These seven pitchers embody the qualities of a true ace: They pitch deep into games (high innings pitched), can strike out hitters to get out of jams (high strikeouts) and pitch well enough to win consistently (low ERA). Plus, each has a Cy Young Award.
RHP Justin Verlander, Tigers:
24-5, 2.40 ERA, 251 IP, 250 K in 2011
Averaged 20.3 victories and 246 strikeouts over past three seasons, with five consecutive seasons of at least 200 innings pitched.
LHP CC Sabathia, Yankees: 19-8, 3.00 ERA, 237 1/3 IP, 230 K in 2011
The big lefty has averaged 19 victories, 2392/3 innings and nearly 217 strikeouts over the past five seasons.
RHP Roy Halladay, Phillies: 19-6, 2.35 ERA, 233 2/3 IP, 220 K in 2011
Average record of 18-8 past four seasons, with six consecutive seasons at least 200 IP and four years in a row with 200-plus strikeouts.
RHP Tim Lincecum, Giants: 13-14, 2.74 ERA, 217 IP, 220 K in 2011
In four full seasons he has averaged 15.5 victories, 223 IP and 244.3 strikeouts, leading the NL in strikeouts in three of those four seasons.
RHP Felix Hernandez, Mariners: 14-14, 3.47 ERA, 2332/3 IP, 222 K in 2011
He has a 3.24 career ERA, pitching at least 190 innings in each of his six full seasons. He has averaged 224 strikeouts in the past three seasons.
LHP Cliff Lee, Phillies: 17-8, 2.40 ERA, 2322/3 IP, 238 K in 2011
He has pitched at least 212 innings and struck out at least 170 in each of past four seasons. He's 55-33 over that span.
LHP Clayton Kershaw Dodgers: 21-5, 2.28 ERA, 2331/3 IP, 248 K in 2011
The lefty, who turns 24 on Monday, won the Cy Young Award a year ago. He has 745 strikeouts in 7161/3 innings.