MLB Power Rankings: Most Dominant Rotations in 2012

Devin Noonan@@devinnoonanCorrespondent IIIMay 30, 2012

MLB Power Rankings: Most Dominant Rotations in 2012

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    The 2012 MLB season has been full of pitching surprises.

    Atlanta Braves starter Brandon Beachy leads the league with a 1.77 ERA thus far.

    His teammate Jair Jurrjens—who led the NL in ERA at the All-Star break last year—has been sent down to the minors to figure things out.

    Tim Lincecum, who won back to back NL Cy Young Awards in 2008 and 2009, boasts a 6.41 ERA.

    Enough about individual statistics though. Let's take a look at how each team's starting rotation stacks up in the current MLB Power Rankings, from bottom to top.

30. Colorado Rockies

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    The Colorado Rockies are expected to let up more runs with the thin air they play in at Coors Field. But so far this season, they've simply been getting shelled.

    You know you're in for a rough season when every single starter has a plus 5.00 ERA.

29. Minnesota Twins

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    Francisco Liriano is back—though he has an 0-5 record and an 8.47 ERA.

    Carl Pavano hasn't been much better at the top of the rotation, going 2-4 thus far with a 5.46 ERA.

    The Twins' pitching staff leads the MLB in HR allowed this season with 69.

    This rotation needs a miracle at this point if they have any hope of competing in the AL Central.

28. Boston Red Sox

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    The Boston Red Sox have failed to live up to any expectations this year. 

    Josh Beckett is having a below average year with a 4.15 ERA, Jon Lester has a 4.76 ERA, and Clay Buchholz has a whopping 7.16 ERA to this point.

    If these guys don't turn their season around and quick, this team will not be able to compete in the race for the AL East.

27. Cleveland Indians

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    The Cleveland Indians are in the hunt to tops the AL Central.

    This comes to many as a surprise, considering star pitchers Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez both boast a plus 5.00 ERA.

    Derek Lowe is 6-2 on the year so far and leads the staff with a 3.25 ERA. Clearly age is not a factor for him, but he needs some help from the rest of the rotation.

26. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Zack Greinke with his 62 strikeouts and 3.66 ERA mirrors Shaun Marcum's performance of 58 strikeouts and a 3.63 ERA for the Milwaukee Brewers.

    Now all they need is a little help from ace of the staff Yovani Gallardo and veteran Randy Wolf if they have any hope of competing in a very tough NL Central race.

25. New York Mets

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    Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey has jumped out to a phenomenal 7-1 start this season.

    Johan Santana is starting to look like the Johan of old, going 2-2 with a 2.75 ERA and 60 Ks thus far.

    Unfortunately for the New York Mets, not much else can be said about the rest of the staff, with Mike Pelfrey out for the season and Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee having mediocre years.

24. Kansas City Royals

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    The Kansas City Royals' rotation is in severe need of some bolstering. Bruce Chen is at the top of the rotation, although he's having an arguably OK season thus far with a 4.86 ERA.

    Luke Hochevar has not pitched well to this point either with his 6.19 ERA.

    Felipe Paulino is about the only bright spot in the rotation right now at 2-1 with an impressive 2.03 ERA.

    22-year-old Will Smith has taken the injured Danny Duffy's spot in the rotation and is hoping to make a name for himself as the season progresses.

23. Chicago Cubs

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    The Chicago Cubs currently sit at the bottom of the NL Central.

    Despite the fact the Ryan Dempster boasts a 2.14 ERA, he is still sitting at 0-3 on the season.

    Jeff Samardzija has looked great since given the opportunity to start, going 5-3 with 65 Ks and a 3.06 ERA.

    Meanwhile Matt Garza's performance as of late has been suspect at best, raising his ERA from 2.67 to 4.22 over the past four games.

22. New York Yankees

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    Michael Pineda went down before ever starting a game this season, but luckily for the New York Yankees, Andy Pettitte is back to help.

    Ivan Nova (5.46 ERA) isn't pitching as well as he did last year, and Phil Hughes still remains a mystery to us all.

    Hiroki Kuroda hasn't been bad, but it has been hit or miss in his starts thus far.

    C.C. Sabathia is 6-2 with a 3.66 ERA, the only sure thing in their rotation at this point.

21. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    The Arizona Diamondbacks have been off to a bit of a rocky start this season.

    Daniel Hudson missed a month with a shoulder injury and just rejoined the rotation.

    Ian Kennedy has not looked remotely close to the man we saw all last year, with a current 4.65 ERA.

    Joe Saunders, Trevor Cahill and Wade Miley have been holding it together for this rotation so far, which leaves some hope for a turnaround if they continue to pitch the way they have.

20. Toronto Blue Jays

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    At this point, the Toronto Blue Jays' pitching staff—led by Brandon Morrow—is nothing more than your average rotation. 

    For starters, they lead the MLB in walks.

    Despite Ricky Romero's 6-1 record, he still has a 4.04 ERA—which is a bit high for him.

    21-year-old Drew Hutchison has shown some promise, but still has tons of room for growth.

    Hudson Alvarez has been throwing the ball fairly well, though Kyle Drabek is going to need to throw better to help the Toronto Blue Jays compete in the AL East.

19. Atlanta Braves

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    Brandon Beachy has given the Atlanta Braves all they could ask of him, leading the league with a 1.77 ERA to this point. 

    Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson are both quality starters that can shut down any team on any given day as well.

    The team had to shockingly send Jair Jurrjens to the minors to sort out his issues, but are hopeful for his return soon. 

    In the meantime, Mike Minor and Randall Delgado need to step up with some quality outings to keep the Atlanta Braves in the hunt.

18. Detroit Tigers

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    Last year's AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander has led the charge for the Detroit Tigers pitching staff, as expected.

    Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello have not thrown well this year—a major let down for this potential first-place team.

    Doug Fister and Drew Smyly are both just above the 3.00 ERA mark, which makes you wonder what this rotation can really do if they start clicking on all cylinders.

17. San Diego Padres

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    The San Diego Padres made a surprise move naming Edinson Volquez their No. 1 starter this offseason. He's thrown pretty well thus far.

    Tim Stauffer is on the DL until the end of the month and Cory Luebke is out for the season.

    This means that guys like Jeff Suppan and Clayton Richard are going to need to step up big time to help this team emerge from the bottom of the NL West.

16. Seattle Mariners

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    Felix Hernandez is not having his best year, although he's still throwing well with a 3.17 ERA and 75 Ks.

    Jason Vargas and Kevin Millwood have also been pretty good off the hill thus far, both with ERAs around 3.50.

    The team has held opponents to a .236 batting average, which is rather impressive.

    Unfortunately for the Seattle Mariners, they simply cannot compete with the likes of the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels in a very tough AL West division.

15. Chicago White Sox

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    Chris Sale has been dealing like the best of them all season long. He is currently 6-2 with a 2.36 ERA, ranking amongst the top 10 in the MLB.

    Jake Peavy is 6-1 with a 3.07 ERA, and is starting to look like the man we saw in San Diego.

    The White Sox now need Gavin Floyd and Philip Humber to step up if they want to stay atop the AL Central.

    Hopefully John Danks will throw better upon his return from the DL as well.

14. Baltimore Orioles

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    The Baltimore Orioles have surprised a ton of people this year, currently tied for the lead in a very tough AL East.

    Their pitching has been led by Jason Hammel at 6-2 with a 3.06 ERA and Wei-Yin Chin who is 4-1 with a 3.31 ERA.

    If they can get some more quality starts out of Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz, this team could still be a contender come September.

13. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Cole Hamels is 8-1 with a 2.43 ERA.

    Cliff Lee is still winless but holds a 2.82 ERA.

    Veteran Roy Halladay has been plagued by a shoulder injury all year and was just put on the DL.

    With Halladay out, Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick will need to step up and produce if the Philadelphia Phillies are going to compete for the NL East.

12. Oakland Athletics

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    Brandon McCarthy and youngster Jarrod Parker have led the way for the Oakland Athletics this year, both posting ERAs under 3.00 to date. McCarthy is currently out on the DL for a shoulder injury but is expected to return soon.

    Tommy Milone has pitched well in the second spot of the rotation, with a handful of quality starts thus far.

    Bartolo Colon has proven that he can still pitch at a major league level, although we'll see how the long season wears on him.

    Tyson Ross has struggled all year long to round out the rotation going 2-6 with a 5.96 ERA.

11. Houston Astros

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    Wandy Rodriguez has been the focal point of the Houston Astros pitching staff this season, ranking among the top 10 in the majors with a stellar ERA of 2.49.

    Lucas Harrell (4-3 3.72 ERA) and Bud Norris (5-1 3.34) have thrown very well in the second and third spots of the rotation.

    J.A. Happ has turned it on as of late, surrendering only three earned runs in his last three starts collectively.

    With Kyle Weiland out on the DL, the Astros have given 21-year-old Jordan Lyles some chances to make an impression at the big-league level, but he's still not quite ready.

10. St. Louis Cardinals

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    The St. Louis Cardinals' starting five have surprised a lot of people so far this season.

    Lance Lynn and Kyle Lohse both have ERAs under 3.00 and have a combined 13-2 record.

    Jake Westbrook and Jaime Garcia have thrown pretty well themselves, and Adam Wainwright is starting to improve upon some of his most recent performances.

    Now the only problem they'll have is figuring out what to do with Chris Carpenter when he comes off of the DL.

9. Miami Marlins

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    Carlos Zambrano has struggled with command and consistency these past few years, and despite his 27 walks thus far he still boasts a 3.00 ERA.

    Anibal Sanchez has been great thus far with 67 Ks and a 2.57 ERA, and Mark Buehrle continues to produce results with a 3.26 ERA himself.

    This staff will be even better if Josh Johnson starts living up to expectations.

8. Cincinnati Reds

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    The Cincinnati Reds have been getting quality starts from their pitching staff for the most part this season, with Mat Latos (4-2 4.58) and Johnny Cueto (5-2 2.54 ERA) leading the way.

    They moved hurler Aroldis Chapman to the bullpen early on and have been getting quality starts from his replacement Homer Bailey.

    Now if Mike Leake can just get it together, this staff will be a force to be reckoned with.

7. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Not many baseball fans would have been able to tell you that James McDonald would nearly cut his ERA in half this season, going from 4.21 ERA to a 2.20 ERA.

    Ace of the staff Erik Bedard (3.12 ERA) has thrown well, and the addition of A.J. Burnett (4-2 3.60 ERA) has helped strengthen the back end of their rotation.

    The Pittsburgh Pirates rank third in ERA and are holding opponents to a .243 batting average.

6. Tampa Bay Rays

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    The Tampa Bay Rays have done a great job of preserving young talent and bringing in role players for years. Their pitching staff can easily be considered one of the best in the league.

    It's not easy facing the big bats of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox all the time, but David Price (6-3 2.71 ERA) and Jeremy Hellickson (4-1 2.83 ERA) have pitched phenomenally thus far. 

    James Shields has 74 Ks and is 6-3 with his 3.95 ERA.

5. San Francisco Giants

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    The San Francisco Giants arguably have the best rotation in the MLB, although ace Tim Lincecum currently has an ERA over 6.00. It's only a matter of time until he gets back on track.

    Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito all continue to give opposing lineups a tough time.

    Opponents are only hitting .239 against the squad so far this season.

4. Los Angeles Angels

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    Ace of the staff Jered Weaver has been lights out once again, throwing a no-hitter in early May against the Minnesota Twins. Unfortunately, he has just been placed on the 15-day DL with a back injury.

    The staff is still strong with their 3.40 ERA. Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson and Jerome Williams have all been holding their own.

    Ervin Santana hasn't been at his best so far this season, but just like slugger Albert Pujols, he's starting to turn it around.

    The staff currently leads the league with seven shutouts and four complete games.

3. Texas Rangers

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    What else did Yu expect? Probably not a 7-2 record and a 3.25 ERA from the Japanese hurler Yu Darvish.

    Colby Lewis and Derrek Holland are pitching well with a 3.58 ERA and 4.05 ERA respectively.

    With a recent injury to Neftali Feliz, they've brought in Roy Oswalt to help strengthen the back end of an already excellent staff.

    With their offense as dangerous as it is, their pitching staff is more than capable of getting the job done.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Is there anything the Los Angeles Dodgers can't do?

    Their pitching staff is led by the always reliable Clayton Kershaw and a rejuvenated Chris Capuano who are both hovering around a 2.00 ERA and have combined for an 11-3 record thus far.

    Opponents seem lost at the plate against this rotation, hitting only .224 to this point in the season.

    Ted Lilly's move to the DL hurt them a little, but they've got enough depth to manage until he returns.

1. Washington Nationals

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    The Washington Nationals are sitting atop the NL East thanks to their rock solid pitching performance thus far.

    Led by hurlers Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg, their team currently has a sub-3.00 ERA and is holding opponents to a .220 batting average.