New No. 1 takes over Starting Pitcher Power Rankings

August 24th, 2023

September is approaching, playoff races are heating up, and many of the top arms in the sport are going to have a lot to say about how the standings ultimately shake out.

Look no further than this edition of the Starting Pitcher Power rankings. Nearly all of our top 10 -- as well as the group who received votes -- takes the mound for a team with hopes of reaching the postseason. 

Who will lead his team to October, and who will fall short? That remains to be seen, but for now, here is a look at our latest poll, which features a shakeup at No. 1 and three new hurlers breaking into the top 10.

All stats are through Tuesday’s games.

1. , Padres (Last poll: 2)
Snell takes our top spot for the first time, becoming the fifth different pitcher to lead the way in our first 10 polls of 2023. That’s an especially impressive feat considering the left-hander didn’t even crack our first six editions. But he has come on strong and now leads the Majors with a 2.73 ERA, even as the underperforming Padres continue to scuffle as a team.

2. , Yankees (1)
Cole is so close to locking up his long-awaited first Cy Young Award. Can he make it to the finish line? His last start was an underwhelming loss to the Red Sox (four innings, six runs), but Cole still has at least a share of the AL lead in starts (26), innings (160 1/3) and ERA (3.03).

3. , D-backs (6)
Gallen started the year strong, climbing as high as No. 1 in our poll in May. His production and rank dipped a bit after that, but the right-hander seems set to finish strong as well. He twirled a gem against the Rangers on Tuesday, dropping his August ERA to 2.01 in five starts. That’s huge for a D-backs club hoping to make the postseason despite a thin rotation.

4. , Braves (7)
When Strider dominated the Giants in his last outing, allowing one hit over seven scoreless innings, he also notched his 10th double-digit strikeout performance of the season. That’s three more than any other pitcher. Strider still has time to pile up another 50 K’s and break John Smoltz’s Modern Era (since 1900) franchise record of 276 in a season.

5. , Blue Jays (5)
It’s impressive how much better Gausman has become as his career has progressed. The righty had a 4.30 ERA from ages 22-28 and now owns a 3.17 mark from ages 29-32. He’s due to receive Cy Young Award votes for the third consecutive year and should top his career-best sixth-place finish from the 2021 NL race.

6. , Cubs (4)
The Cubs entered Wednesday with a hold on an NL Wild Card spot, and there is no way they would be in such a position without Steele. The under-the-radar left-hander has allowed more than three earned runs only twice in 23 starts (both back in May), and Chicago has gone 16-7 in those games.

7. , Twins (not ranked)
The Marlins obviously fared well in last offseason’s trade for Luis Arraez, but things worked out for the AL Central-leading Twins as well. López nabbed his first All-Star selection in 2023 and enters Thursday’s scheduled start against the Rangers riding a streak of three straight scoreless outings. He has a 1.22 ERA since July 20 and now gets back in the Starting Pitcher Power Rankings for the first time since April.

8. , Mariners (not ranked)
The surging Mariners have won each of Castillo’s past five starts, which included a seven-inning, one-run outing against the White Sox on Monday. Amazingly, Castillo finished off that performance by throwing 47 straight fastballs (four-seamers or sinkers), one example of his changing repertoire. Castillo has thrown 61.4% heaters this year, up more than 9 percentage points from 2021.

9. , Giants (not ranked)
The dependable Webb leads the Majors with 169 innings, and his 21 starts of at least six innings are tied for first with Gallen. Webb’s 509 2/3 innings since 2021 rank eighth in MLB, and of the seven pitchers above him, only Corbin Burnes and Zack Wheeler can top his 3.09 ERA.

10.  Brewers (10)
Burnes stifled the Dodgers’ powerful offense last Thursday, allowing just two hits and striking out nine over seven scoreless innings for the first-place Brewers. He entered his outing on Wednesday afternoon with a 2.70 ERA in his past 10 appearances since June 25, putting an underwhelming start to the season in the rearview mirror.

Others receiving votes: Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers), Tyler Glasnow (Rays), Shohei Ohtani (Angels), Max Scherzer (Rangers), Justin Verlander (Astros), Freddy Peralta (Brewers), Zack Wheeler (Phillies), Kyle Bradish (Orioles), Sonny Gray (Twins), Kodai Senga (Mets), Bryce Elder (Braves), Zach Eflin (Rays), George Kirby (Mariners)

Voters: David Adler, Brett Blueweiss, Paul Casella, Doug Gausepohl, Thomas Harrigan, Sarah Langs, Travis Miller, Ricardo Montes de Oca, Brian Murphy, Sweeny Murti, Manny Randhawa, Efrain Ruiz, Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru, Andrew Simon, David Venn