There is an almost endless list of candidates worth considering when thinking about MLB’s best starting pitchers for 2023.
While the big leagues has some lackluster pitchers, those at the top are still amazing to watch perform. In fact, there are several active pitchers in baseball today who could end up being considered among the greatest starting pitchers in MLB history.
Best starting pitchers 2023
But when it comes to the current state of affairs, who are the top starting pitchers in MLB right now? Who are going to be the best starting pitchers in 2023?
It’s not just about what they’ve done in the past but rather what we can expect from them during the upcoming season. With that being said, here is our ranking of the 10 best starting pitchers in 2023.
10. Zack Wheeler
The investment the Phillies made in Zack Wheeler a few years ago is surely paying off. He’s managed to stay healthy and has posted an ERA under 3.00 in three consecutive seasons. Wheeler has always had electric stuff but he’s finally using all of the tools in his toolbox and showing remarkable consistency.
While there are a lot of good candidates, he deserves to be among the 10 best starters in baseball right now.
9. Carlos Rodon
Following a brilliant 2022 season, Carlos Rodon will try to live up to his big contract with the Yankees in 2023. The southpaw was largely average early in his career, but keep in mind that he was once the third overall pick in the draft. Rodon has finally started to figure things out, winning 27 games over the past two seasons with an ERA under 3.00 in both seasons.
Across those two seasons, opposing hitters are batting under .200 against him, as he’s done a brilliant job of keeping hitters off-balance. Whether he can keep it going for six more years is another question, but Rodon is surely peaking at the moment.
8. Max Fried
The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to Fried. He’s won at least 14 games in three of the last four years, and the season he didn’t, he went 7-0 during the shortened 2020 season.
While he doesn’t have flashy strikeout numbers, Fried is proving to be as durable and consistent as any pitcher in baseball. He also deserves credit for winning three consecutive Gold Gloves, proving he can pitch at an elite level while also fielding his position better than anyone.
7. Julio Urias
If there’s one area where Julio Urias has excelled the most in recent years, it’s been in the lost art of winning games. Obviously, playing for the Dodgers helps, but Urias is 37-10 over the past two seasons.
The southpaw also pitched to a 2.16 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP last season. Those numbers aren’t all that far away from his impressive career numbers. But at age 26, Urias is performing at a high level high now and is arguably the best left-handed starter in the majors.
6. Shohei Ohtani
We know that Shohei Ohtani can hit, but he has also started to establish himself as a top-flight starter over the last two seasons now that he moves further away from Tommy John surgery. In 28 starts last year, Ohtani was 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA, doing so on a losing team.
He enters the 2023 season at age 28, so this should be the peak of his career. In addition to being able to strikeout batters Ohtani’s control has come along over the last year or two, meaning that he’s becoming a complete pitcher.
5. Max Scherzer
With over 200 wins and more than 3,000 strikeouts, Max Scherzer is still going strong at age 38. While he missed time due to injury last year, when he was healthy, Scherzer posted a 2.29 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP across 23 starts.
Injuries have been a rarity for Scherzer over the years, so there’s no need to start doubting his durability too much. He continues to be a strikeout machine and has had some of his best seasons over the last few years, so he figures to have another strong season ahead of him in 2023.
4. Corbin Burnes
Just two years removed from winning the Cy Young, Corbin Burnes will likely be on the shortlist for the award again in 2023. Oddly enough, this will be just his third full season as a starter in Milwaukee.
But that just means he doesn’t have as many innings on his arm as some of the other top pitchers. Keep in mind that in his first two full seasons as a starter, he’s had an ERA under 3.00 and a WHIP under 1.00, not to mention way more strikeouts than innings.
In fact, he was the National League strikeout leader in 2022 and the ERA leader in 2021, so it’s a safe bet that he’ll be among the elite pitchers in 2023.
3. Justin Verlander
Even as a 40-year-old, Justin Verlander still projects to be one of the best starters in baseball this year. The guy is just a modern marvel, missing 2021 due to Tommy John surgery, only to return last season and win the Cy Young after going 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA over 28 starts.
He also helped the Astros to win the World Series, which doesn’t hurt his case either. Now that he’s another year removed from the surgery, it’s possible that Verlander’s arm could be in better shape than it was a year ago.
While that’s hard to believe, it’s not that far-fetched if you saw him pitch last season with Verlander now trying to add his name to the shortlist of pitchers who have won the Cy Young in both leagues now that he’s pitching for the Mets.
2. Jacob deGrom
The only thing that has been able to hold back Jacob deGrom in recent years has been his ability to stay healthy. Needless to say, that’s still a concern for the 34-year-old, who has made just 26 total starts over the past two seasons.
However, when he came back from injury during the second half of the 2022 season, he was as electric as ever. That came on the heels of pitching to a 1.08 ERA over 15 starts in 2021 before his season ended prematurely due to injury.
Like a fine wine, deGrom has only gotten better with age. He should also respond well to playing with a new team and facing mostly American League hitters who could be a little less familiar with him. That should work in deGrom’s favor, making him one of the top starting pitchers in MLB this year, as long as he can stay healthy.
1. Sandy Alcantara
Despite some all-time legends being among the best starting pitchers in 2023, we’ve put Sandy Alcantara at the top of our rankings. Unlike a few other pitchers on our list, Alcantara has age on his side. He’s just 27 years old and coming off a Cy Young season.
This should be the prime of his career, so there’s no reason to think that he won’t be as good or better than he was last season.
As a reminder, he posted a 2.28 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP in 32 starts last season, winning 14 games on a bad Miami team that struggled to score runs for him. Other pitchers will get more strikeouts, but nobody will be as effective as Alcantara during the upcoming season, perhaps making him the favorite to capture a second straight Cy Young.