hyun-Jin Ryu - $20 Million

South Korean Hyun-jin Ryu is on a 4-year $80 million deal with the Blue Jays and has paid dividends. Ryu has a healthy 73-45 record and was the MLB’s ERA leader in 2019.

15. Noah Syndergaard - $21 Million

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Noah Syndergaard is in the final year of his $21 million contract and has a unbalanced record of 49-31 and was an All-Star in 2016.

14. Yu Darvish - $21 Million

The San Diego Padres ace is on a 6-year $126 million deal and is a 5-time All-Star and 2020 National League wins leader. Yu Darvish has an ERA average of 3.59.

13. Carlos Rodon - $22 Million

Carlos Rodon is a hard nose pitcher playing for the San Francisco Giants, and once pitched a no-hitter in April of 2021.

12. Kevin Gausman - $22 Million

Journeyman Kevin Gausman is now with the Toronto Blue Jays and was an All-Star in 2021. With a high ERA of 4.03 and 64-72 lifetime record, Gausman can’t complain.

11. Robbie Ray - $23 Million

Robbie Ray had a banner year in 2021 being named to the All-MLB First Team, AL Cy Young Award, AL ERA leader and AL strikeout leader. Ray will try and continue his magical run with the Seattle Mariners.

10. Patrick Corbin - $23.3 Million

Two time All-Star and World Series champion Patrick Corbin earns 23.3 million dollars a season with the Washington Nationals since 2019. Corbin’s six-year deal is worth $140 million.

9. Zack Wheeler - $23.6 Million

The 2021 National League strikeout leader is on a 5-year $118 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. Wheeler has struck out over 1,000 batters and holds a 62-52 record.

8. Marcus Stroman - $23.6 Million

The Chicago Cubs ace was a Gold Glove award winner in 2017, an All-Star in 2019 and sits on a $71 million three-year deal.

7. Justin Verlander - $25 Million

Justin Verlander is pure heat, the eight-time All-Star, World Series winner, and two time Cy Young award winner is getting what he deserves with the Houston Astros. Justin Verlander has pitched three no hitters in his career.

6. Jacob deGrom - $27.5 Million

The New York Mets ace has been nothing but gold since 2014. A 4-time All-Star, National League rookie of the year, NL ERA leader, 2-time NL strikeout leader. Jacob deGrom is on a 5-year $137 million contract.

5. Chris Sale - $29 Million

Chris Sale is one of the best pitchers in all of the MLB and well deserving of his $29 million salary. Just some of Sale’s accolades? 5.33 career strikeout-to-walk ratio and reached 2,000 strikeouts in the fewest innings (1,626.0 innings).

4. David Price - $31 Million

David Price has an impressive 155-82 record, over 2,000 batters struck out, and more awards than some teams entire rosters combined. 

3. Stephen Strasburg - $35 Million

The Washington Nationals lifer is on a mega 7-year deal worth $245 million. A bit of what Stephen Strasburg has brought to the table: 3× All-Star (2012, 2016, 2017), World Series champion (2019), World Series MVP (2019), Silver Slugger Award (2012), NL wins leader (2019), NL strikeout leader (2014),  Golden Spikes Award (2009), and Dick Howser Trophy (2009)

2. Gerrit Cole - $36 Million

The New York Yankees biggest ace Gerrit Cole is the second highest paid pitcher in the MLB. Cole is a 4-time All-Star, AL ERA leader in 2019 and possesses an impressive record of 117-63.

1. Max Scherzer - $43.3 Million

Ahead of everyone by a mile is Max Scherzer the new Met is just getting accustomed to Queens, but he has a three-year deal worth $130 million. Scherzer is a World Series champion, 8-time All-Star, has struck out 250 batters in 5 consecutive seasons, and is a 3-time NL strikeout leader.