MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Ryan's 7 best bets to throw a no-no in 2016

Hall of Famer and owner of MLB-record 7 no-hitters handicaps the field

Ryan's 7 best bets to throw a no-no in 2016

Nolan knows no-nos. No doubt about it.

Hall of Fame right-hander Nolan Ryan threw a record seven no-hitters during his career -- three more than Sandy Koufax and four more than Bob Feller. He also threw 12 one-hitters, tied with Feller for the most in Major League history.

"In every no-hitter, there is a play that is made that puts you in that position," Ryan said. "There were games where I had better stuff throughout the whole game, but somebody gets jammed and hits a flair, like Dick Allen [with the White Sox] in the ninth inning [on Aug. 7, 1974], topping a ball down the third-base line and a play couldn't be made."

Allen was one of five players who broke up a Ryan no-hitter in the ninth inning of a game. It was a one-out hit in each of the five near-misses.

So what is the secret to throwing a no-hitter?

There isn't any. There's a bit of good fortune. Ability -- and an assortment of pitches -- does help.

Ryan pitches sixth career no-no

When Ryan threw the second no-hitter of his career on July 15, 1973, in Detroit, Norm Cash came to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with a table leg.

"You can't hit with that," umpire Ron Luciano is reported to have said.

"I can't hit him with a bat either," Cash replied.

Cash eventually popped up to the shortstop

Ryan's fourth career no-hitter came against the Orioles at Anaheim Stadium on June 1, 1975. He struck out Bobby Grich, looking, on a 3-2 pitch to end the game. Grich dropped his bat before the ball even reached the plate.

"Curveball,'' said Grich. "How can you be looking for a 3-2 curveball with two out in a no-hitter? And it was a 1-0 game."

Yes, Nolan knows no-nos. He's not about to predict who will throw a no-hitter in the coming season.

It could be an eventual Hall of Famer, or it could be a journeyman who happened to have everything fall in place on a given day. Bobo Holloman made his first big league start with the St. Louis Browns on May 6, 1953, and no-hit the Philadelphia A's. That was his only year in the big leagues, and he went 3-7 with a 5.23 ERA in 65 1/3 innings.

"Any pitcher who goes out and is capable of pitching nine innings is capable of throwing a no-hitter," Ryan said. "A pitcher with a high strikeout total improves his chances, because fewer balls are put in play."

Ryan throws fifth career no-no

Some pitchers, however, are more capable. And Ryan discussed seven current big league pitchers he believes have the best no-hit stuff.

In alphabetical order:

Right-hander Chris Archer, Rays
"He has a complete array of pitches with a mid-90s fastball and is a strike-thrower. I saw him against the Astros [last Aug. 20], and he had no-hit stuff that night [a one-hit, 98-pitch game]. The Astros hardly touched him."

Archer's one-hit shutout

Left-hander Madison Bumgarner, Giants
"Look at the way he performs in big situations. He has that long stride that keeps his arm stronger."

Left-hander Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
"He's certainly going to be at the top of any list, because of the kind of stuff he has. He has that nine-inning mentality."

Kershaw throws no-hitter

Left-hander Dallas Keuchel, Astros
"He has command and a great changeup. He doesn't give in, even when he is 3-0 in the count. He's a left-handed Greg Maddux."

Right-hander Corey Kluber, Indians
"He has a really good slider he commands. He has the stuff to strike guys out. You do that and you are inclined to throw [a no-hitter]."

Kluber's dominant start

Left-hander David Price, Red Sox
"Hitters must not see the ball well out of his hands. He throws a lot of fastballs down the middle but gets away with it. He has a real good breaking ball."

Left-hander Chris Sale, White Sox
"He has the speed differential between his fastball, slider and changeup. He is a strikeout guy."

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.