Joel Dorcas | April 8th, 2022
Hopefully, everyone is enjoying these top-10 pieces. We are trying our best to provide content while we wait for play to resume. Let’s explore the best of the best as we count down to numero uno. These explorations are always up for debate, let us know your favorite starting five of the last 10 years!
*all team pitching stats are combined for all players making starts, not just top five (fangraphs.com)*
5. 2019 Washington Nationals 66-36 3.53 ERA/ 9.68 K/9
Add Patrick Corbin to the Nats and you get a lethal top three and in the end, a World Series Championship. “Stras” really came into his own, he finished first in the NL with 18 wins and was named World Series MVP. Scherzer mowed down opponents as per usual with a 12.69 K/9 rate. Patrick Corbin, an ace on most teams, went 14-7 with a 3.25 ERA. Joe Ross made just nine starts, the fifth spot was shared between multiple players.
4. 2018 Houston Astros 72-36 3.16 ERA/ 10.37 K/9
This is where the rotations get foolishly good. Playing the Astros during the 2018 Season wouldn’t have been an ideal situation. All five starters had at least 10 wins, with Verlander finishing first in Ks with 290 and Cole finishing first in k/9 at 12.40. Charlie Morton as a number three/four option was good for 15 wins and a 3.13 ERA.
3. 2013 Detroit Tigers 76-44, 3.44 ERA/ 8.39 K/9
The names here aren’t as wow-worthy as the ‘Stros of 2018, the numbers, however, are really impressive. Each starter racked up at least 13 victories which tell us they were very reliable and healthy virtually all season long. Scherzer was a Cy Young winner, Sanchez was stellar and even finished fourth in Cy Young votes, and the other three were more than adequate.
2. 2017 Cleveland Indians 81-38, 3.52 ERA/ 10.08 K/9
This is, despite not being number one, my favorite of the bunch. The top three of Kluber, Carrasco, and Bauer all had at least 17 wins. Tomlin was serviceable at the fifth spot and the number four starter, Mike Clevinger was just being discovered. Kluber and Carrasco’s 18 wins were tops in the AL. Kluber carried a minuscule 2.25 ERA and an 11.71 K/9 rate. At season’s end, he would take home the AL Cy Young award.
1. 2011 Philadelphia Phillies 76-42 2.86 ERA/ 7.88 K/9
An absolute All-Star cast of pitchers one through four led by workhorse Roy Halladay. Halladay would go on to lead the AL in complete games pitched for eight consecutive seasons. He went the distance eight times in 2011. Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt were all pitching at very high levels. They could all go as an ace/number two on almost any other club.
If you missed Part One you can go over it here MLB’s Best Pitching Rotations of the Past Decade (Part One)
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