With about one week until 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 2023 regular season. 


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Unsurprisingly, the Rockies starting rotation finished near the bottom of the league in ERA last season, but the lack of upside is alarming. Formerly an ace, German Marquez lost velocity last year and posted a career-worst 4.95 ERA. Lefty Kyle Freeland is signed long-term but has been near league average since his breakout 2018 season. Jose Urena has posted an ERA above 5.00 in four consecutive years. Lefty Austin Gomber has shown a plus arm but has been unable to stay healthy. The fifth starter spot is unclear entering the season as the team waits for Antonio Senzatela to return from knee surgery.


Oakland Athletics

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Oakland has undergone another complete teardown and has a lot of question marks in their inexperienced rotation. Paul Blackburn rebounded last year until suffering shoulder issues, with a 4.28 ERA in 21 starts. Young Ken Waldichuk and JP Sears flashed ability after coming over in the Frankie Montas trade. James Kaprielian has an ERA near 4.00 over the last two years but has continued to see the IL regularly. It’s unclear what the team will get from international free-agent signings Shintaro Fujinami and Drew Rucinski, but the team at least deserves credit for trying.


Washington Nationals

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The Nats organization has been obliterated by poor contracts, particularly those of Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. Strasburg remains sidelined, while Corbin has arguably been the worst starting pitcher in baseball over the last two seasons. The young duo of Josiah Gray and MacKenzie Gore provide hope, though neither has demonstrated MLB success representative of their plus stuff and minor league track records. Veteran Trevor Williams hopes to add stability as an innings eater, though his history shows him to be unreliable from year-to-year.


Detroit Tigers

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The Tigers had high hopes entering last season, but a collapse in health for much of their rotation doomed their chances for success. The team still waits for Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize to heal from arm injuries, though there is some upside in their current starting five.

 Eduardo Rodriguez has impressed in Spring Training after a terrible first year of his contract, missing much of the season with off-field concerns. Matthew Boyd returns to the organization after one year away, showing a high upside if he can keep the ball in the park. Spencer Turnbull is a hard-throwing groundball pitcher with interesting ability as he returns from elbow surgery. Michael Lorenzen has also struggled to stay healthy or avoid walks. Former first-rounder Matt Manning had a 3.43 ERA in 12 starts last season but missed time to injury.


Cincinnati Reds

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There’s little immediate hope in Cincinnati, but the team likes its top three young pitchers in Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft. Greene and Lodolo are former first-round picks who showed flashes of ace ability last season, while Ashcraft showed off a high-90s sinker that could make him a quality pitcher. The team would love to unlock Luke Weaver’s ability, as the former first-round pick has struggled with injuries and the long ball with three different organizations. Luis Cessa is a veteran swingman who could fill the fifth starter spot until a younger option like Brandon Williamson emerges.


Pittsburgh Pirates

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Pittsburgh’s rotation looks more promising than it did at this time last year, but that’s not saying much. Mitch Keller made strides last year (3.91 ERA) and has shown more velocity in Spring Training. Roansy Contreras has a bright future and posted a sub-4.00 ERA in his rookie campaign. JT Brubaker can miss bats but hasn’t seen great results in the majors. Forty-three-year-old lefty Rich Hill still has a great hook, but we can only hope for league-average with his durability issues and lack of velocity. Vince Velasquez has yet to meet expectations in the majors and could be challenged by young arms Luis Ortiz and Johan Oviedo.


Kansas City Royals

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The pitching development in KC has been terrible in recent seasons, though new pitching coach Brian Sweeney is out to change that trend. Veterans Zack Greinke and Jordan Lyles are miscast as top-of-the-rotation pieces, though they do throw strikes and eat up innings. Brady Singer is coming off a breakout year with a 3.23 ERA in 153.1 innings and could build on that success. Control artist Ryan Yarbrough is a backend option along with veteran Brad Keller, though the development of young pitchers like Daniel Lynch, Angel Zerpa, Kris Bubic, and Jon Heasley will be most important in 2023.


Baltimore Orioles

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Baltimore’s rotation showed improvement last season despite the lack of big names. The Orioles swapped out veteran Jordan Lyles for Kyle Gibson this year, but the big story is the arrival of top prospect Grayson Rodriguez. He could singlehandedly jumpstart the pitching staff, while youngsters Kyle Bradish and Dean Kremer also show upside. Veteran lefty Cole Irvin brings some stability, establishing himself with a 4.11 ERA in 62 starts with Oakland over the last two seasons.


Chicago Cubs

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The Cubs had a busy offseason, including some moves in their starting rotation. Marcus Stroman remains the reliable ace, with a career 3.62 ERA due to his groundball rate and plus control. Justin Steele has the talent to be a similar brand of pitcher, while Jameson Taillon earned a hefty contract after back-to-back healthy seasons with an ERA near 4.00 for the Yanks. The team liked what it saw from Drew Smyly enough to bring him back (3.47 ERA in 22 starts). The fifth starter spot could be musical chairs until veteran Kyle Hendricks is ready to return from a shoulder injury, though he posted an ERA near 5.00 over the last two years.


Boston Red Sox

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Pitching was the big focus of Boston’s offseason, and that includes the rotation. The team added former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to the group, but the biggest difference could come with better health from the holdovers. Chris Sale is being paid like an ace but has made only 11 starts over the last three years. Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock have shown flashes, but they pitched in various roles last year before their seasons ended due to injury. James Paxton is already set to start the year on the IL, but the veteran did impress early in Spring Training. Brayan Bello’s sinker could make him an excellent option, though he’s also nursing a minor arm injury. Nick Pivetta’s 4.47 ERA in two-plus years in Boston doesn’t accurately reflect his plus stuff.


Arizona Diamondbacks

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Arizona is handicapped by its own poor decision, giving former Giants ace Madison Bumgarner a five-year deal back in 2020. Since then, MadBum has a 4.98 ERA with diminished stuff. The development of aces Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly has gone a long way in making up for Bumgarner, and Zach Davies is a reliable backend starter who posted a 4.09 ERA in 27 starts last season. The young trio of Drey Jameson, Ryne Nelson, and Brandon Pfaadt are the future, and we’re likely to see all of them in the rotation at some point this season.


Miami Marlins

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Miami’s starting rotation has been the biggest strength of the squad in recent years, led by reigning NL Cy Young Sandy Alcantara. The rotation did take a hit to improve the lineup by trading Pablo Lopez but still has a wealth of young upside with Jesus Luzardo, Trevor Rogers, Edward Cabrera, and Braxton Garrett. While each of those four pitchers has been inconsistent, they’ve also flashed ace abilities. Veteran Johnny Cueto isn’t the pitcher he was 10 years ago, but he’s coming off a very good season with a 3.35 ERA in Chicago. Elite prospect Eury Perez should act as another reinforcement.


Chicago White Sox

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The White Sox rotation saw some change in the offseason, but they’re still led by Dylan Cease and Lance Lynn. Cease fell just short of winning the AL Cy Young in a breakout 2022 season, while Lynn got on track in the second half following knee surgery. Lucas Giolito is a frustrating case as a result of diminished velocity but has shown ace upside in the past. Michael Kopech is similarly intriguing, with a 3.54 ERA in 25 starts last year while battling knee issues. Mike Clevinger struggled in his return from Tommy John surgery in San Diego last season, but the team apparently feels he can rebound after adding him in free agency.


St. Louis Cardinals

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The questions surrounding the Cardinals’ rotation could be the one factor that prevents the team from being a World Series contender. The team hopes for repeat seasons from Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas, though injuries and age could prevent such optimism. Jack Flaherty has also shown ace ability, but he’s thrown only 155.2 innings over the last three years combined. Jordan Montgomery was a great addition at last year’s trade deadline, with a 3.11 ERA in 11 starts. Steven Matz disappointed in his first year with the team due to injuries, but his history with the Mets and Blue Jays shows middle-of-the-rotation ability.


Los Angeles Angels

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The Angels took a new approach in the offseason: Building depth. That includes what’s now one of the deeper starting rotations in baseball. The unit is still led by ace Shohei Ohtani, while young Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers, and Jose Suarez each took major strides to become middle-of-the-rotation starters last season. The backend of the rotation makes the team so interesting, as Tyler Anderson comes over from the Dodgers after posting a 2.57 ERA over nearly 180 innings. Tucker Davidson is a candidate as the sixth starter after a strong Spring, while young pitchers Griffin Canning and Chase Silseth give the staff even more upside.


Cleveland Guardians

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Cleveland’s pitching talent and depth make most other organizations jealous. The rotation is now led by Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie, both proving to be aces last year after some hiccups in 2021. Cal Quantrill has an ERA near 3.00 over the last two seasons despite mediocre strikeouts numbers. Aaron Civale has struggled to stay healthy, but his 4.45 K/BB ratio last season shows more ability. Zach Plesac has been inconsistent over the last three years, and his rotation spot could be in jeopardy with a slow start to the season. With plus young arms like Cody Morris, Hunter Gaddis, Logan Allen, Tanner Bibee, and Gavin Williams on the cusp, it seems like only a matter of time before Plesac loses his spot or is traded.


Toronto Blue Jays

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Toronto’s was arguably the most disappointing starting rotation in baseball in 2022 due to poor seasons from Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi. The team has hope that the veteran pair will rebound this year, which could make the Jays one of the best rotations in baseball. Kevin Gausman was quite a replacement for 2021 Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, posting a 3.35 ERA in 174.2 innings with big strikeout numbers. Alek Manoah has also developed into an ace (2.60 ERA in 51 career starts), and Chris Bassitt is a solid free agent signing with a career 3.45 ERA as he comes off a 30-start season.


Philadelphia Phillies

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The Phils improved a rotation that went to the World Series last year, adding veteran Taijuan Walker to top-tier aces Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler. Like Wheeler, Walker has rewritten his reputation for durability issues by making 29 starts in back-to-back seasons. However, there are some injury concerns elsewhere, as Ranger Suarez had to pull out of the WBC due to elbow issues, and top prospect Andrew Painter has a partially torn elbow ligament. Craft lefty Bailey Falter has won a rotation spot by default, as a result, though his sub-2.0 BB/9 in two seasons is outstanding.


San Francisco Giants

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While the Giants have lost ace Carlos Rodon to free agency, their rotation depth is unmatched in MLB. Logan Webb has become an ace over the last two years, with a plus changeup adding to his elite sinker. Alex Cobb also showed ace upside last season after adding velocity, and offseason signing Sean Manaea is similarly trending up after adding more velo. Alex Wood and Anthony DeSclafani are highly capable of rebounding from injury-plagued seasons based on their track records, while Ross Stripling was an elite swingman in Toronto last year with a 3.01 ERA in 134.1 innings. Should they need more help, the Giants have Jakob Junis and high-upside youngsters Kyle Harrison and Sean Hjelle.


Minnesota Twins

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A middle-of-the-pack rotation last year, the Twins look improved entering 2023. The team is getting Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda back from arm injuries, and each has proved to be middle-of-the-rotation or better. Joe Ryan has continued to open eyes in Spring Training after posting a 3.55 ERA in 27 starts last year, while Sonny Gray hopes to throw more than the 24 starts he did last season. Newcomer Pablo Lopez has posted a 3.52 ERA over the last three seasons in Miami and proved he could stay healthy in 2022. Minnesota also has a wealth of depth, with Bailey Ober, Simeon Woods Richardson, and Josh Winder capable of helping.


New York Yankees

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The Yankees starting rotation looked elite early in the offseason after signing Carlos Rodon, but things can change quickly. Rodon is missing at least the start of the year with an elbow injury, while Frankie Montas could miss all of 2023 due to a shoulder. New York will be counting on the remaining pitchers to pick up the slack. There’s no doubt ace Gerrit Cole can lead the way, and Nestor Cortes has a sub-3.00 ERA in consecutive seasons. Luis Severino was a high-powered ace last season but continued to struggle with arm problems. Domingo German is an effective backend starter when he keeps the ball in the park. Clarke Schmidt has been thrust into the starting five due to the team’s injuries, but the former first-rounder flashed top-end ability last season after years of injuries.


San Diego Padres

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The Padres had elite upside last year but have worked on the depth of their rotation in the offseason. The trio of Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell are outstanding, though Musgrove will miss time with a fractured toe. Nick Martinez is back as a regular part of the rotation but had a 4.30 ERA in 10 starts last year. Michael Wacha is a valuable veteran addition, showing effectiveness with a cutter he’s established over the last two seasons. Former Mets reliever Seth Lugo is getting a shot to start, hoping that his great curveball and plus control will play more times through the lineup.


Houston Astros

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Houston remains a top rotation despite losing Cy Young winner Justin Verlander in free agency. Behind him, Cristian Javier and Framber Valdez developed into aces last season, and Luis Garcia has a 3.57 ERA in three seasons. Jose Urquidy is effective when he keeps the ball down. The big question mark is the fifth starter spot, as Lance McCullers Jr. nurses more arm problems. Top prospect Hunter Brown emerged in the bullpen late last season and will likely fill the void. His sinker makes him a potentially dominant pitcher if he can avoid walks.


Tampa Bay Rays

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No organization has done a better job producing pitching in recent years, and Tampa Bay’s pitching staff exemplifies that fact. Shane McClanahan was an ace last year and was a Cy Young candidate until he went down with a shoulder injury. Fellow ace Tyler Glasnow is set to rejoin the rotation after Tommy John surgery, though that return is now delayed due to an oblique injury. Drew Rasmussen has produced an ERA of exactly 2.84 in back-to-back years. The improbable breakout of Jeffrey Springs continues to shock and amaze as he moved from middle relief to starting and finished with a 2.46 ERA in 135.1 innings during 2022. Free agent signing Zach Eflin has the elite control the team covets. The Rays have the depth to cover injuries, including Yonny Chirinos, Luis Patino, and top prospect Taj Bradley.


Texas Rangers

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Rangers GM Chris Young was a fine MLB starter, so it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that he built in 2023 with starting rotation additions. No pitcher in baseball comes even close to Jacob deGrom when he’s healthy, but he’s made only 26 regular-season starts in the last two seasons. High-priced starters Jon Gray, Nathan Eovaldi, and Andrew Heaney are also highly effective but share injury concerns. Martin Perez returned after an All-Star season, posting a 2.89 ERA over 196.1 innings, though his mediocre track record has created skeptics. Texas still has veteran starter Jake Odorizzi around, and there’s reason to be optimistic about Cole Ragans and Dane Dunning after brilliant Spring Training performances.


Los Angeles Dodgers

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The Dodgers easily led MLB with a 2.75 rotation ERA last season, though the losses of Walker Buehler and Tyler Anderson could make a repeat difficult. Julio Urias has developed into a reliable ace over the last three years, including last year’s NL ERA title. Clayton Kershaw doesn’t pile up innings like he once did, but there are few more effective pitchers when on the mound. Tony Gonsolin could miss Opening Day with an ankle injury but has an incredible 2.51 ERA over four seasons. Dustin May has been plagued by injuries over the last few years but has a 3.26 ERA over 143.2 innings with his triple-digit sinker. The team hopes to revive Noah Syndergaard’s former Cy Young contender form, and the Mets still have several interesting young arms for depth, like Ryan Pepiot, Michael Grove, Bobby Miller, and Gavin Stone.


Seattle Mariners

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Seattle built their rotation into elite status over the last year. The improvement started with signing Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, followed by breakout seasons from young starters Logan Gilbert and George Kirby, plus the acquisition of former Reds ace Luis Castillo. Few teams can claim a more formidable top four, and fifth starter Marco Gonzales has been a reliable option since 2017 with a 4.00 ERA in that time.


Milwaukee Brewers

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Milwaukee has a recent trend of piecing together offense while their elite pitching does its thing. When healthy, there isn’t a more imposing starting trio than Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta. The team hoped Aaron Ashby could join them, but he’s nursing a shoulder issue that could sideline him for a while. Eric Lauer is coming off a breakout season, posting a 3.69 ERA with a career-high 158.2 innings. While Ashby is sidelined, groundball specialists Wade Miley and Adrian Houser have proven they can handle the job.


Atlanta Braves

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The Braves’ rotation remains elite in both talent and depth. Max Fried leads the group after back-to-back 14-win seasons with a career ERA of 3.09, but Spencer Strider shows even more upside with a 2.67 ERA and an incredible 13.8 K/9 last season. Kyle Wright had a similarly strong breakout season in 2022, while Charlie Morton remains serviceable despite showing signs of age at 39. The X-factor will be the fifth starter as top prospects Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd battle it out with Ian Anderson, Mike Soroka, and Bryce Elder waiting in the wings.


New York Mets

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Owner Steve Cohen has spent big in consecutive offseasons, adding Max Scherzer, Carlos Carrasco, Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, and Jose Quintana. The team knows what it has in aged aces Scherzer and Verlander, while Senga is a wild card after a great career in Japan. Carrasco is a fine middle-of-the-rotation option when healthy, though Quintana could miss the first half following rib surgery. The depth will be important; the team also has that covered with David Peterson, Tylor Megill, Joey Lucchesi, and Jose Butto as capable options.

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