Ranking the NL East: Starting Pitchers

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Oct 3, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher

Stephen Strasburg

(37) pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning of game one of the 2014 NLDS playoff baseball game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

With Sunday night’s exciting Super Bowl behind us, the world can officially turn its attention to other sports. And with Spring Training just a few weeks away, it’s time for Nationals fans to get ready for what promises to be an exciting 2015 season.

The Nationals are coming off one of their best seasons in team history, winning an NL-best 96 games while claiming their second division title in three years. The team entered last season as World Series favorites but fell short of their goals in a disappointing NLDS against the Giants. Fortunately for the Nationals, they’ll have another chance to bring home the trophy in 2015.

With the team’s already-loaded roster and with this winter’s acquisitions of Max Scherzer, Yunel Escobar and Casey Janssen, the Nationals will once again enter the season as hands-down NL East favorites and popular picks to win the World Series. As good as the team looks on paper, however, things don’t always go as expected in baseball – something Nationals fans know all too well.

In order for the Nationals to make it back to the playoffs next season and have a shot at their first World Series trophy, they’ll need to defend their NL East title – a title that they won by a whopping 17-game margin. But baseball is an unpredictable game, and while the Nationals are clear favorites to win the division right now, anything can happen over the course of a 162-game season.

For this reason, it’s important to keep an eye on each team in the division as we head into 2015. With that in mind, District on Deck has been ranking NL East teams position by position. Today we’ll continue our rankings series with starting pitchers.

When it comes to ranking the division’s starting rotations, it’s pretty clear who comes in at No. 1. The other four, however, are not quite as obvious and an argument can be made for several teams to be near the top of the list. Regardless of who has the best starting rotation, there’s no doubt that pitching will be key to winning the division and the best rotation could carry its team to the playoffs.

With that in mind, here are my Top-5 starting rotations in the NL East:

Next: Number Five?