During the offseason, the New York Mets pitching staff looked to be the best in baseball, in terms of both talent and depth. Plus, their starting pitchers were all young. Unfortunately, things went downhill once the season started, injuries eviscerated their depth, Matt Harvey continued to decline and now the Mets starting pitchers have the 28th-ranked ERA as a group.
As the Mets have show, a lot can impact a team’s starting rotation once the season begins. Here are all 30 MLB pitching rotations and how they stack up against one another at the quarter point of the season.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Best pitcher: Clayton Kershaw, 7-2, 2.15 ERA, 62 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Kenta Maeda, 3-2, 5.03 ERA, 40 strikeouts
While Kershaw may get all the fame, the Dodgers staff as a whole has been phenomenal this year and have made the lives of opposing batters difficult. Los Angeles leads the league in both WHIP (1.194) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.47). Health has mostly been on their side as well, aside from Rich Hill. Maeda’s ERA looks ugly, but it is inflated from a poor start against Arizona on April 22, where he allowed six runs in five innings. In three starts since then, he is 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA.
2. St. Louis Cardinals
Best pitcher: Mike Leake, 4-2, 2.03 ERA, 37 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Adam Wainwright, 3-3, 5.31 ERA, 36 strikeouts
The emergence of Leake as an ace had spearheaded St. Louis to the No. 2 spot in our rankings, but can he keep it up for a full season? The Cardinals starters have surrendered just 85 earned runs this year, the least in baseball and they’re the only club to not give up at least 90 earned runs this season. Along with Leake, veteran Lance Lynn has also been rock-solid for the Cardinals, holding opponents to a 2.78 ERA and striking out 40 batters. Health has also been on the Cardinals side, as they are one of the few teams to only use five starting pitchers this season. Although Leake has looked like a Cy Yougn candidate, former ace Adam Wainwright has continued to decline, sporting career-lows in ERA (5.31) and WHIP (1.748).
3. Houston Astros
Best pitcher: Dallas Keuchel, 7-0, 1.84 ERA, 54 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Mike Fiers, 1-1, 5.75 ERA, 33 strikeouts
Keuchel has returned to his Cy Young-winning form of 2015, owning a league-leading 0.864 WHIP and innings pitched this year. Lance McCullers Jr. has also impressed as the No. 2 in the rotation, striking out 9.94 batters per nine innings pitched and holding opponents in check with a 2.65 ERA. The Astros, however, have shown that they can be slugged against. Only Boston has allowed more home runs than Houston’s 39 and 16 of those homers were given up by Mike Fiers – the most in baseball. Much like St. Louis, Houston has only used five starting pitchers this season.
4. Kansas City Royals
Best pitcher: Jason Vargas, 5-2, 2.03 ERA, 43 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Jason Hammel, 1-5, 6.20 ERA, 31 strikeouts
The Royals may be a disaster this season and forced to blow up the roster, but their starting pitchers has been one of the few bright spots on the team. Vargas has overcome the injuries that plagued him for the last three years to have a career year at age 34 and is a dark horse for the AL Cy Young Award. What’s most impressive for Vargas is that he has surrendered just two home runs this year, and is on pace to allow just eight for the season. Danny Duffy and Ian Kennedy have also pitched well while converted reliver Nathan Karns has performed better than expected. Hammel signed with Kansas City this offseason after the Cubs left him off of their postseason roster and has been hit hard ever since. Not only does he own a 6.20 ERA, but his 1.746 WHIP is among the worst marks in baseball.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks
Best pitcher: Zack Greinke, 5-2, 3.09 ERA, 66 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Patrick Corbin, 3-4, 4.38 ERA, 42 strikeouts
While Greinke wasn’t bad at all in April, he has been much better in May, where he is 3-0 with a 2.91 ERA and opponents are batting just .158 against him, plus his strikeout-to-walk ratio is an absurd 6.00. Greinke and Robbie Ray have combined for 125 strikeouts together this year and the staff has a league-best 251 on the year. Ray owns a ridiculous 11.71 strikeouts-per-nine innings pitched (Greinke’s sits at 10.18), but opponents are finding ways to score against him, shown by his 4.57 ERA. Corbin’s 4.38 ERA isn’t as bad as Ray’s, but his WHIP (1.442), strikeouts per nine innings pitched (7.36) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.80) are nowhere near as impressive.
6. Tampa Bay Rays
Best pitcher: Chris Archer, 3-2, 3.70 ERA, 65 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Blake Snell, 0-4, 4.71 ERA, 34 strikeouts
Surprisingly, Archer’s 3.70 ERA is only the fourth-best in the rotation, but he has struck out the most, making batters whiff 10.03 times per nine innings pitched, has the second best WHIP and has allowed the fewest home runs. As a unit, Tampa hasn’t showed any real weakness, except for walks, where they have allowed 88 free passes, the 10th most in baseball. As I mentioned in my Cy Young recap last week, Snell was sent back to the minors after struggling in his last five starts, where he allowed a 5.96 ERA.
7. Washington Nationals
Best pitcher: Max Scherzer, 4-2, 2.80 ERA, 70 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Joe Ross, 1-0, 7.47 ERA, 14 strikeouts
One of the most surprising things about the Nationals rotation is the negative impact Jeremy Guthrie has made on them. Guthrie only started one game, one his 38th birthday, where he only lasted two out and surrendered 10 runs. Without Guthrie’s stat line, the National’s ERA would drop from 3.99, the ninth-best in the league, to 3.63, which would rank sixth. But alas, Guthrie did in fact pitch and he was horrible, so his numbers still count. Scherzer continues to dominate, sporting an 11.52 strikeouts per nine innings pitched and a 5.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio to go along with a 0.915 WHIP. Ross has only started three games for Washington this season, but he has easily been the weak link, surrendering 13 earned runs in just 15 2/3 innings of work, including an ugly 2.87 home runs allowed per nine innings pitched.
8. Oakland Athletics
Best pitcher: Andrew Triggs, 5-2, 2.12 ERA, 35 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Jharel Cotton, 3-4, 5.68 ERA, 35 strikeouts
Oakland spent the early part of the season without staff ace Sonny Gray, who missed the first few weeks of the season while nursing a back injury. While Gray has not quite returned to his 2015 All-Star form, he has looked better than he did last season, when he was struggling with injuries. Gray owns a 3.97 ERA through four starts, but he is striking out less batters than usual, registering 6.75 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. While Gray was on the shelf, Triggs elevated himself as a front of the rotation starter, leading the team in innings pitched (46 2/3), ERA (2.12) and WHIP (1.029). Oakland is also keeping the ball in the park, the 22 home runs allowed is the lowest in baseball and they are the only team whose starters allow less than one home run per nine innings pitched, owning a 0.90 clip.
9. New York Yankees
Best pitcher: Michael Pineda, 4-2, 3.42 ERA, 55 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Masahiro Tanaka, 5-2, 5.80 ERA, 35 strikeouts
The good news is that Tanaka’s poor stat line is heavily based on two poor outings. The bad news is that those outings were really bad and the second came last week against Houston, just when it looked like he has righted the ship. The Bronx Bombers don’t allow a lot of people on base and rack up a lot of strikeouts, but they have struggled with giving up the long ball this year, especially Tanaka, who is allowing two homers per nine innings pitched. Situational hitting has also played a factor. The 210 hits they have allowed is the sixth-least in baseball, but their 4.55 ERA (22nd in baseball) shows that opposing offenses are scoring anyway. Both Pineda (10.86) and Luis Severino (10.03) own a strikeout per nine innings pitched mark above 10.
10. Texas Rangers
Best pitcher: Yu Darvish, 4-2, 2.76 ERA, 61 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Nick Martinez, 0-2, 5.04 ERA, 15 strikeouts
With Texas owning the best ERA among starting pitchers in baseball, it’s pretty evident that the Rangers are touch to score one. Along with Darvish, Andrew Cashner (2.45), Cole Hamels (3.03) and A.J. Griffin (3.15) all own an ERA of 3.15 or lower and Martinez is the only pitcher whose ERA is over 4.00. Unfortunately, they will still need to keep Martinez in the rotation for at least another month while Hamels remains on the disabled list. The Rangers also ranked fourth in WHIP (1.245), and have pitched the second most innings among starters (251 1/3). Texas is struggling with punching out batters though, their 6.39 strikeouts per nine innings pitched is the second worst in baseball behind Atlanta and their strikeout to walk ratio sits at just 1.92. Cashner, Martinez and Hamels all average less than five strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
11. Minnesota Twins
Best pitcher: Ervin Santana, 6-2, 2.07 ERA, 44 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Kyle Gibson, 0-4, 8.20 ERA, 16 strikeouts
Santana had a phenomenal start to the year, but has fizzled over his last three starts. Given that Santana is 34 and owns a career ERA of 4.04, his fall back to earth isn’t too surprising.
Ervin Santana’s first six starts: 41 IP, 3 ER, 0.66 ERA, 7.24 K/9.
Santana’s last three starts: 20 IP, 11 ER, 4.95 ERA, 4.95 K/9. #Twins
— Justin Worsley (@jtworsley) May 19, 2017
The Twins, however, have given up the least amount of hits in baseball and Santana and his 0.885 WHIP have been a big reason why. Minnesota has also allowed the second-least earned runs allowed in baseball and their 4.02 staff ERA is 10th best in the league. What holds them back, however, is their inability to strike batters out. Only Atlanta has recorded less strikeouts than Minnesota’s 145. Those numbers, however, could improve with Gibson being sent to the minors. Replacing him is Jose Berrios, who has been dominant in two starts, allowing just one run and striking out 15 batters in 15 2/3 frames.
12. Seattle Mariners
Best pitcher: James Paxton, 3-0, 1.43 ERA, 45 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Chase De Jong, 0-2, 7.78 ERA, nine strikeouts
Injuries have taken their toll on the Mariners this year, with both Paxton and Felix Hernandez currently on the disabled list. Because of this, the Mariners have used a league-high 10 starting pitchers in 2017. Regardless, the Mariners are still chugging along, allowing the eighth least earned runs, and the fourth least walks. With Hernandez and Paxton, who looks like he could content for the Cy Young if he returns to full health, returning, many of their issues will be sorted out and the unit will only improve.
13. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Best pitcher: J.C. Ramirez, 1-3, 3.33 ERA, 36 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Alex Meyer, 2-1, 5.59 ERA, 21 strikeouts
With Garrett Richards again on the disabled list, the Angels best pitcher has surprisingly been Ramirez, a converted reliever who owns a 4.90 career ERA. But the Angels have thrived despite a nearly anonymous starting rotation. They rank in the top 10 in innings pitched (third), strikeouts (seventh), ERA (eighth), WHIP (seventh) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (eighth). Their defense also rarely make mistakes, as only two runs they have allowed this year have been unearned. The team does struggle, however, with the longball, where that have already allowed 39, 23 of which were allowed by Matt Shoemaker and Ricky Nolasco.
14. Milwaukee Brewers
Best pitcher: Matt Garza, 2-0, 2.43 ERA, 22 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Wily Peralta, 4-2, 6.08 ERA, 32 strikeouts
By the virtue of pitching for the league’s second-highest scoring offense, Brewers starters have lost a league-low six games this season, despite putting up pretty much average numbers across the board. The only weak spot the Brewers have is the fact that they surrender a lot of hits, but it is balanced out by the fact that they are seventh in the league in walks allowed. While Garza has looked solid and has recorded four consecutive quality starts, it is fair to point out that he has also started against the Mets, Pirates, Braves and Phillies, all of which are some of the league’s weaker offenses.
15. Chicago Cubs
Best pitcher: Jon Lester, 2-2, 3.57 ERA, 54 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Brett Anderson, 2-2, 8.18 ERA, 16 strikeouts
The defending World Champs are suffering through a bit of a hangover in 2017 as all four returning starters, Lester, John Lackey, Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks have seen their ERA increase from last season. Chicago is still striking out batters, racking up 211 strikeouts, which ranks 10th in the league, and 8.68 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, which ranks sixth. Anderson has been a thorn in the rotation’s side, culminating with his last start against the Yankees, where he allowed five runs and lasted just one out. He was placed on the disabled list after.
16. Pittsburgh Pirates
Best pitcher: Ivan Nova, 3-3, 2.48 ERA, 33 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Tyler Glasnow, 2-3, 7.34 ERA, 37 strikeouts
Nova have emerged as a Cy Young contender this season, and he and Gerrit Cole have formed a strong 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation. Pittsburgh also doesn’t allow many balls to leave the park, the 28 home runs allowed is the fifth-best in the league. Walks are also hard to come by for opposing batters as only three teams have issues less free passes than the Pirates 70. Teams haven’t had a hard time hitting against the Pirates pitchers, however, as they’ve allowed 232 hits, but few score, their 4.30 ERA is the 13th best in baseball.
17. Toronto Blue Jays
Best pitcher: Marcus Stroman, 4-2, 3.00 ERA, 46 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Francisco Liriano, 2-2, 6.35 ERA, 30 strikeouts
After a 4-13 start, Toronto has surged back, going 14-12 over the past month, but the team is still in last place in the division and could be forced to sell at the deadline. Injuries have taken their toll on the team, J.A. Happ has only made three starts and nine different pitchers have started a game for Toronto, but they are back to striking out batters again, owning an 8.02 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. They have also surrendered just 20 home runs this year, the seventh-best in baseball. Opponents, however, have found ways to get on base as the Blue Jays pitchers have a 1.413 WHIP, which ranks 23rd.
18. San Francisco Giants
Best pitcher: Madison Bumgarner, 0-3, 3.00 ERA, 28 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Matt Moore, 2-4, 5.67 ERA, 40 strikeouts
Bumgarner may be 0-3, but that is heavily due to the lack of run support he had received before landing on the disabled list. San Francisco’s starting staff has chewed up innings this year, leading the league in innings pitched, and rank sixth in strikeouts with 224, due much in part to Jeff Samadzija’s 10.70 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Not everything in San Francisco, however, is great. They have allowed the most hits and earned runs in baseball, but despite this, their ERA is a better-than-expected 23rd and their WHIP of 1.269 is still top 10 in the league.
19. Detroit Tigers
Best pitcher: Michael Fulmer, 5-1, 2.72 ERA, 46 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Jordan Zimmermann, 4-2, 6.75 ERA, 28 strikeouts
Justin Verlander has dazzled at times, but he hasn’t been solid like he was in 2016 and his strikeout numbers are down. Detroit has struggled with allowing batters on base this year, their 1.462 WHIP is the second-worst in baseball, but they’ve allowed only 27 home runs, the third least in the league. Despite what is essentially mediocre pitching, Tigers starters are still winning games.
20. Cleveland Indians
Best pitcher: Carlos Carrasco, 4-2, 2.60 ERA, 52 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Josh Tomlin, 2-5, 6.86 ERA, 32 strikeouts
If the Indians are good at one thing, it is punching out opposing batters. The Indians staff owns the league’s best strikeouts per nine innings pitched with a 9.84 mark, which includes Danny Salazar’s league leading 13.50 mark. Only two other teams have struck out more than Cleveland’s 241. But the high strikeout number also includes giving up a lot of runs. Only San Francisco has allowed more earned runs than the Indians and their staff ERA of 5.15 is ahead of just Cincinnati.
21. Colorado Rockies
Best pitcher: Antonio Senzatela, 6-1, 3.31 ERA, 29 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Tyler Anderson, 2-4, 6.43 ERA, 42 strikeouts
The rookie Senzatela has been much better than expected and has emerged as the top pitcher in the rotation. Despite pitching in the thin air of Denver, the Rockies starters have allowed only 29 home runs this season, the seventh-best in baseball. The Rockies control, however, is less than impressive. They have issued 96 walks, the third most in baseball and are just 21st in strikeouts and 26th in strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
22. Boston Red Sox
Best pitcher: Chris Sale, 4-2, 2.15 ERA, 85 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Steven Wright, 1-3, 8.25 ERA, 13 strikeouts
Sale is a legitimate Cy Young contender in his first season in Beantown and is racking up strikeout after strikeout. He owns a 13.04 strikeouts per nine innings and a 0.955 WHIP. But injuries have exposed the lack of depth the Red Sox have in the rotation. Eight pitchers have started a game for the Red Sox and David Price is still yet to make his season debut. Boston has surrendered the second most hits in baseball despite Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez allowing just 62 hits across 99 frames. Reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello also has not lived up to his 2016 form. He has already lost more games than he did all of last season, and owns a 4.23 ERA and 1.410 WHIP.
23. San Diego Padres
Best pitcher: Trevor Cahill, 3-2, 3.27 ERA, 52 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Jered Weaver, 0-4, 6.05 ERA, 23 strikeouts
Weaver pitched well in his last start, the first since I suggested that it may be time to pull his plug, but one start does not make up for how abysmal he has been this season. San Diego’s starters have been surprisingly capable at chewing up innings, their 241 2/3 innings pitched are the eighth best in the league, but they have surrendered the 27th most hits and are 23rd in earned runs. They have only allowed 32 home runs, which ranks 15th, but it impressive due to the fact that Weaver has allow 14 of those homers.
24. Baltimore Orioles
Best pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 5-2, 2.97 ERA, 39 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Kevin Gausman, 2-3, 7.19 ERA, 31 strikeouts
After battling injuries early in his career, Bundy has finally entered the Orioles rotation and has lived up to the billing of a top prospect. The best part for Baltimore is the fact that he is only 24, and should only get better. Aside from him and Wade Miley, however, the rotation has some glaring weaknesses. Both Gausman and Jimenez own an ERA north of 7.00 as a starter and the team owns the third-worst WHIP in baseball, but the return of Chris Tillman could quell some of these troubles.
25. Philadelphia Phillies
Best pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson, 4-1, 3.71 ERA, 18 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Vincent Velasquez, 2-3, 5.63 ERA, 39 strikeouts
The Phillies are continuing to rebuild, so they have the ability to be patients while their young pitching staff continues to develop. Hellickson has again been solid for Philadelphia and could be used as a trade chip in July. The Phillies were hoping to be able to do the same with Clay Buccholz, but a poor start combined with a lenghty injury has prevented that. Aaron Nola’s return will help, but the staff as a whole are struggling to eat innings, strike out batters and own a 4.84 ERA, which is 25th in baseball.
26. New York Mets
Best pitcher: Noah Syndergaard, 1-2, 3.29 ERA, 32 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Robert Gsellman, 2-3, 7.07 ERA, 26 strikeouts
Syndergaard was looking like the favorite to win the NL Cy Young when the season began, and frequently topped our rankings, but an lat injury has sidelined him and the Mets have been in a tailspin since. Steven Matz is still yet to make his season debut, while Matt Harvey’s standoff with the Mets has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. The 121 earned runs allowed ranks 26th in baseball, which has led to a disappointing 5.10 ERA, the third worst in the league.
27. Miami Marlins
Best pitcher: Dan Straily, 1-3, 3.56 ERA, 40 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Tommy Koehler, 1-2, 7.04 ERA, 31 strikeouts
Koehler has struggled in 2017, culminating in Miami surprisingly demoting him to the minors last week. The starting rotation has earned just seven wins, the worst mark in baseball, and have surrendered 104 walks, also the worst in the league and has led to a 1.65 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the second worst. With Miami falling out of contention, they may look to give some of their top prospects a cup of coffee this summer.
28. Chicago White Sox
Best pitcher: Derek Holland, 3-3, 2.70 ERA, 38 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Dylan Covey, 0-3, 7.64 ERA, 21 strikeouts
It shouldn’t be surprising to see the post-Chris Sale White Sox ranked so low. Jose Quintana has regressed this season, seeing a bloated ERA and WHIP. The offense also is giving very little support. No team’s starting staff has lost as many games as the White Sox, but they also aren’t exactly helping themselves. Chicago’s 1.423 WHIP is the fifth worst in the league.
29. Cincinnati Reds
Best pitcher: Brandon Finnegan, 1-0, 2.70 ERA, 14 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Rookie Davis, 1-2, 7.58 ERA, 15 strikeouts
Entering Friday night, the Reds were the only team to pitch less than 200 innings this season. Despite starting five games, Davis has only pitched 19 innings and Finnegan, who is easily the best pitcher on the roster, is out until mid-June after being placed on the 60-day disabled list. The Reds 5.57 ERA is also the worst mark in the league, as well as their 1.477 WHIP.
30. Atlanta Braves
Best pitcher: Mike Foltynewicz, 2-4, 3.86 ERA, 28 strikeouts
Worst pitcher: Bartolo Colon, 2-4, 6.80 ERA, 27 strikeouts
Believe it or not, the Braves actually have two former Cy Young winners in their rotation, both just happen to be over the age of 40. Atlanta is dead last in strikeouts, and only strike out 5.75 batters per nine innings pitched, and have a 1.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio, both of which also rank last. Their 5.04 ERA is the fourth worst in baseball and they allow 1.50 home runs per nine innings pitched. The only category the Braves rank in the top half of the league in is innings pitched, where they are 15th.