Tampa Bay Rays fans have been spoiled by great starting pitching over the past few years. Although the rotation has had a bit of a different look each season, the overall result has been positive year after year.
The secret to the Rays' starting pitching success is homegrown talent, which is the reason why many are expecting the Rays' rotation to have yet another excellent season in 2013. No organization develops young pitchers into quality major league starters like the Rays do.
In 2013, Tampa is faced with a new challenge: Replacing James Shields—an ace who provides the team with over 200 innings.
With Shields, the Rays had the best rotation in all of baseball last season. Without him, it'll be very tough to be as dominant.
The starting five will be led by reigning Cy Young Award winner David Price, followed by Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore and Alex Cobb. The fifth spot in the rotation will be competed for by four pitchers—Roberto Hernandez (formerly known as Fausto Carmona), Jeff Niemann, Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi.
The Rays have eight starters in the mix that would make the starting rotation on almost all MLB clubs, and not many teams—if any—can say that.
Tampa Bay is not the only team in the AL East that'll show off their arms in 2013, though, as the division will only get tougher this year.
There are some exciting new starting pitching additions—most notably on the Blue Jays—that aren't going to make Rays hitters' lives any easier.
Without further delay, here's my ranking of the five AL East rotations.