Power Ranking MLB's Top 5 Pitching Rotations Heading into 2012 Season

Stephen Meyer@@StephenMeyer_BRDeputy MLB EditorFebruary 13, 2012

All great rotations begin with a trustworthy ace capable of shutting out an opponent every time he toes the rubber.

Depth is important, and it takes three to four high quality arms to win, but no team since the 2005 White Sox has a ring without a dominant ace.

When compiling MLB’s top rotations heading into the 2012 season, I wanted to take into account all arms from No. 1 to No. 5 (or more) on the depth chart. But I valued a top heavy rotation of multiple superstars over a solid overall group without a big game bulldog.

Big names like C.J. Wilson, Mat Latos, Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Michael Pineda have changed addresses this offseason, and it is an interesting debate how this has impacted the league’s rotation rankings.

Some notable teams that have been omitted from the list include:

Texas Rangers: I am not sold on Neftali Feliz experiencing instant success in the rotation,  and losing C.J. Wilson hurts. Yu Darvish has a lot to prove in MLB with no stateside track record as well.

Atlanta Braves: Derek Lowe is easily replaceable, and they have a ton of young arms ready for their shot at the back-end. Can they step up and provide 25-30 MLB starts? Time will tell.

New York Yankees: A.J. Burnett appears on his way out, and Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda will help a TON. Ivan Nova should progress even further and CC Sabathia is a stud ace, but there are question marks surrounding everyone two through five.

Florida Marlins: A starting five of Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, Mark Buehrle, Ricky Nolasco and Carlos Zambrano is full of depth and experience. There are question marks based on durability, attitude and league/division switches, but Ozzie Guillen has a solid foundation to work with on the mound.

Feel free to make the case for any of these omissions in the comment section or add more of your own, as I would love to debate some baseball with all of you.

Here we go, starting off with the defending World Series Champions at No. 5:

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