MLB: Ranking the Top 7 Starting Rotations in Baseball

3 of 9

7- Cincinnati Reds- Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Aroldis Chapman

March 5, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) throws in the fourth inning during a spring training game against the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

How much different could the NLDS have gone for the Reds if Johnny Cueto hadn’t been hurt? The Reds ace was injured in game one against the Giants and then Cincinnati watched a 2-0 series lead crumble at home.

Heading into the 2013 season the Reds have to be considered the favorite in the NL Central because of their amazing starting rotation; last season Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, and Homer Bailey all produced ERAs under 4.00, pitched at least 200 innings and had winning records.

The weak link from last season’s team was Mike Leake, but he will be replaced by the hard throwing, and intimidating Aroldis Chapman. Chapman was unreal last season as the Reds closer posting a 1.51 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 71.2 innings pitched.

It’s unreasonable to think he can keep up those numbers when he takes the mound in the first instead of the ninth; however he was a starter for the Cuban national team before Cincinnati signed him and it’s not too farfetched to think he can produce a line of 180 innings pitched, over 200 strikeouts and an ERA around 3.50.

Really, going into this season, the weakest link for the Reds appears to be their veteran right hander Arroyo, who I expect to have a slightly higher than 4.oo ERA and around 190 innings pitched; still how many teams around the league would kill for that from their worst starter; his line will still be better than any man who takes the mound for the Rockies this season.