MLB: Ranking the Top 7 Starting Rotations in Baseball

2 of 9

The 3  runners-up

Oakland A’s- Brett Anderson, Jarrod Parker, Tommy Malone, Bartolo Colon, AJ Griffin

Detroit Tigers– Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello

Atlanta Braves– Kris Medlen, Tim Hudson, Mike Minor, Paul Maholm, Julio Tehera

When I started making this list, all three of these teams were in my top 7 at one point or another. They can all be dominating when on, and all three could lead their team to a World Series championship. I can’t praise the talent 1-5 on these rotations enough, however, what puts them in my top 10 instead of top seven is that they all also share one fatal flaw: huge injury risk.

Oakland can never seem to keep their players off the DL; I’d be willing to put a pay check on Brett Anderson and Bartolo Colon being sidelined because of injury at some point this season. Another big risk is that a rookie, Tommy Malone, was the innings pitched leader at 190. The A’s put a lot of early miles on their young arms chasing down the Rangers, it worked because they won their division, however it just might come back and bite them this season.

Justin Verlander is a rock and the best pitcher on the planet. I have no doubt he will make every start, but behind him, Scherzer, Fister, and Sanchez all grade out as guys with significant injury risk potential. Last season, Verlander was the only member of the staff to pitch 200 innings in the regular season and while Scherzer was great in the playoffs there was rumblings he was injured all throughout the second season. Sanchez has perfect game stuff but if you followed his time in Miami at all, you’ll know he was always a risk of missing a start.

Up until my last revision I had the Braves in my top seven, but if the A’s and Tigers hint at injury risk, the Braves scream it in your ear with a megaphone. Tim Hudson led the club in both starts at 28 and innings at 179; they were so concerned about keeping ace Kris Medlen healthy that he spent most of last season in the bullpen. At some point, Brandon Beachy will come back and while he will help the talent level, he will also send more shivers down the spines of Atlanta trainers. If I could get a grantee that the Braves pitchers would hold up this season, I’d put them in the same class as any starting five in the majors but because I have to worry about them. Atlanta slides in at number eight, just missing the cut.