MLB Power Rankings: Re-Ranking All 30 MLB Rotations at the Quarter Mark

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2014

MLB Power Rankings: Re-Ranking All 30 MLB Rotations at the Quarter Mark

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    It's been proven time and again that pitching wins championships. While the Boston Red Sox got to the postseason last year on the strength of the league's No. 1 offense, their pitching staff stepped up big in the playoffs and helped them claim the title.

    At the beginning of the season, I wrote an article ranking all 30 MLB starting rotations. With the regular season a quarter of the way done, it's time to update those rankings, and what follows is a look at how all 30 rotations stack up here in the middle of May.

    It's important to note that these rankings are not based on what the rotation could look like at midseason or come playoff time but rather how they stand right now. In other words, injuries have to be taken into account.

    Outside of the current rotation, I've included a look at any other pitchers who have made a start this season*. However, those guys did not factor into the rankings, at least not in a positive way.

     

    Note: All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference, unless otherwise noted. All rotation and injury information courtesy of MLBDepthCharts.com.

    *Stats for pitchers who have pitched in both starting and relief roles this season reflect only what they have done as starters.

30. Minnesota Twins (Previous: 25)

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Starter's ERA: 5.45, 30th in MLB

    Quality starts: 15/38 (39.5%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Ricky Nolasco8 GS, 2-3, 5.51 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 12 BB, 34 K, 50.2 IP
    RHP Kevin Correia8 GS, 1-5, 6.80 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 12 BB, 20 K, 42.1 IP
    RHP Phil Hughes7 GS, 4-1, 3.92 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 6 BB, 32 K, 41.1 IP
    RHP Samuel Deduno2 GS, 0-1, 4.91 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 3 BB, 7 K, 11.0 IP
    RHP Kyle Gibson7 GS, 3-3, 4.74 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 18 BB, 17 K, 38.0 IP

    Other starters: Mike Pelfrey (injured), Kris Johnson (spot start)

     

    Overview

    So much for shoring up their starting pitching with the additions of Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, as the Twins actually have a higher starter's ERA in 2014 than their MLB-worst 5.26 mark from a year ago.

    Hughes has been the team's best starter by far, turning in four straight quality starts after a rocky start to the season. The rest of the staff has been a mess though, with Kyle Gibson in particular falling off after a terrific start to the season.

29. Arizona Diamondbacks (Previous: 18)

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    Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 5.20, 29th in MLB

    Quality starts: 14/43 (32.6%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Brandon McCarthy9 GS, 1-6, 5.01 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 10 BB, 52 K, 55.2 IP
    LHP Wade Miley9 GS, 3-3, 4.82 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 18 BB, 46 K, 56.0 IP
    RHP Bronson Arroyo8 GS, 4-2, 4.15 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 12 BB, 27 K, 47.2 IP
    RHP Josh Collmenter6 GS, 1-2, 4.28 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 7 BB, 21 K, 33.2 IP
    RHP Chase Anderson1 GS, 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 1 BB, 6 K, 5.1 IP

    Other starters: Michael Bolsinger (demoted), Trevor Cahill (bullpen), Randall Delgado (bullpen)

     

    Overview

    Entering the season, the general consensus on the Diamondbacks was that they had a solid rotation from top to bottom but were lacking a true staff ace. That second part has certainly been true, but their starting pitching has been anything but solid to this point.

    Veteran Bronson Arroyo has thrown the ball great recently, going 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA in May, and rookie Chase Anderson looked very good in his first career start. Consistency throughout the entire rotation remains a major issue, though, and the lack of reliable starting pitching is a big reason why the team is off to such a terrible start.

28. Texas Rangers (Previous: 28)

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Starter's ERA: 4.60, 27th in MLB

    Quality starts: 13/41 (31.7%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Yu Darvish7 GS, 3-1, 2.33 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 13 BB, 54 K, 46.1 IP
    LHP Robbie Ross8 GS, 1-4, 5.04 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 12 BB, 32 K, 44.2 IP
    RHP Colby Lewis6 GS, 3-2, 4.99 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 7 BB, 29 K, 30.2 IP
    RHP Nicholas Tepesch1 GS, 0-0, 1.69 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 3 BB, 8 K, 5.1 IP
    RHP Nick Martinez2 GS, 0-0, 4.09 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 6 BB, 4 K, 11.0 IP

    Other starters: Matt Harrison (injured), Martin Perez (injured), Joe Saunders (injured), Tanner Scheppers (injured)

     

    Overview

    It was a rough day for the Rangers rotation on Wednesday, as news broke that both Matt Harrison and Martin Perez could be lost for the season. According to Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram, Harrison will undergo spinal fusion surgery to relieve pain in his back, while Perez has a partial tear of his UCL and is likely headed for Tommy John surgery.

    The unit still ranks ahead of the Twins and Diamondbacks thanks to one of the game's true staff aces in Yu Darvish, but it will be a patchwork rotation once again with Nicholas Tepesch being called up to fill one spot and Nick Martinez returning to the rotation after spending time in the pen. The team also purchased the contract of veteran Scott Baker, and he could wind up seeing time in the rotation as well.

27. Chicago White Sox (Previous: 22)

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    Brian Kersey/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 5.13, 28th in MLB

    Quality starts: 22/42 (52.4%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    LHP Jose Quintana8 GS, 1-3, 3.67 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 13 BB, 40 K, 49.0 IP
    LHP John Danks8 GS, 3-3, 4.88 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 23 BB, 34 K, 48.0 IP
    RHP Andre Rienzo5 GS, 3-0, 4.34 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 13 BB, 16 K, 29.0 IP
    RHP Scott Carroll4 GS, 1-3, 5.24 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 6 BB, 7 K, 22.1 IP
    RHP Hector Noesi3 GS, 0-2, 4.91 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 5 BB, 12 K, 14.2 IP

    Other starters: Erik Johnson (demoted), Charles Leesman (spot start), Felipe Paulino (injured), Chris Sale (injured)

     

    Overview

    While ace Chris Sale is on the mend and set to begin a rehab assignment on Thursday, per Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, he does nothing to boost the White Sox ranking at this point. Without him, they are a poor rotation at best.

    Jose Quintana continues to quietly be one of the better left-handed pitchers in the game, and veteran John Danks has at least been passable after battling injuries over the past few seasons. The other three spots in the rotation have been a revolving door, though, and much more was expected from top prospect Erik Johnson, who wound up being demoted.

26. New York Yankees (Previous: 15)

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Starter's ERA: 4.24, 23rd in MLB

    Quality starts: 19/39 (48.7%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats (*=stats in minors)
    RHP Hiroki Kuroda8 GS, 2-3, 4.62 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 7 BB, 36 K, 48.2 IP
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka8 GS, 6-0, 2.17 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 7 BB, 66 K, 58.0 IP
    LHP Vidal Nuno5 GS, 1-1, 4.94 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 12 BB, 16 K, 23.2 IP
    RHP David Phelps2 GS, 0-0, 4.35 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 4 BB, 4 K, 10.1 IP
    RHP Chase Whitley*6 GS, 3-2, 2.38 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 7 BB, 32 K, 26.1 IP 

    Other starters: Ivan Nova (injured), Michael Pineda (injured), CC Sabathia (injured)

     

    Overview

    Another team hit hard by injuries, the Yankees have three-fifths of their Opening Day rotation currently on the disabled list, including Ivan Nova, who is lost for the season.

    Masahiro Tanaka has more than lived up to the lofty expectations and is clearly the ace of the staff at this point, while veteran Hiroki Kuroda remains a passable option, but the rest of the staff beyond those two is a question mark.

    Prospect Chase Whitley will make his debut starting in place of CC Sabathia after putting up solid numbers through seven games (six starts) in Triple-A. At this point, he may very well be a better option than Sabathia anyway, and if he pitches well he has a chance to hold onto a spot in the rotation.

25. Tampa Bay Rays (Previous: 3)

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Starter's ERA: 4.12, 19th in MLB

    Quality starts: 14/41 (34.1%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    LHP David Price9 GS, 4-3, 4.02 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 6 BB, 70 K, 62.2 IP
    LHP Erik Bedard5 GS, 2-1, 3.65 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 13 BB, 17 K, 24.2 IP
    RHP Chris Archer8 GS, 2-2, 5.16 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 15 BB, 36 K, 45.1 IP
    RHP Jake Odorizzi8 GS, 2-3, 4.89 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 18 BB, 44 K, 38.2 IP
    LHP Cesar Ramos6 GS, 1-2, 4.03 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 16 BB, 20 K, 29.0 IP

    Other starters: Alex Cobb (injured), Matt Moore (injured)

     

    Overview

    The Rays were expected to have one of the best rotations in baseball heading into the season, evidenced by my ranking of them in the No. 3 spot on Opening Day, but things have not panned out to this point.

    A season-ending injury to Matt Moore and an oblique issue for Alex Cobb has left them with Erik Bedard and Cesar Ramos filling two rotation spots, who have both actually pitched better than the likes of David Price and Chris Archer at times.

    Archer and rookie Jake Odorizzi have both been major disappointments, while ace David Price has been unable to step up and carry the staff like you would expect your ace to do. Getting Cobb back will certainly help, and he threw his first simulated game on Friday as he slowly makes his way back to Tampa.

24. Baltimore Orioles (Previous: 16)

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Starter's ERA: 4.25, 24th in MLB

    Quality starts: 13/38 (34.2%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Chris Tillman8 GS, 3-2, 3.97 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 19 BB, 40 K, 47.2 IP
    RHP Ubaldo Jimenez8 GS, 2-4, 4.02 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 22 BB, 41 K, 47.0 IP
    LHP Wei-Yin Chen7 GS, 4-2, 3.95 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 9 BB, 32 K, 41.0 IP
    RHP Bud Norris7 GS, 2-3, 3.98 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 13 BB, 32 K, 43.0 IP
    RHP Kevin Gausman1 GS, 0-1, 11.25 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 2 BB, 2 K, 4.0 IP

    Other starters: Miguel Gonzalez (bullpen)

     

    Overview

    Over the past two seasons, the Orioles have been a strong team both offensively and defensively, but they have lacked the starting pitching to be anything beyond fringe contenders. This season looks to be no different, as they have a solid staff of arms but lack a true front-line starter.

    Perennial slow starter Ubaldo Jimenez has started to right the ship with a 2.32 ERA over his last five starts, while Chris Tillman and Bud Norris have both put up above average numbers, but this is still not a rotation that stacks up to the rest of the AL contenders.

    Top prospect Kevin Gausman got the call to start on Wednesday and was roughed up by the Detroit Tigers. He has a chance to be a real X-factor for this team, but he'll have to pitch better than he did in his season debut.

23. Pittsburgh Pirates (Previous: 11)

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    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 4.40, 26th in MLB

    Quality starts: 18/39 (46.2%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    LHP Francisco Liriano9 GS, 0-3, 4.25 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 22 BB, 49 K, 48.2 IP
    RHP Charlie Morton8 GS, 0-5, 3.22 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 17 BB, 31 K, 50.1 IP
    RHP Gerrit Cole8 GS, 3-3, 3.76 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 16 BB, 45 K, 52.2 IP
    RHP Edinson Volquez7 GS, 1-3, 4.57 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 13 BB, 23 K, 41.1 IP
    LHP Wandy Rodriguez4 GS, 0-2, 7.65 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 6 BB, 16 K, 20.0 IP

    Other starters: Brandon Cumpton (demoted), Jeff Locke (spot start)

     

    Overview

    A strength of the team last year on their way to a playoff appearance, the starting rotation has taken a big step backward for the Pirates in 2014. With Francisco Liriano not pitching anywhere near the level he did last year, the team lacks an ace to lean on, while Gerrit Cole has not taken the big step forward that many predicted he would.

    Wandy Rodriguez will return from a DL stint to take the ball on Thursday, and the team is certainly hoping he's a different pitcher than the one who showed up for his first four starts of the season. Edinson Volquez has been better than expected, and Charlie Morton remains a solid option, but this is a team that undoubtedly misses A.J. Burnett.

22. Toronto Blue Jays (Previous: 23)

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 4.19, t-21st in MLB

    Quality starts: 18/41 (43.9%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP R.A. Dickey9 GS, 4-3, 4.53 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 27 BB, 47 K, 53.2 IP
    RHP Drew Hutchison8 GS, 1-3, 4.37 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 15 BB, 49 K, 45.1 IP
    LHP Mark Buehrle8 GS, 7-1, 2.04 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 17 BB, 31 K, 53.0 IP
    RHP Dustin McGowan8 GS, 2-2, 5.08 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 17 BB, 25 K, 39.0 IP
    LHP J.A. Happ2 GS, 1-1, 4.91 ERA, 2.05 WHIP, 5 BB, 6 K, 7.1 IP

    Other starters: Brandon Morrow (injured)

     

    Overview

    The Blue Jays opted against adding a starter in the offseason, instead counting on a handful of in-house options to bounce back from injury-plagued or disappointing seasons in 2013. That plan has not worked out so far, as Brandon Morrow has landed on the DL once again and no one outside of Mark Buehrle has an ERA under 4.00.

    Buehrle has been sensational, though, as he currently leads the AL in wins and is tied with Max Scherzer for the ERA lead as well. Fellow veteran R.A. Dickey has managed six quality starts in nine outings, but his peripheral numbers are poor, and he's far from a reliable No. 2 starter.

    There is help on the way in the form of top prospects Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman, the latter of which has already been called up and is currently pitching out of the bullpen. However, it's looking more and more like the Blue Jays should have made a play for one of the market's top arms this winter.

21. Houston Astros (Previous: 30)

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    Jim Cowsert/Associated Press

    Starter's ERA: 4.17, 20th in MLB

    Quality starts: 20/41 (48.8%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Scott Feldman6 GS, 2-1, 2.63 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 10 BB, 18 K, 37.2 IP
    RHP Jarred Cosart8 GS, 2-3, 4.30 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 20 BB, 31 K, 44.0 IP
    RHP Brad Peacock5 GS, 0-3, 4.40 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 18 BB, 28 K, 28.2 IP
    LHP Dallas Keuchel8 GS, 4-2, 3.06 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11 BB, 47 K, 53.0 IP
    RHP Collin McHugh4 GS, 2-1, 2.81 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 6 BB, 27 K, 25.2 IP

    Other starters:  Lucas Harrell (traded), Brett Oberholtzer (demoted)

     

    Overview

    It's not a pretty group on paper, but the Astros' starting pitching has been substantially improved over last season, when they posted a combined 4.72 ERA and won just 37 games as a staff.

    Scott Feldman has been a nice addition, but he has not pitched as well as his numbers may suggest, as a 4.38 FIP and .239 BABIP make him a prime candidate for regression. Still, he brings a needed veteran arm to their young staff.

    Dallas Keuchel has quietly been the team's best starter, while Collin McHugh has been a nice scrapheap find after being selected off waivers from the Colorado Rockies in the offseason. How long this staff holds up remains to be seen, but for the time being they're exceeding expectations. 

20. Cleveland Indians (Previous: 9)

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 4.26, 25th in MLB

    Quality starts: 20/40 (50.0%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Justin Masterson 9 GS, 2-2, 4.31 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 23 BB, 52 K, 54.1 IP
    RHP Corey Kluber9 GS, 4-3, 3.38 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 13 BB, 66 K, 58.2 IP
    RHP Zach McAllister8 GS, 3-3, 3.89 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 14 BB, 38 K, 44 IP
    RHP Danny Salazar7 GS, 1-3, 5.65 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 15 BB, 44 K, 36.2 IP
    RHP Josh Tomlin2 GS, 2-0, 2.13 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 1 BB, 6 K, 12.2 IP

    Other starters: Trevor Bauer (spot start), Carlos Carrasco (bullpen)

     

    Overview

    With Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir departing in free agency, there was some question as to how effective the Indians rotation would be this season, but with the emergence of Corey Kluber and a budding star in Danny Salazar, it still looked to be in decent shape.

    Kluber has been solid so far this season, but Salazar has struggled mightily. Free-agent-to-be and staff ace Justin Masterson has not been nearly as effective as he was last year, either, and the team needs him to get on track more than anything.

    Zach McAllister remains a useful middle-of-the-rotation arm, and the team finally seems to have figured out the No. 5 starter spot by replacing Carlos Carrasco (0-3, 6.95 ERA) with Josh Tomlin. Still, this has not been nearly as good a rotation as it was last season.

19. Colorado Rockies (Previous: 24)

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 4.19, t-21st in MLB

    Quality starts: 21/42 (50.0%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    LHP Jorge De La Rosa8 GS, 4-3, 4.81 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 19 BB, 36 K, 43.0 IP
    LHP Franklin Morales8 GS, 3-3, 5.52 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 19 BB, 31 K, 45.2 IP
    RHP Jordan Lyles8 GS, 5-0, 2.66 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 14 BB, 32 K, 50.2 IP
    RHP Juan Nicasio8 GS, 4-2, 3.77 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 14 BB, 30 K, 45.1 IP
    RHP Jhoulys Chacin3 GS, 0-2, 4.76 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 8 BB, 7 K, 17.0 IP

    Other starters: Brett Anderson (injured), Tyler Chatwood (injured)

     

    Overview

    The Rockies starting rotation has the benefit of being backed by the best offense in baseball, a group that has averaged a whopping 5.55 runs per game so far this season. That being said, this is a significantly improved Rockies rotation, regardless of what the team is doing at the plate.

    The emergence of Charlie Blackmon in center field coupled with the acquisition of the team's most consistent starter to this point in Jordan Lyles makes the decision to trade Dexter Fowler one of the best of the offseason.

    Ace Jhoulys Chacin is still rounding into form after missing the start of the season with shoulder problems, and he's not the only starter that has been slowed by injury. Getting Tyler Chatwood and Brett Anderson back healthy would give this staff a big boost, but even as things stand they have gone from terrible to middle-of-the-road as far as their starting pitching is concerned.

18. Miami Marlins (Previous: 14)

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    Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 3.53, 10th in MLB

    Quality starts: 24/41 (58.5%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi8 GS, 2-1, 2.86 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 10 BB, 48 K, 50.1 IP
    RHP Henderson Alvarez8 GS, 2-3, 3.33 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 14 BB, 31 K, 48.2 IP
    RHP Tom Koehler8 GS, 3-3, 2.57 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 22 BB, 30 K, 49.0 IP
    RHP Jacob Turner4 GS, 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 6 BB, 10 K, 21.1 IP
    RHP Anthony DeSclafani1 GS, 1-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 1 BB, 7 K, 6.0 IP

    Other starters: Jose Fernandez (injured), Kevin Slowey (bullpen)

     

    Overview

    The Marlins would have had a great chance at cracking the top 10 of these rankings prior to the Jose Fernandez injury, as it can't be overstated just how much he meant not only to their rotation but to the success of their team as a whole.

    Even with Fernandez gone, though, they have a solid trio of starters in budding stars Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez and Tom Koehler. Jacob Turner is more than capable of pitching on their level as well, and he's looking to get his season on track after dealing with a shoulder strain at the beginning of the year.

    The No. 5 spot will take some sorting out, as prospect Anthony DeSclafani made his big league debut on Wednesday and certainly pitched well enough to garner a second look. The team also signed veteran Randy Wolf on Wednesday, per Jayson Stark of ESPN, in order to provide some depth. 

17. Chicago Cubs (Previous: 27)

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Starter's ERA: 3.72, 14th in MLB

    Quality starts: 21/38 (55.3%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Jeff Samardzija8 GS, 0-3, 1.45 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 16 BB, 45 K, 56.0 IP
    RHP Edwin Jackson8 GS, 2-3, 4.56 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 19 BB, 38 K, 47.1 IP
    RHP Jason Hammel7 GS, 4-1, 2.45 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 10 BB, 37 K, 47.2 IP
    LHP Travis Wood8 GS, 3-4, 4.91 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 15 BB, 44 K, 47.2 IP
    RHP Jake Arrieta3 GS, 0-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, 8 BB, 13 K, 13.1 IP

    Other starters: Carlos Villanueva (bullpen)

     

    Overview

    A complete lack of offensive consistency and a shaky bullpen have been the biggest culprits in the Cubs' early-season struggles, as their starting rotation has actually been solid.

    Ace Jeff Samardzija is winless in eight starts despite currently ranking second in the NL with a 1.45 ERA. He has also posted a sterling 1.05 WHIP and .215 BAA, as he's undoubtedly been one of the best pitchers in the league. Both he and offseason addition Jason Hammel could be hot commodities at the trade deadline if they keep pitching like they have.

    Veterans Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood have both been hit-and-miss so far this year, but both are capable of being solid middle-of-the-rotation innings-eaters. The real wild card here is Jake Arrieta, who could establish himself as a piece of the team's future if he can pitch well this season after being sidelined early with shoulder issues.

16. New York Mets (Previous: 12)

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 4.03, 17th in MLB

    Quality starts: 25/39 (64.1%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats (*=stats in minors)
    LHP Jon Niese7 GS, 3-0, 2.17 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 10 BB, 36 K, 45.2 IP
    RHP Bartolo Colon8 GS, 2-5, 5.84 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 5 BB, 38 K, 49.1 IP
    RHP Zack Wheeler8 GS, 1-3, 4.53 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 24 BB, 41 K, 43.2 IP
    RHP Rafael Montero1 GS, 0-1, 4.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 2 BB, 3 K, 6.0 IP
    RHP Jake deGrom*7 GS, 4-0, 2.58 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 10 BB, 29 K, 38.1 IP

    Other starters: Dillon Gee (injured), Jenrry Mejia (bullpen)

     

    Overview

    This group ranked much higher prior to the Dillon Gee injury, and it has a chance to be a top-10 staff once he is healthy and either Rafael Montero or Jake deGrom prove capable of holding down the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Montero held his own against the Yankees on Wednesday night, and he certainly has the higher ceiling of the two.

    Jon Niese remains one of the more underrated starters in the game, and he has emerged as the staff ace once again, as Matt Harvey is sidelined while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

    More was certainly expected from the duo of Bartolo Colon and Zack Wheeler, with Wheeler in particular representing a big part of the team's future plans, but as a whole the rotation has been a clear strength for the Mets on their way to a solid start in 2014.

15. Philadelphia Phillies (Previous: 20)

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 3.95, 16th in MLB

    Quality starts: 20/38 (52.6%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    LHP Cliff Lee9 GS, 3-4, 3.23 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 8 BB, 58 K, 61.1 IP
    RHP A.J. Burnett9 GS, 2-3, 3.13 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 26 BB, 45 K, 54.2 IP
    LHP Cole Hamels4 GS, 0-2, 5.32 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 10 BB, 24 K, 23.2 IP
    RHP Kyle Kendrick7 GS, 0-3, 3.98 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 12 BB, 27 K, 43 IP
    RHP Roberto Hernandez7 GS, 2-1, 4.19 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 17 BB, 32 K, 38.2 IP

    Other starters: Jonathan Pettibone (demoted)

     

    Overview

    Getting Cole Hamels back on track remains priority No. 1 for the Phillies rotation at this point, and he looked great his last time out, as he went seven innings and allowed just one run while striking out 10.

    If he can return to form, the team has a terrific veteran trio in Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett and Hamels that could rank as one of the better one-two-threes in all of baseball.

    Kyle Kendrick has also put up decent numbers as the No. 4 starter, and the free-agent-to-be could have plenty of suitors at the deadline if the Phillies decide to make him available. They don't have much depth at this point, so they'll need to stay healthy, but this is a better rotation than many expected it to be.

14. Seattle Mariners (Previous: 29)

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 3.62, t-11th in MLB

    Quality starts: 20/40 (50.0%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Felix Hernandez9 GS, 4-1, 3.03 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 12 BB, 60 K, 59.1 IP
    RHP Hisashi Iwakuma3 GS, 2-0, 1.59 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 1 BB, 15 K, 22.2 IP
    LHP Roenis Elias8 GS, 3-2, 3.50 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 20 BB, 42 K, 46.1 IP
    RHP Chris Young6 GS, 3-0, 2.78 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 16 BB, 16 K, 35.2 IP
    RHP Brandon Maurer5 GS, 1-2, 6.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 9 BB, 13 K, 24.0 IP

    Other starters: Blake Beavan (injured), James Paxton (injured), Erasmo Ramirez (demoted)

     

    Overview

    With Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker both on the disabled list to open the season, the Mariners earned the No. 29 spot in my Opening Day rankings, and while injuries remain an issue, the staff has far exceeded expectations to this point.

    Iwakuma is back healthy and has looked great through his first three starts, throwing eight shutout innings in each of his last two starts. Alongside ace Felix Hernandez, the team once again has one of the best one-two punches in all of baseball fronting their rotation.

    Behind them, a 25-year-old who had not pitched above Double-A in Roenis Elias and a forgotten veteran in Chris Young have both been great. Once James Paxton and Walker are back healthy, this staff has a chance to be one of the best in the AL.

13. Los Angeles Angels (Previous: 17)

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    Starter's ERA: 3.62 t-11th in MLB

    Quality starts: 21/39 (53.8%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Jered Weaver8 GS, 4-2, 3.22 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 15 BB, 40 K, 50.1 IP
    LHP C.J. Wilson8 GS, 4-3, 3.69 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 19 BB, 54 K, 53.2 IP
    RHP Garrett Richards8 GS, 4-0, 2.42 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 20 BB, 54 K, 52 IP
    LHP Tyler Skaggs7 GS, 3-1, 4.14 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 12 BB, 28 K, 45.2 IP
    RHP Matt Shoemaker1 GS, 1-0, 3.60 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 1 BB, 3 K, 5 IP

    Other starters: Hector Santiago (bullpen)

     

    Overview

    The Angels finally took steps to shore up the back of their rotation this past offseason, shipping out slugger Mark Trumbo in a three-team deal that landed them Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago.

    While Santiago now finds himself in the bullpen after struggling early, Skaggs has shown flashes of being an impact starter. Alongside Garrett Richards, the two have given the Angels a pair of terrific young starters with a ton of upside.

    Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson remain a solid one-two combination atop the staff, and while the No. 5 starter spot is still up in the air at this point, their staff is still significantly better than a group that featured Joe Blanton, Tommy Hanson and Jerome Williams last season.

12. Boston Red Sox (Previous: 6)

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    Abelimages/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 4.07, 18th in MLB

    Quality starts: 26/39 (66.7)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    LHP Jon Lester8 GS, 4-4, 2.75 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 13 BB, 66 K, 55.2 IP
    RHP John Lackey8 GS, 5-2, 3.57 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 11 BB, 52 K, 53.0 IP
    LHP Felix Doubront8 GS, 2-3, 4.54 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 16 BB, 29 K, 41.2 IP
    RHP Jake Peavy8 GS, 1-1, 3.94 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 27 BB, 41 K, 48.0 IP
    RHP Clay Buchholz7 GS, 2-3, 6.44 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 11 BB, 27 K, 36.1 IP

    Other starters: None

     

    Overview

    Despite the struggles of Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox are currently tied for fifth in the majors in quality start percentage. Felix Doubront also scuffled early, but he has pitched much better of late, posting a 2.55 ERA over his last three starts.

    Jon Lester is the unquestioned ace of the staff, leading the AL with a 2.14 FIP, and he is positioning himself for a big payday in the offseason after declining a four-year, $70 million deal this past winter.

    Veterans Jake Peavy and John Lackey continue to be solid secondary arms, and should this team be bit by the injury bug, they have an impressive stable of high-end pitching prospects waiting in the wings in the minors.

11. San Diego Padres (Previous: 21)

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 3.44, eighth in MLB

    Quality Starts: 22/40 (55.0%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Andrew Cashner9 GS, 2-5, 2.35 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 17 BB, 47 K, 57.1 IP
    RHP Ian Kennedy8 GS, 2-4, 3.12 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 11 BB, 56 K, 49 IP
    RHP Tyson Ross8 GS, 4-3, 3.02 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 18 BB, 45 K, 50.2 IP
    LHP Eric Stults8 GS, 2-3, 5.03 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 7 BB, 19 K, 39.1 IP
    LHP Robbie Erlin7 GS, 2-4, 4.29 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 11 BB, 36 K, 42 IP

    Other Starters: None

     

    Overview

    Look back to Opening Day of 2013 and you will see that it was Edinson Volquez and Clayton Richard fronting what was a terrible Padres rotation. Just a year later, they have one of the better staffs in the National League, as the unit has a completely different look.

    Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross both started last season in the bullpen, but both have emerged as plus arms, with Cashner in particular establishing himself as a legitimate staff ace and one of the NL's up-and-coming arms.

    The team bought low on Ian Kennedy at the deadline last year, and the move is paying huge dividends, as he has looked like the Kennedy of old here in the early going. Left-handers Eric Stults and Robbie Erlin have combined for six quality starts, with Erlin in particular throwing the ball well of late, with a 1.80 ERA over his last three starts.

10. San Francisco Giants (Previous: 10)

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 3.71, 13th in MLB

    Quality starts: 21/41 (51.2%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    LHP Madison Bumgarner9 GS, 5-3, 3.25 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 16 BB, 59 K, 52.2 IP
    RHP Matt Cain6 GS, 0-3, 4.25 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 14 BB, 29 K, 36.0 IP
    RHP Tim Hudson8 GS, 4-2, 2.09 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 4 BB, 38 K, 60.1 IP
    RHP Tim Lincecum8 GS, 3-2, 4.78 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 15 BB, 46 K, 43.1 IP
    RHP Ryan Vogelsong8 GS, 1-2, 4.22 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 17 BB, 33 K, 42.2 IP

    Other starters: Yusmeiro Petit (bullpen)

     

    Overview

    Starting pitching was the cornerstone of the Giants two recent World Series runs, and when the staff struggled behind Madison Bumgarner last season, the team's record went right along with them.

    This year's Giants team has a completely different look, as a vastly-improved offense has left them less reliant on their rotation. That being said, the rotation has also been significantly better, starting with the signing of Tim Hudson to replace Barry Zito.

    Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum remain wild cards at the back of the rotation, but they have both pitched well this month, as Vogelsong has a 2.79 ERA and Lincecum a 3.06 ERA in three starts each. If Matt Cain can just bounce all the way back to ace form, this has a chance to be a top-five staff by season's end.

9. St. Louis Cardinals (Previous: 2)

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    Scott Kane/Associated Press

    Starter's ERA: 3.11, sixth in MLB

    Quality Starts: 22/40 (55.0%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats (*=stats in minors)
    RHP Adam Wainwright9 GS, 6-2, 2.11 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 15 BB, 56 K, 64 IP
    RHP Michael Wacha8 GS, 2-3, 2.85 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 14 BB, 57 K, 47.1 IP
    RHP Lance Lynn8 GS, 4-2, 3.83 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 17 BB, 50 K, 47 IP
    RHP Shelby Miller8 GS, 5-2, 3.22 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 27 BB, 33 K, 44.2 IP
    LHP Jaime Garcia*2 GS, 0-0, 5.14 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 3 BB, 7 K, 7 IP

    Other Starters: Joe Kelly (injured), Tyler Lyons (injured)

     

    Overview

    With Joe Kelly sidelined with a hamstring injury and his replacement Tyler Lyons recently joining him on the DL with a shoulder injury, the Cardinals continue to flash their impressive depth, as it will now be left-hander Jaime Garcia who fills the No. 5 starter spot. He last pitched in the majors on May 17 of last season, and he will take the ball this coming Saturday, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.

    Adam Wainwright remains the unquestioned ace of the staff and one of the better pitchers in all of baseball, while Michael Wacha has clearly stepped into the No. 2 spot behind him in his first full season in the majors.

    Lance Lynn remains a passable No. 3 starter with plus stuff, but the big question is Shelby Miller. Miller's walk rate has spiked this year (3.0 to 5.4 BB/9), and the team is counting on him to pitch like a front-line starter as they look to make another run at the World Series.

8. Washington Nationals (Previous: 4)

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    Patric Schneider/Associated Press

    Starter's ERA: 3.86, 15th in MLB

    Quality starts: 22/40 (55.0%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Stephen Strasburg9 GS, 3-3, 3.48 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 15 BB, 70 K, 54.1 IP
    LHP Gio Gonzalez8 GS, 3-3, 3.97 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 18 BB, 49 K, 47.2 IP
    RHP Jordan Zimmermann8 GS, 2-1, 3.59 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 8 BB, 42 K, 42.2 IP
    RHP Tanner Roark7 GS, 2-1, 3.65 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 10 BB, 36 K, 44.1 IP
    RHP Doug Fister2 GS, 0-1, 4.76 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 0 BB, 8 K, 11.1 IP

    Other Starters: Taylor Jordan (demoted), Blake Treinen (spot start)

     

    Overview

    The Nationals rotation is finally at full strength. Doug Fister is back after missing the first 34 games of the season with elbow inflammation, and he looked great in his second start of the year on Wednesday, allowing just five hits and one run in seven innings of work.

    No one from the team's "Big Three" of Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez has been lights out this season, by any means, but all three are throwing the ball fairly well, and their best baseball may very well still be ahead of them.

    Tanner Roark won the No. 5 starter job in the spring, and he's been the team's best starter from a peripheral standpoint, as he leads the rotation with a 1.08 WHIP and .232 BAA. The staff is not quite pitching up to expectations at this point, but it is solid from top to bottom.

7. Kansas City Royals (Previous: 13)

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 3.45, ninth in MLB

    Quality starts: 24/39 (61.5%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP James Shields9 GS, 5-3, 2.54 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 12 BB, 56 K, 60.1 IP
    LHP Jason Vargas9 GS, 4-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 11 BB, 40 K, 60.0 IP
    RHP Yordano Ventura7 GS, 2-2, 2.34 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 15 BB, 44 K, 42.1 IP
    RHP Jeremy Guthrie8 GS, 2-2, 4.80 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 11 BB, 25 K, 50.2 IP
    LHP Danny Duffy2 GS, 0-2, 1.80 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 7 BB, 6 K, 10.0 IP

    Other starters: Bruce Chen (injured)

     

    Overview

    Losing Ervin Santana in the offseason was viewed by many as a major blow to the Royals, but free-agent addition Jason Vargas and rookie sensation Yordano Ventura have more than offset his departure with terrific starts to the season.

    Workhorse James Shields remains the leader of the staff, and in a contract year he's looking to set himself up for a big deal this coming offseason. He led the AL with 228.2 innings pitched last season and currently ranks second in the league with 60.1 this year.

    Jeremy Guthrie was shelled his last time out after three straight quality starts, and he remains a solid option considering the team is not asking him to be anything more than a No. 4 guy. Danny Duffy has pitched well since replacing the struggling and eventually injured Bruce Chen, and it looks like he has a good chance of holding onto the No. 5 starter job moving forward.

6. Cincinnati Reds (Previous: 7)

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 2.98, fourth in MLB

    Quality starts: 26/37 (70.3%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Johnny Cueto8 GS, 3-2, 1.43 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 16 BB, 68 K, 63.0 IP
    RHP Homer Bailey8 GS, 3-2, 4.72 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 16 BB, 44 K, 47.2 IP
    RHP Mike Leake8 GS, 2-3, 3.09 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 11 BB, 34 K, 58.1 IP
    RHP Alfredo Simon7 GS, 4-2, 2.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 12 BB, 22 K, 43.2 IP
    LHP Tony Cingrani6 GS, 2-2, 3.34 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 17 BB, 32 K, 32.1 IP

    Other starters: None

     

    Overview

    Mat Latos has yet to throw a pitch for the Reds this season, but their staff remains one of the best in baseball, as Alfredo Simon has done a fantastic job replacing him in the rotation after posting a 2.87 ERA in 63 appearances out of the bullpen last year.

    Johnny Cueto is all the way back from the shoulder issues that plagued him last year, and he is again one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, currently leading the NL in ERA and WHIP.

    Homer Bailey has posted three straight quality starts after a rough start to the season, while Mike Leake remains an underrated middle-of-the-rotation arm. Tony Cingrani is currently on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, but due to off days and rain outs the team has not needed a replacement for him, and he is expected to be back sometime next week.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers (Previous: 5)

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    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    Starter's ERA: 3.08, fifth in MLB

    Quality starts: 25/42 (59.5%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    LHP Clayton Kershaw3 GS, 2-0, 1.74 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 1 BB, 25 K, 20.2 IP
    RHP Zack Greinke8 GS, 6-1, 2.38 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 10 BB, 55 K, 45.1 IP
    RHP Dan Haren8 GS, 5-1, 2.84 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 9 BB, 38 K, 50.2 IP
    RHP Josh Beckett7 GS, 1-1, 2.38 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 15 BB, 40 K, 41.2 IP
    LHP Paul Maholm7 GS, 1-4, 5.50 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 18 BB, 13 K, 37.2 IP

    Other starters: Stephen Fife (spot start), Red Patterson (spot start), Hyun-Jin Ryu (injured)

     

    Overview

    Once Hyun-Jin Ryu returns and the Dodgers rotation is finally at full strength, they will have a compelling case for the No. 1 spot in these rankings. However, as long as Paul Maholm is still in line to start games, they will remain in the No. 5 spot.

    Clayton Kershaw has shown no lingering effects of the back issues that sidelined him for a month, and he remains the best pitcher in the game. Zack Greinke is also pitching at a high level out of the No. 2 spot, as expected, but it's the guys behind them that have surprised.

    Dan Haren is pitching like the Dan Haren of old and looking like at steal on the one-year, $10 million deal he signed, while Josh Beckett is finally back healthy and not only contributing but pitching at a very high level.

4. Oakland Athletics (Previous: 19)

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    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    Starter's ERA: 2.93, third in MLB

    Quality starts: 28/41 (68.3%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Sonny Gray8 GS, 4-1, 2.17 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 18 BB, 43 K, 54 IP
    LHP Scott Kazmir8 GS, 5-1, 2.28 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 9 BB, 42 K, 51.1 IP
    RHP Jesse Chavez8 GS, 3-1, 2.44 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 12 BB, 51 K, 51.2 IP
    LHP Drew Pomeranz2 GS, 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 2 BB, 13 K, 10.0 IP
    LHP Tommy Milone7 GS, 1-3, 4.10 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 15 BB, 27 K, 41.2 IP

    Other starters: Josh Lindblom (demoted), Dan Straily (demoted)

     

    Overview

    With A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parkertwo guys that accounted for 26 wins and 397 innings of work last seasonout for the year  and Bartolo Colon gone in free agency, I was understandably skeptical about the Oakland rotation entering the season.

    They have been great though, as Sonny Gray has emerged as a legitimate staff ace, Scott Kazmir has been better than anyone could have hoped in replacing Colon, and Jesse Chavez has thrived in moving from the bullpen to the rotation.

    Tommy Milone has four quality starts in seven outings, including throwing eight innings of shutout ball against the Nationals two starts ago. The big move recently was demoting Dan Straily in favor of Drew Pomeranz, and that has looked like a brilliant decision to this point.

3. Milwaukee Brewers (Previous: 8)

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 3.16, seventh in MLB

    Quality starts: 30/40 (75%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Yovani Gallardo8 GS, 2-2, 2.92 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 14 BB, 33 K, 49.1 IP
    RHP Kyle Lohse8 GS, 4-1, 2.75 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 12 BB, 44 K, 52.1 IP
    RHP Matt Garza8 GS, 2-3, 4.98 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 18 BB, 39 K, 47.0 IP
    RHP Marco Estrada8 GS, 3-1, 3.28 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 14 BB, 46 K, 49.1 IP
    RHP Wily Peralta8 GS, 4-2, 2.05 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 10 BB, 39 K, 52.2 IP

    Other starters: None

     

    Overview

    I had high hopes for the Brewers rotation entering the season, aggressively ranking them as the No. 8 staff in all of baseball, and they have exceeded even my own lofty expectations in helping the team to a five-game lead in the NL Central and the second-best record in the NL.

    Newcomer Matt Garza has been the weak link, recording just four quality starts in his eight outings with an ERA pushing 5.00, but he still has the potential to be a front-line starter once he gets going.

    Yovani Gallardo is again pitching like a staff ace, and the veteran duo of Kyle Lohse and Marco Estrada have both been great, but the real story is the emergence of second-year man Wily Peralta. He's taken a big step forward after a largely overlooked rookie season, and he could be the heir to Gallardo as staff ace if the team opts against re-signing him this coming offseason.

2. Detroit Tigers (Previous: 1)

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Starter's ERA: 2.79, second in MLB

    Quality Start: 24/36 (66.7%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Justin Verlander9 GS, 5-2, 3.15 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 24 BB, 47 K, 60.0 IP
    RHP Max Scherzer8 GS, 5-1, 2.04 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 16 BB, 66 K, 53.0 IP
    RHP Rick Porcello7 GS, 6-1, 3.22 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 6 BB, 29 K, 44.2 IP
    LHP Drew Smyly5 GS, 1-2, 3.29 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 10 BB, 24 K, 27.1 IP
    LHP Robbie Ray2 GS, 1-0, 0.79 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 2 BB, 7 K, 11.1 IP

    Other starters: Anibal Sanchez (injured)

     

    Overview

    Considering that the reigning AL ERA title winner is currently on the disabled list, you would think the Tigers would slide much farther down the list. But with Robbie Ray more than holding his own since replacing Sanchez in the rotation, the team's staff still looks like the cream of crop in the AL.

    Everyone knows how good Max Scherzer is at this point, and Justin Verlander looks to have put his 2013 struggles behind him to give the team a second ace-caliber arm. It's the performance of the rest of the rotation that has made the Tigers great this year, though.

    Rick Porcello is off to a phenomenal start, putting up the best numbers of his career, and Drew Smyly has made the seamless transition from setup man to starter in place of the departed Doug Fister.

    "I've been saying it for two weeks," manager Brad Ausmus told Matt Slovin of MLB.com. "The starting pitching is the key to the success we've had. Everyone wanted to talk about the offense in Kansas City, and we were certainly swinging the bats and scoring runs, but it was still the starting pitching without question."

1. Atlanta Braves (Previous: 26)

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    Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images

    Starter's ERA: 2.64, first in MLB

    Quality starts 30/.39 (76.9%)

    Current Rotation2014 Stats
    RHP Ervin Santana6 GS, 4-0, 1.99 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 9 BB, 43 K, 40.2 IP
    RHP Julio Teheran9 GS, 2-3, 2.20 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 16 BB, 46 K, 61.1 IP
    RHP Gavin Floyd2 GS, 0-1, 2.70 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 2 BB, 13 K, 13.1 IP
    RHP Aaron Harang8 GS, 4-3, 2.98 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 17 BB, 52 K, 48.1 IP
    LHP Mike Minor3 GS, 1-2, 4.24 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 4 BB, 16 K, 17.0 IP

    Other starters: David Hale (bullpen), Alex Wood (bullpen)

     

    Overview

    Count me among those that expected the Braves to limp through the first month of the season after three-fifths of their projected rotation started the season on the DL, including Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, who were both lost for the season to Tommy John surgery.

    Instead, the Braves currently lead all of baseball in starter's ERA and quality start percentage, and with Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd now healthy, they have an enviable amount of starting pitching depth.

    At some point, one has to think Aaron Harang will level off, but Ervin Santana and Julio Teheran have both been great, and Minor should only get better moving forward. With their offense struggling mightily to score runs, the Braves have leaned heavily on their rotation, and the staff has answered the bell so far.

     

     

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