By Brian T. Chan, Sports Editor

When it comes to discussing about the top pitchers in the American League Central, Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander make headlines for their phenomenal season last year.

Mark Buerhle’s perfect game also receives a lot of attention. But, the one guy under the radar in the past two seasons is the 25-year-old arm John Danks of the Chicago White Sox.

Danks is off to a great start in the 2010 season, ranking in the top five in the American League in a number of pitching categories. Danks is tied for second with a 1.29 ERA, fourth with a 0.86 WHIP, and has the third lowest opponent’s batting average at .162.

Danks has two quality outings, in which he threw deep into the game against the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays. In each of the two games, he gave up just two hits and one run. Danks lasted eight innings against a solid-hitting Rays’ offense in the 4-1 win.

Danks is an early-season candidate for the Cy Young award, but while he has a long way to go to continue the strong start, the 25-year-old has been underappreciated in a pitch-heavy division.

Greinke was last year’s AL Cy Young winner with the lowest ERA in the majors while Verlander was one of the top candidates, leading the majors in strikeouts. While his teammate stole the spotlight with the perfect game, Danks sat in the dark, only to lead the White Sox with a 3.77 ERA.

But, it is the last two years that have made him a valuable asset, especially with his exceptional cutter. The cutter, which was added to his repertoire two years ago, has been useful to Danks in pitching away from left-handed hitters and in the hands of the righties.

In 2008, he was valued at 5.2 WAR, and last year, his WAR dropped to 2.9. Last season, he utilized the cutter nearly a fourth of the time.

Danks, however, has had trouble keeping on the ground, and the situation is not helped with a homer-friendly park in Chicago. Danks had a homerun-to-flyball ratio of 13.8 percent in 2007 and 11.5 percent in 2009. Last year, he yielded 28 homeruns. Since 2007, he has gradually induced groundballs.

Danks is still considerably young, and while Greinke and Verlander are not necessarily lights out this year, Danks is on the verge to provide the AL Central with another arm.