In part two of our ranking of post season starting rotations, we take a look at 9 teams who have the very best pitching rotations in the MLB. Not only do these teams all have the very best pitchers in the sport, but in the top 8 of this list, you will find some of the teams that have the best chances of going all the way to the World Series.
Milwaukee Brewers 9th Best Starting Rotation
Can the Brewers win the World Series? Not Likely. However, they can put up a strong campaign in the playoffs if they get this next month right. They’ve got a strong pitching lineup, even if they don’t receive a lot of press for their capabilities. Look at Jimmy Nelson as an example, he has a season ERA of 3.59, and is amongst the best in the National League for almost all of his stats. He’s picking up steam towards the end of the season and we should see a completely different player to who he was in 2016.
Chicago Cubs 8th Best Starting Rotation
A big part of the Cubs winning the last World Series was because of their deep and highly capable pitching rotation. Joe Maddon likes to rotate the team regularly, feeling that broad experience is more valuable than focusing on a few stars. Even so, they still have their obvious standout pitchers, like Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana. Jake Arrieta, their best pitcher, is currently out with a Grade 1 hamstring strain, as was revealed by an MRI scan. The team hopes to have him recovered within 10 days, which is good news considering that there’s less than a month until the post season starts in October.
New York Yankees 7th Best Starting Rotation
To be fair, we could swap the Astros, the Yankees, and the Red Sox between the next three positions, and neither of them would seem out of place. CC Sabathia is still one of the highest paid pitchers in the sport, but is he still one of the best? He’s not quite up to the level that he was in his peak, but he works well in the rotation, and his ERA of 3.91 is better than some of the other starters you’ll find in the top 18 teams. Masahiro Tanaka is also a good option, despite a below average ERA for the season. While he’s not consistent, he can perform on his best days, and if he brings those performances to the playoffs then he and this team are not going to have a problem on the pitching front.
Houston Astros 6th Best Starting Rotation
Mike Fiers has been removed from the rotation after some seriously bad performances in the last week. Justin Verlander is coming in, and could be a viable option for starting in the playoffs, and Dallas Keuchel, Colling McHugh, and Lance McCullers are all viable options for this team that has a fair amount of depth to take through to the post season.
Boston Red Sox 5th Best Starting Rotation
The Red Sox haven’t been doing themselves any favors in the media lately, after getting themselves caught up in a cheating scandal with illegal sign stealing against the New York Yankees. Thankfully, that’s not going to affect their starting rotation at all, and we can say with confidence that they have one of the best. Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz, and Eduardo Rodriguez, have all been impressive lately. Rick Porcello may also be in the rotation, but with an ERA of 4.67 for the season, he might just be the weakest performer amongst the starters.
Arizona Diamondbacks 4th Best Starting Rotation
The Diamondbacks are a hard team to rank in this list. On one hand, they have one of the best starting rotations of the regular season. On the other hand, none of their best pitchers have a standing record of success in the majors before this season. That’s not to say that they’re a squad of unknowns, but just that we can’t be absolutely confident in how they would perform in the post season. As long as pressure is not the problem that it can be for some pitchers, then we can see this team doing well in the playoff games.
Cleveland Indians 3rd Best Starting Rotation
As of writing, the Indians are on their 14th straight win, giving them the longest winning streak of the year. Their starting rotation is excellent, with Corey Kluber showing that he can absolutely dominate when he is focused. The second half of the season for him has been impressive, and he could be in contention for a Cy Young award. Carlos Carrasco adds talent, and so does Mike Clevinger. Without a doubt this is one of the best rotations in the MLB.
Washington Nationals 2nd Best Starting Rotation
The Nationals and the Dodgers are a hard call to make in this list, but we have to go with the Nationals in second spot, simply because we feel that the Dodgers have so much more depth at this stage. With that being said, the Nationals are not short of talent, and on their day, they can have the very best starters in the league. Edwin Jackson is making a career comeback and he is showing the Nationals that he’s worthy of the post season. The team, of course, have Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, the best pitchers in the league who aren’t Clayton Kershaw.
Los Angeles Dodgers 1st Best Starting Rotations
When your team has Clayton Kershaw in it, you’re going to be hanging around the top of any starting rotation list. When you combine Kershaw with new signing Yu Darvish, and the impressive Alex Wood, then you have three starting pitchers that can cause trouble for any of the best hitters in the MLB.There’s so much depth in this team that even if one of the best pitchers is struck by injury, it’s not the end of the world when a talented rookie or one of the second tier starters can step up. Brock Stweart, Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu… these are all options for the Dodgers, and they’re options that other teams wish they had.