All 30 MLB starting rotations, ranked


Less than two weeks away from Opening Day, MLB starting rotations are finally shaping up. Here’s a look at the starting rotations from top to bottom as we approach the 2022 regular season.

 

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1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers

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The Dodgers have the financial ability to build immense depth, and that’s on full display with this year’s starting rotation. Walker Buehler returns as Ace 1-A, but Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw have strong arguments for that role behind him. Trevor Bauer could also get in on the conversation if he returns, but his future is clouded by off-field issues. If Bauer misses time, the Dodgers have other veterans they can count on like lefties Andrew Heaney, Tyler Anderson, and David Price. Tony Gonsolin and Mitch White also have high ceilings, while former top prospect Dustin May could be available by midseason after Tommy John surgery.

 

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2. Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers

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Milwaukee finished second in starter ERA last season, behind only the Dodgers, due in large part to the emergence of aces Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta. They enter 2022 with arguably an even better rotation after Eric Lauer posted an ERA near 3.00 in the second half, and young sinkerballer Aaron Ashby shows huge upside. Fellow sinkerballer Adrian Houser remains a very reliable option, as well, with a sub-4.00 ERA in two of the last three seasons.

 

New York Mets

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The Mets had the eighth-best starting pitcher ERA last season, which is remarkable considering ace Jacob deGrom and Carlos Carrasco were both limited due to injuries. The team has lost Marcus Stroman but replaced him with future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer, who continues to pitch at a Cy Young level, along with former Oakland ace Chris Bassitt. With all those names, it’s easy to forget that Taijuan Walker and Tylor Megill remain on the roster, while former top prospect David Peterson adds further depth. The continued durability issues for deGrom and Carrasco are the only factor preventing the Mets from being considered the best starting rotation in MLB.

 

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4. San Diego Padres

San Diego Padres

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The Padres starting rotation was the most disappointing in baseball last season, but a new coaching staff and the return of Mike Clevinger could be just what the doctor ordered. Blake Snell isn’t far removed from winning the Cy Young in 2018, and Yu Darvish has finished second in the vote twice. It’s not a stretch to project Joe Musgrove to enter the Cy Young conversation with his improvement over the last two seasons, and the depth looks outstanding with Nick Martinez and Chris Paddack competing for the fifth spot. The team also has top prospect MacKenzie Gore, who has been excellent in spring after fixing his mechanics.

 

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5. Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves

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Fresh off a World Series victory, the Braves return the same talent as last year. The rotation is led by Charlie Morton and Max Fried, a pair with good velocity, breaking pitches, and sinkers. The rotation is loaded with youth behind them. Ian Anderson and Huascar Ynoa should be locked in with rotation spots after great rookie showings, while the fifth spot has its fair share of upside with some combo of Tucker Davidson, Kyle Wright, Kyle Muller, and Touki Toussaint until Mike Soroka returns from an Achilles injury. The Braves rotation isn’t hurting for depth.

 

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6. Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays

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It takes an elite squad to compete in the AL East, and the Jays have that on paper. They replaced AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray with Kevin Gausman, signed Yusei Kikuchi, and are set for a full season of Jose Berrios after acquiring him at the trade deadline. Alek Manoah also emerged as an ace after his early-season promotion in 2021, and Hyun-Jin Ryu has shown similar ability when he has been healthy. The team also has plenty of depth, with Ross Stripling, Nate Pearson, and Anthony Kay waiting in the wings.

 

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7. Chicago White Sox

Chicago White Sox

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The White Sox built quite the starting rotation last year, but face one major change this season with the loss of Carlos Rodon and his 2.37 ERA over 24 starts. They hope to offset that loss with Michael Kopech, who has shown ace ability and served as a swingman last season. There is no doubting the team’s top three starters with Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Dylan Cease, all continuing to show Cy Young upside. Dallas Keuchel has a Cy Young Award under his belt but has seen better days with velocity that has declined.

 

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8. Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies

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The focus during the offseason has been on the additions to Philadelphia’s lineup and bullpen, but the starting rotation is in very good standing. Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola are established aces, and Ranger Suarez could join that pair after posting a sub-2.00 ERA in the rotation late last season. Kyle Gibson is an innings eater, while the team has upside on the backend from control pitchers Zach Eflin and Bailey Falter.

 

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9. Houston Astros

Houston Astros

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There’s no way to tell for sure as he approaches age 40, but the Astros are hopeful Justin Verlander can regain his ace ability after returning from Tommy John surgery this season. He would do well leading a deep rotation that also includes Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, and Jose Urquidy. The former two starters have shown sub-4.00 ERA ability, and Urquidy is similarly capable if he can keep the ball in the park. The fifth starter spot looks like a battle between high upside Cristian Javier and veteran Jake Odorizzi while Lance McCullers Jr. still recovers from an arm injury that he suffered last season.

 

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10. New York Yankees

New York Yankees

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The Yankees should be very comfortable with Gerrit Cole as their ace, even as he’s fallen just short of winning his first Cy Young over the last four seasons. Jordan Montgomery returned from Tommy John surgery to reestablish himself last season, while Nestor Cortes came out of nowhere to be an important part of the rotation. Jameson Taillon showed ace flashes earlier in his career with Pittsburgh, but can’t stay healthy. Luis Severino has similar issues, with a total of seven appearances over the last three seasons. The injury-prone theme is worrisome, but New York has the depth to survive with Domingo German, Michael King, Luis Gil, Clarke Schmidt, and Deivi Garcia among the promising candidates to fill holes.

 

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11. San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants

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The Giants lost Kevin Gausman in the offseason, but it’s not a stretch to think the starters could be better this year after signing Carlos Rodon and Alex Cobb. The big concern is health, as all five of San Francisco’s starters have missed significant time to injuries in the past. Logan Webb is the clear ace after a breakout 2021 season with a 3.03 ERA in 148.1 innings last season, and Rodon complements him nicely if he can come anywhere close to his outstanding season. Alex Wood and Anthony DeSclafani are also coming off outstanding years, with the roomy ocean backdrop behind them in San Fran.

 

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12. Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

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The Red Sox front office has built an interesting, deep rotation in the offseason. Chris Sale will eventually return as the ace after his rib injury heals, but the team is in good hands with hard throwers Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, and Tanner Houck behind him. Eovaldi remains a candidate for a Cy Young run, while Houck (3.52 ERA) shows similar upside if he can increase his workload. Michael Wacha signed after showing great improvement with a repertoire improvement in September, while Rich Hill remains a viable five-inning starter in his 40s. Oft-injured lefty James Paxton could also be a secret weapon when he returns from injury later in the year.

 

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13. Cleveland Guardians

Cleveland Guardians

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The penny-pinching Guardians are still able to roll out an elite starting five, led by 2020 Cy Young winner Shane Bieber. He returns from a shoulder injury, but the starters behind him fared well in his stead last season. Cal Quantrill (2.89 ERA) is coming off a breakout season, while Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale, and Triston McKenzie have also shown excellent flashes.

 

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14. St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals

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The state of the Cardinals rotation is in flux due to Jack Flaherty’s status, as the young ace is already nursing a shoulder injury. The team likes what they have behind him with veteran Adam Wainwright, newcomer Steven Matz, Miles Mikolas, and Dakota Hudson. The return of Hudson, in particular, could be a boon as an extreme groundball pitcher in front of an elite infield defense. Still, it’s hard to see how this starting five competes with the top teams in the NL if Flaherty doesn’t return to full strength.

 

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15. Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners

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Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto is used to big moves, and he outdid himself by signing reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray to replace Yusei Kikuchi. Chris Flexen is coming off a great year with his return to the majors, and Marco Gonzales remains a reliable innings eater. The Mariners should expect big things from Logan Gilbert based on his minor league history, while high upside prospects Matt Brash or George Kirby could fill the fifth spot.

 

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16. Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins

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The strength of the Marlins organization in recent years has been producing pitchers, and there aren’t many starting rotations with more upside in 2022. Sandy Alcantara is an established ace and innings eater, while youngsters Pablo Lopez and Trevor Rogers hope to reach that level if they can show better health. Elieser Hernandez has shown impressive flashes over the last two seasons, while Jesus Luzardo looked like a budding ace in Oakland before injuries disrupted his career. The team also has depth behind that group, including Edward Cabrera, Nick Neidert, Braxton Garrett, and currently injured Sixto Sanchez.

 

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17. Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers

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The Tigers roster is rapidly improving, and that includes the starting rotation after signing Eduardo Rodriguez and Michael Pineda. Rodriguez showed signs of a top-end starter last year despite some bad luck in Boston, while Pineda has been a reliable starter over his career when healthy. Young starters Casey Mize, Matt Manning, and Tarik Skubal each show ace upside, though the trio was far too hittable last season. Lefty Tyler Alexander makes for a fine swingman behind them.

 

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18. Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays

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The Rays made due last year despite losing Blake Snell and Charlie Morton in the offseason and then seeing Tyler Glasnow go down with a major elbow injury. They will need to make further adjustments now that they’ve lost Shane Baz for at least a portion of the year. Shane McClanahan did show he can be relied on as a budding ace lefty, and Drew Rasmussen also emerged after being acquired from Milwaukee. Former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber is an interesting arm if he can stay healthy, while Ryan Yarbrough was reliable before last season. Luis Patino is another young arm with big-time potential. Tampa also has a bevy of talented arms in the upper minors, and could eventually get Yonny Chirinos and Brendan McKay back from injury.

 

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19. Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds

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The starting rotation has been the strength of Cincinnati’s roster recently, but they’ve seen major changes due to cost-cutting measures, losing Sonny Gray and Wade Miley. The team should still be comfortable with Tyler Mahle and Luis Castillo atop the rotation, and Mike Minor has a chance to be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter if he can keep the ball in the park. The last two spots in the rotation remain up for grabs entering the season with some combination of Vladimir Gutierrez, Tony Santillan, Reiver Sanmartin, Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Brandon Williamson. There is ace upside in that group, particularly with Greene, Lodolo, and Williamson, but the team should be mindful of workload in the short term.

 

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20. Los Angeles Angels

Los Angeles Angels

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It’s usually not a good sign when your best hitter and pitcher are the same person, but Shohei Ohtani is a rare exception. He can’t be expected to make 30 starts in his role but has shown ace ability when he does pitch. The Angels are hoping for similar results from former Met Noah Syndergaard, though he’s made a total of two appearances over the last two seasons. Patrick Sandoval is an industry favorite for a breakout season after posting a 3.62 ERA in 87 innings last year. Michael Lorenzen is moving back to a starting role after struggling in Cincinnati, while the final two spots of the six-man rotation will likely include some combination of Jose Suarez, Reid Detmers, and Jaime Barria. Detmers, the 10th pick in the 2020 draft, is particularly interesting after posting nearly 16 strikeouts per nine innings in the minors last year.

 

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21. Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins

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While Minnesota’s starting rotation has seen major recent turnover, they should remain competitive Sonny Gray is a proven No. 2 starter, at worst, while Dylan Bundy has shown flashes in the past when he has been healthy. Young right-handers Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan both feature elite control and hope to build on impressive rookie campaigns. The fifth starter job is up for grabs with Lewis Thorpe, Griffin Jax, and Devin Smeltzer among the candidates, though it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Twins added from outside the organization.

 

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22. Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks

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Arizona is counting on proven pitching coach Brent Strom to unlock a talented starting five. Madison Bumgarner hasn’t been the same since going south to Arizona, but he has shown flashes when his arm has been healthy. Zac Gallen and Luke Weaver have frustrated due to injuries, but have shown flashes of ace ability in the past. Merrill Kelly and Zach Davies show league-average ability at the rear, though Davies is coming off the worst season of his career. The team added further depth with Dan Straily, after two strong seasons in Korea.

 

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23. Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs

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The Cubs desperately needed to revamp their starting rotation in the offseason, and certainly did that by adding Marcus Stroman, Wade Miley, and Drew Smyly. Stroman and Miley are excellent fits for the team’s strong infield defense, while Smyly has shown top-flight ability when he has been fully healthy. Chicago really needs a rebound season from soft-tossing right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who had an ERA above 4.00 for the first time last season. Alec Mills will serve as the fifth starter, at least until Adbert Alzolay returns from injury.

 

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24. Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics

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Entering the last week of March, Oakland still has a strong starting rotation. Of course, that could change very quickly if they decide to trade Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas, after already moving many of their top players. James Kaprielian finally found some consistency with his stuff and health last year, but is already have minor injury issues in 2022. Cole Irvin established himself as a strong backend starter last season, while Daulton Jefferies has the plus command to do the same. Brent Honeywell was a top prospect in Tampa Bay but has been unable to keep his arm healthy. Paul Blackburn is likely to see plenty of opportunities to provoke grounders in the rotation if the team’s firesale continues to burn.

 

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25. Kansas City Royals

Kansas City Royals

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What’s old is new again in KC after the Royals brought back former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke on a one-year deal. He last pitched for the Royals in 2010, and the team is hoping they don’t have buyer’s remorse after he posted a 4.16 ERA and 6.3 K/9 last season. Veteran sinkerballer Brad Keller is also trying to get back on track. The remainder of the rotation has young intrigue, with Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, and Carlos Hernandez, with top prospects Daniel Lynch and Jackson Kowar also likely to help sooner than later.

 

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26. Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals

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What a difference a few years can make. After winning the World Series in 2019 on the strength of their pitching, Washington’s starting rotation is in shambles. The team traded Max Scherzer last season, Stephen Strasburg is coming off major arm surgery, and Patrick Corbin has struggled in consecutive seasons. The Nats do have reason to like what they saw from top prospect Josiah Gray when he was acquired from the Dodgers, while Paolo Espino and Erick Fedde can also be fill-ins. Other options include Anibal Sanchez, who was out of baseball last season and prospects Joan Adon and Cade Cavalli.

 

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27. Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers

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The Rangers made waves in the offseason, but they probably need to do more for their pitching to compete. Jon Gray is interesting as a top of the rotation starter now that he’s out of Colorado, and Dane Dunning’s peripherals last season were far better than his results. The team lacks much in the way of reliability behind them, with Martin Perez, Taylor Hearn, Garrett Richards, A.J. Alexy, Glenn Otto, Spencer Howard, and others trying to find consistency.

 

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28. Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies

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There isn’t a tougher place to pitch than Coors Field, and the task will get even tougher for the Rockies to survive this season after losing Jon Gray in free agency. The team does still have reliable starters in German Marquez, Antonio Senzatela, and Kyle Freeland, but the questions are rampant at the back of the rotation. Austin Gomber is returning from a back injury, while Chad Kuhl has struggled to overcome elbow issues. The shaky depth behind them includes Peter Lambert, Ryan Rolison, and Ryan Feltner.

 

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29. Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles

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Baltimore continues the controversial strategy of losing now to win later, and that’s reflected in their starting rotation. Still, the team has moved the fences back at Camden Yards in 2022, which comes as good news for home run prone starters John Means and Jordan Lyles. Means has shown flashes of ace ability, while Lyles is a proven innings eater. However, the rest of the starting rotation is a crapshoot with Bruce Zimmermann, Keegan Akin, Zac Lowther, Dean Kremer, and others in the conversation until top prospects Grayson Rodriguez and D.L. Hall are ready.

 

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30. Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates

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Pittsburgh’s pitching continues to be a mess in their rebuild, though there is some reason for optimism this season. Former top prospect Mitch Keller has shown an uptick in velocity during Spring Training, while Roansy Contreras has ace upside. The team is hoping for a rebound season from Jose Quintana, and the trio of J.T. Brubaker, Zach Thompson, and Bryse Wilson have shown talent. There isn’t one reliable pitcher in the bunch, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if several emerged this season.





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