Tyler Lowe   2/14/18


With the addition of Yu Darvish, folks around the MLB all seem to agree that the Cubs now have one of best rotations in baseball.  I decided to take a look at every team’s current projected 2018 rotation, and rank the best 10 I found.  These rankings obviously do not include the top remaining free agent pitchers on any rosters so I have also included several “honorable mention” teams who just missed the cut and are rumored landing spots for these pitchers.

Let’s begin with #10:

10. New York Mets

  1. Jacob deGrom
  2. Noah Syndergaard
  3. Matt Harvey
  4. Steven Matz
  5. Zack Wheeler

This ranking may seem a little high considering the huge question marks from 3-5 in the rotation.  However, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are among the top 1-2 punches in baseball when healthy.  Healthy seasons from Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler could easily give the Mets one of the top few rotations in the MLB once again.

9. San Francisco Giants

  1. Madison Bumgarner
  2. Johnny Cueto
  3. Jeff Samardzija
  4. Chris Stratton
  5. Tyler Beede

Madison Bumgarner had an injury-plagued season and Johnny Cueto struggled mightily in 2017.  This seems to be an outlier based on both of their careers though so I’d expect them to bounce back nicely in 2018.  Jeff Samardzija is a proven innings-eater and Tyler Beede is one of the Giants top prospects.  Look for the Giants to return to relevance in 2018.

8. Arizona Diamondbacks

  1. Zack Greinke
  2. Robbie Ray
  3. Taijuan Walker
  4. Patrick Corbin
  5. Shelby Miller

Zack Greinke was a top 10 pitcher in baseball again in 2017, leading the D’Backs to a postseason appearance.  Combine that with a dominant season from Robbie Ray and you’ve got the start of a great rotation.  Taijuan Walker and Patrick Corbin look to be solid mid-rotation guys. The X-Factor here is Shelby Miller.  If he is able to pitch like he did prior to 2016 again, Arizona could slide up a few spots in this ranking.

7. Boston Red Sox

  1. Chris Sale
  2. David Price
  3. Drew Pomeranz
  4. Rick Porcello
  5. Eduardo Rodriguez

Chris Sale headlines Boston’s solid rotation, and you know what you’re getting with him year-in and year-out.  David Price couldn’t stay healthy in 2017, but was pretty successful on the few occasions he took the ball for the Sox.  Drew Pomeranz has quietly turned in back-to-back quality seasons, and Rick Porcello was the 2016 Cy Young Winner.

6. Los Angeles Dodgers

  1. Clayton Kershaw
  2. Rich Hill
  3. Alex Wood
  4. Kenta Maeda
  5. Hyun-Jin Ryu

While some may argue Max Scherzer or Corey Kluber are becoming the best pitchers in baseball, Clayton Kershaw is still a stud.  Rich Hill has found new life in L.A., and Alex Wood turned in an excellent 2017.  Things get a little iffy for the Dodgers after those 3 though. They’ll need Maeda to step up and Ryu to stay healthy in 2018.

5. Cleveland Indians

  1. Corey Kluber
  2. Carlos Carrasco
  3. Trevor Bauer
  4. Danny Salazar
  5. Josh Tomlin

Before I actually looked into all the rotations, I thought the Indians would fall somewhere around 2-3 in these rankings.  However, Josh Tomlin probably the worst pitcher on the teams who made the top 5.  Danny Salazar has not proven he can stay healthy for a full season yet.  Trevor Bauer flashed greatness in 2017, but he’s been highly inconsistent in his big league career.  Kluber and Carrasco were incredible this past season so the Indians remained high in the rankings.

4. Houston Astros

  1. Justin Verlander
  2. Dallas Keuchel
  3. Gerrit Cole
  4. Charlie Morton
  5. Lance McCullers Jr.

The Astros rotation has gotten a lot better this winter.  In the postseason, Houston managed to win the World Series without a great 3rd or 4th starter.  That’s all changed with the addition of Gerrit Cole. He will team up with Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel to form a magnificent 1-3.  Charlie Morton was able to turn things around in 2017 and Lance McCullers Jr. has extreme potential upside.

3. New York Yankees

  1. Luis Severino
  2. Masahiro Tanaka
  3. Sonny Gray
  4. C.C. Sabathia
  5. Jordan Montgomery

The Yankees are going to be scary in 2018.  Their main addition was on the offensive side with Giancarlo Stanton, but they still have an incredible rotation.  Luis Severino has Cy Young written all over him.  Masahiro Tanaka should bounce back this season, and they arguably have the most reliable 3-5 in the MLB with Sonny Gray, C.C. Sabathia, and Jordan Montgomery.

2. Chicago Cubs

  1. Jon Lester
  2. Yu Darvish
  3. Kyle Hendricks
  4. Jose Quintana
  5. Tyler Chatwood

While the Cubs may not have a true “ace” on their staff, they have the deepest 1-4 in baseball.  All of Jon Lester, Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks, and Jose Quintana could be quality #1 or #2 starters on any team.  If Tyler Chatwood pitches close to his career road splits (1.69 ERA in 2016 and 3.49 ERA in 2017), the Cubs could have the best rotation in the league.

1. Washington Nationals

  1. Max Scherzer
  2. Stephen Strasburg
  3. Gio Gonzalez
  4. Tanner Roark
  5. A.J. Cole

No other team has two top 5 pitchers in baseball.  That alone separates the Nationals from everyone else.  Gio Gonzalez has a Cy Young-type 2017 season, and Tanner Roark is a very dependable pitcher.  The #5 spot is iffy, but A.J. Cole seems capable of holding down the spot.

Honorable Mentions:

St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, Milwaukee Brewers


Whether or not it’s the best in all of baseball, Cubs fans should be extremely excited to see this starting rotation get to work in 2018.  Yu Darvish was a huge addition to a club that had already made the NLCS in three consecutive years.  Who else is ready for Opening Day?


Photo: USA Today Sports, AP Photo


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