If elite pitching is truly the great equalizer in baseball, fans must know the best starting rotations in 2023.
This should be a strong indicator of what teams are set up to succeed this season. Keep in mind that we’re not just talking about the best starting pitchers in 2023 but rather the top rotations in baseball.
Best starting rotations 2023
In other words, what teams have the most depth in their rotation? What teams don’t have just one or two elite pitchers but have four, five, or even six starters who they can rely on to give them a quality start more times than not?
It’s really a combination of high-end talent and an abundance of quality. With that in mind, let’s take a look at our ranking of the 10 best starting rotations in 2023.
Atlanta’s rotation has been a strength in recent years, and that isn’t going to change in 2023. Unfortunately, Kyle Wright will start the season on the IL, which will hurt.
However, Max Fried is a reliable ace while Spencer Strider was one of the best rookies in the majors last season. Veteran Charlie Morton will also add stability, which will be needed with the Braves set to give youngsters Dylan Dodd and Jared Shuster a shot. Schuster, in particular, is a former first-round pick and the team’s top prospect, so hopes are high.
Pitching helped to drive Seattle’s success last year, and this year, they’ll have Luis Castillo at the top of the rotation all season. Behind him, Logan Gilbert and George Kirby are two of the best young starters in baseball that most fans don’t know about. Each has a chance to be even better than they were a year ago.
The X-factor could be Robbie Ray, who was just 12-12 last year after winning the Cy Young in 2021. Plus, Marco Gonzales is one of the most steady back-end starters in baseball. He’s also capable of being better than he was last year, so if Ray and Gonzales can give the Mariners a little more, the Seattle rotation could help get the Mariners back to the playoffs.
The Yankees are one of those teams that are used to having one of the best rotations in baseball, although injuries could put that to the test in 2023.
The good news for the Yankees is they still have Gerrit Cole at the top of the rotation with Nestor Cortes behind him. Early in the season, Domingo German, Clarke Schmidt, and others will need to play a big role. But if Rodon and Severino can join Cole and Cortes at some point, that quartet could carry the Yankees a long way with Montas potentially returning at some point as well.
Even without Justin Verlander, the Astros have a rotation that should be among the best in baseball this year. Framber Valdez becomes the ace after going 17-6 with a 2.82 ERA last year with Lance McCullers Jr. also providing a stable veteran presence.
Meanwhile, youngsters like Jose Urquidy, Luis Garcia, and Cristian Javier have all proven that they can perform like frontline starters and deliver in big games. Even if they don’t have a Cy Young contender like Verlander, the Houston rotation doesn’t appear to have any weaknesses.
After signing Jacob deGrom this offseason, the Rangers have a chance to put together one of the best starting rotations in 2023, at least if deGrom can stay healthy. With a bonafide ace and arguably the best starter in baseball, Jon Gray and Nathan Eovaldi won’t have to worry about leading the Texas rotation.
The same is said of Martin Perez, who had an outstanding 2022 campaign. The Rangers also added Andrew Heaney after his 3.10 ERA in 2022. If those two lefties can carry over their success from last season, the Rangers could have something special.
But the depth Texas has doesn’t end with those five pitchers. Jake Odorizzi, Dane Dunning, Cole Ragans, and Glenn Otto are all options while the Rangers also have some promising prospects they can bring up if necessary.
5. Blue Jays
Keep in mind that Jose Berrios wasn’t at his best in 2022, but if he has a bounce-back year, the Blue Jays will have a trio that can go toe-to-toe with anyone in baseball.
Toronto also added Chris Bassitt in free agency, and if he’s the team’s fourth-best starter, the Blue Jays will be in great shape. Finally, the Blue Jays are hoping that Hyun Jin Ryu can come back from his elbow injury at some point, and if he returns to full health, the Blue Jays will have five starters that will be tough to match.
San Diego’s lineup could be the best in baseball, although the Padres also have a rotation that’s not too shabby either. Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove are both elite starters while Blake Snell is capable of being just as good. The rest of the rotation is not necessarily solidified, although the Padres have a plethora of options.
Nick Martinez was mostly a reliever last year but he’s had success as a starter in the past. Seth Lugo and Michael Wacha are wild cards as Lugo has been an elite setup man who is now getting a chance to start while Wacha has had ups and downs in recent years.
Fortunately for the Padres, this rotation has a lot of depth. Ryan Weathers showed great promise early in his career while Brent Honeywell and Adrian Morejon both have the stuff to be mid-rotation starters or better.
The top of the Philadelphia rotation is in excellent shape with Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, the pair who helped take the Phillies to the World Series last year. Both are frontline starters, but don’t forget about the progress that lefty Ranger Suarez made last season.
The Phillies will get additional depth from Taijuan Walker, who was an all-star in 2021 and will be far better than the average no. 3 or no. 4 starter. After that, it’s up to lefties Bailey Falter and Matt Strahm to solidify the back end of the Philadelphia rotation.
Corbin Burnes has become a perennial Cy Young contender, and he leads a Milwaukee rotation with plenty of depth. Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta have also proven themselves to be top-of-the-rotation starters in recent years while lefty Eric Lauer has had two strong seasons in a row.
That should give the Brewers a strong core of four starters. Whether the Brewers can have a rotation that can be considered the best in baseball depends on contributions from Wade Miley, Adrian Houser, and youngster Robert Gasser. But there are certainly enough pieces to make this a top-flight rotation.
Somehow, the Mets lost Jacob deGrom over the winter and still managed to put together the best rotation in baseball. They did that by already having Max Scherzer and adding Justin Verlander in free agency. While those two are both getting a little old, they are still performing at a high level, especially with Verlander winning American League Cy Young honors last year.
Those two were special in Detroit earlier in their careers and still figure to be one of the best duos in the majors. The Mets also hope to have an elite no. 3 starter with Kodai Senga and his infamous ghost forkball. Cagey veteran Carlos Carrasco and promising youngsters David Peterson and Tylor Megill will fill out the rotation with Jose Quintana expected back from injury mid-season.