Ranking All 30 Starting Rotations

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 29: Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals delivers the pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning in Game Six of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 29: Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals delivers the pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning in Game Six of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Madison Bumgarner
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 04: Starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner #40 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning of the MLB spring training baseball game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on March 04, 2021 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

30) Pittsburgh Pirates

Projected 2021 Starting Rotation: Mitch Keller, JT Brubaker, Steven Brault, Chad Kuhl, Tyler Anderson

2020 Stats: W/L 10-25, 4.74 ERA, 5.29 FIP, 1.2 fWAR

Are the Pittsburgh Pirates even trying? Trying for the first pick in the draft next year, maybe. Gone are Jameson Taillon, Joe Musgrove, and Derek Holland, and the replacements are a bunch of guys with limited experience, with Tyler Anderson tossed in for good measure.

Mitch Keller and his 16 career starts will get thrown to the wolves as the perceived “ace” of this staff. His numbers in limited time have not been great, 5.81 ERA (4.30 FIP). JT Brubaker has less experience than Keller, and Steven Brault has spent his career going back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation. Chad Kuhl was 2-3 with a 4.27 ERA last year and is coming off Tommy John surgery.

The 2020 Pirates walked an MLB-high 4.23 batters per nine innings. A younger, less experienced tandem doesn’t have high expectations this year.

29) Texas Rangers

Projected 2021 Starting Rotation: Kyle Gibson, Dane Dunning, Jordan Lyles, Kohei Arihara, Mike Foltynewicz

2020 Stats: W/L 10-28, 5.32 ERA, 5.06 FIP, 1.9 fWAR

There will be a lot of question marks revolving around the Rangers starting rotation this year. Can Kohei Arihara transition from the Japan Pacific League to the Major Leagues smoothly? Is Dane Dunning ready for the ball every fifth day? Does Mike Foltynewicz have anything left in the tank?

Kyle Gibson had a horrendous start to his Rangers career, after signing a 3 YR/ $28M deal the year prior. He’ll need to rebound for the Rangers to have any hope of competing in a difficult American League West Division. Gibson walked a career-high four hitters per nine innings last year and puts too many runners on base in general. Dunning was a great addition, acquired in the Lance Lynn trade from the Chicago White Sox, though has only made seven big league appearances. He may be another year away from really contributing.

This might be Jordan Lykes and Foltynewicz’s last shot at proving they can still perform at the highest level.

28) Baltimore Orioles

Projected 2021 Starting Rotation: John Means, Keegan Akin, Dean Kremer, Jorge Lopez, Bruce Zimmermann

2020 Stats: W/L 12-22, 5.09 ERA, 5.06 FIP, 3.0 fWAR

John Means was an All-Star in 2019 as well as a 12 game-winner. Sadly, his 2020 didn’t go well. If he can keep the ball in the park he has the potential to turn a few heads in the American League East.

The Orioles expect big things out of Keegan Akin in his second year. The former second-round draft pick had a 12.3 K/9 rate a year ago in limited time. Dean Kremer posted a FIP of 2.76 a year ago in limited action and looks to build on a strong performance in his four starts.

Jorge Lopez is a veteran vagabond and Bruce Zimmermann who is looking to crack the rotation, though may find himself in the minors another year. The Orioles have a youthful rotation who may be a few years away from doing serious damage. There will be growing pains at Camden Yards this year, but watching the future will be exciting.

27) Colorado Rockies

Projected 2021 Starting Rotation: German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, Antonio Senzatela, Jon Gray, Austin Gomber

2020 Stats: W/L 14-23, 4.83 ERA, 4.88 FIP, 4.1 fWAR

If you want an analysis on the Rockies, see the first line for the Pirates. Colorado hasn’t signed a major league free agent in years and just sold off Nolan Arenado. They are playing for the future, the distant future. There is a possibility the starting rotation ends up being a strength for this team. On paper, they have shown flashes in the past.

German Marquez and Kyle Freeland have put up stellar numbers before, but have been plagued by inconsistencies. Freeland won 17 games with a 2.85 ERA in 2018, and Marquez led the league in games started and innings pitched a year ago. Unfortunately, the Rockies never know what version of them will show up on game day. Jon Gray hasn’t lived up to the high expectations he carries, being a former first-round pick.

After two straight disastrous seasons from the Rockies’ rotation, their starters will be on a short leash and will be facing the possibility of being released.

26) Arizona Diamondbacks

Projected 2021 Starting Rotation: Zac Gallen, Caleb Smith, Madison Bumgarner, Luke Weaver, Alex Young

2020 Stats: W/L 10-25, 5.04 ERA, 5.12 FIP, 1.9 fWAR

After an atrocious performance from the Diamondbacks starting rotation a year ago, there is nowhere to go but up for this pitching staff. Gone is Robbie Ray and the rotation will feature no new faces. Their productivity will hinge on the health of Madison Bumgarner and whether prospect Zac Gallen can continue his strong efforts (2.78 ERA over 27 career starts).

Luke Weaver lost more games than any other pitcher in the league a year ago, and his 6.58 ERA was unsightly. He is a former first-round pick who has shown he can get hitters out on a regular basis. Alex Young may lose his starting job to Merrill Kelly, who pitched well in five starts a year ago.

One fact about the matter, with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres bulking up this offseason, this year may be a long one for Diamondbacks pitching coach Matt Herges.