The National League features some of the best rotations in baseball, but there can only be one labeled best.
Pitching in the National League is far different from its counterpart, typically, because of the lack of a designated hitter. With a shortened 2020 MLB season thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, both leagues are adopting the DH, allowing some of the best pitchers in baseball to focus primarily on their craft.
The likes of the Mets, Dodgers and Nationals remain at the top of the charts, especially Washington, whose core three starters of Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin remain intact. Meanwhile, those at the bottom of said list have some work to do, as they’ve set up their bullpens for disaster. In a shortened season, the ‘pen will be relied upon more than ever, especially when rotations frequently falter. Less games means fewer worries about the best relievers in all of baseball burning out before the postseason.
Nonetheless, it always helps to have starters capable of going the distance.
MLB power rankings: 15-11
15. Colorado Rockies
The Rockies ranked last in the National League last season in team ERA, and their rotation didn’t do them any favors. Their rotation ERA ballooned to 5.87 in 2019, and largely the same pitchers will be asked to step up in 2020. If German Marquez, Jon Gray and Kyle Freeland don’t take a step forward, they’ll be much of the same this season.
14. Pittsburgh Pirates
With Chris Archer out long-term, the Pirates are leaning on the likes of Joe Musgrove, Derek Holland, and Trevor Williams. If Mitch Keller can take a step in the right direction, as a former top prospect he has the potential to lead the rotation long-term. For now, however, the Bucs have to walk the plank.
13. San Francisco Giants
Losing Madison Bumgarner will have a lasting effect by the Bay, and the Giants now head into 2020 with Johnny Cueto as their ace, and Jeff Samarzija right behind him. That’s less than ideal, and the Giants are better off finally embracing the rebuild.
12. Miami Marlins
In similar fashion to the Padres, the Marlins hurlers have a ton of potential, with Sandy Alcantra and Caleb Smith expected to lead the way, along with several top prospects in the pipeline. Given a few years to mature, the Marlins won’t be in this position for long.
11. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers lack a real ace type, but with Brandon Woodruff, Adrian Houser and Brett Anderson they have three starting pitchers they know they can rely on. The kicker could come if Corbin Burnes finally takes a step forward in 2020.