An excellent starting rotation almost always guarantees at least a shot at the playoffs. Today we look at the top 5 rotations in baseball as we enter the 2023 season.
Reports and speculation throughout the offseason suggested a trade involving an elite Brewers starter was imminent. Still, it now appears they will both remain on the roster until at least the 2023 trade deadline. Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff’s performance this offseason helped secure their rotation a top spot; both can be expected to be highly effective while carrying heavy inning loads in 2023.
Milwaukee’s rotation is composed of true mid-rotation arms. If healthy, Eric Lauer, Freddy Peralta and Wade Miley should each manage to throw around 150 innings while keeping their ERAs below 4.00.
The Phillies’ outlook is similar to that of the Brewers: Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler are top-tier pitchers who will lead the rotation, while the other three guys fall somewhere between good and decent. After posting his best season ever in 2022, Nola boasts 6.3 fWAR with a 0.96 WHIP through 205 innings – likely enough for him not to disappoint during 2023, which is also his contract year. As for Wheeler, despite suffering through injuries in 2022, he still managed to throw over 150 innings while compiling 4.1 fWAR.
Ranger Suarez developed into an impressive mid-rotation starter between 2021 and 2022. He pitched 261.1 innings with a 2.27 ERA in those two seasons, but perhaps more significantly, the southpaw was one of Philadelphia’s most effective pitchers during the 2022 postseason.
Taijuan Walker’s consistency throughout the season will be essential for the Phillies’ rotation. As part of the Mets rotation in 2022, he had only one month with an ERA above 4.00; however, over his many years in major league service before 2022, he has experienced his fair share of struggles.
Philadelphia’s fifth rotation spot remains uncertain. Bailey Falter is likely to start the season there, but Andrew Painter (13th overall in the 2021 draft) could potentially take over at some point this season if no major issues arise.
The Mets possess all that can be asked of their two starting rotation members: Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander have been producing long and flawless seasons for so long that there’s little doubt they will do so again in 2023. But that means Scherzer and Verlander must keep up their incredible performances; otherwise, they would just become two of baseball’s elite pitchers at age 35! To remain at the top, these legends must continue to defy ageing to stay at the top.
As is true of so many rotations, the Mets’ has an ambitious ceiling but plenty of questions to overcome. Kodai Senga, one of the team’s marquee free agent signings, has never pitched in MLB’s regular season and has had limited exposure in spring training. Nonetheless, he brings his famed “ghost-fork” pitch, which could prove challenging for major league hitters.
Add Veteran Carlos Carrasco should be a reliable mid-to-back end rotation piece. We project the righty to throw 150 innings with an ERA just above 4.00 in 2023; however, that did not account for his recent rib fracture. Now a group of depth arms, including David Peterson, Tylor Megill, Joey Lucchesi, and Elieser Hernandez, will fill in until Quintana returns.
Atlanta may boast a more reliable rotation with fewer questions than the Mets, but New York’s one-two punch is hard to overcome, but there are a lot of questions for the Mets after there top two pitchers, and that’s why the Braves rank higher than the Mets. Atlanta’s rotation has been instrumental in their recent successes – carrying an ERA of 3.88 throughout their championship season and an even better mark during last year’s 101-win campaign.
Max Fried has established himself as Atlanta’s ace over the past several seasons, while Charlie Morton has provided some stellar production and veteran leadership over the past two seasons. That veteran influence likely played a part in Kyle Wright’s breakout last season and Spencer Strider’s impressive rookie campaign; however, questions still linger regarding Strider’s pitch mix and whether Ian Anderson can bounce back after an uncertain 2022.
Frankie Montas may be out for most, if not all, of 2023 but the New York Yankees’ rotation still looks to be one of baseball’s best. Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodon offer everything one could desire in a one-two punch; Cole is coming off one of his best seasons yet, while Rodon had his best year yet. But questions still linger as to if Rodon can sustain another season without significant time on the injured list.
Luis Severino had an outstanding 2022 and should only get better in 2023 as his rehab from Tommy John surgery progresses. Nestor Cortes exceeded all expectations in 2021, continuing his impressive run into 2022. Following Cortes is Domingo German, who could replace Montas by late 2023, depending on how quickly his shoulder rehabilitation from surgery progresses.
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