All 30 projected Opening Day rotations

January 23rd, 2019

We're less than a month away from Spring Training, so it's a good time to project what each club's Opening Day rotation will look like, or at least what it would look like if the season started today. With the help of all 30 MLB.com beat writers, here's a roundup of how they might shake out.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays

and are back for the start of another year, but the big question is, for how long? Both starters have been mentioned as possible trade candidates, and with just two years of control remaining, the rumors aren't going away any time soon. There has been a lot of turnover in the Toronto rotation lately and there will be even more soon. J.A. Happ and  are gone, while , and rookie are in. -- Gregor Chisholm

Rotation if season started today

  1. Marcus Stroman, RHP

  2. Aaron Sanchez, RHP

  3. , LHP

  4. Matt Shoemaker, RHP

  5. Clayton Richard, LHP

    Orioles

    With statistically the worst rotation in 2018, the Orioles could return a unit entirely unchanged from a year ago. It is also a group that could look completely different by season's end. regressed mightily in his age-25 season, while and Alex Cobb struggled to career-worst lines in their debut years in Baltimore. All are candidates to be dealt by summer's end, should they bounce back in some fashion.

    But to start, as many as seven pitchers could be fighting for the final two spots. and Yefry Ramirez received the most work in 2018, but neither performed well enough to enter camp with starting jobs. Expect the likes of , , , and Keegan Akin to get long looks this spring. -- Joe Trezza

    Rotation if season started today

  6. Dylan Bundy, RHP

  7. Andrew Cashner, RHP

  8. Alex Cobb, RHP

  9. David Hess, RHP

  10. Yefry Ramirez, RHP

    Rays

    The Rays will continue to use the "opener" in 2019, but it remains to be seen just how they plan on doing so heading into the season. , the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, will serve as the team's ace. Charlie Morton, the team's big free-agent acquisition, will give the rotation a big boost and a much-needed veteran presence. , who showed flashes of why he was once the No. 1 prospect in baseball, will slot in as the team's third starter. Now, once you get past that trio, there are a lot more questions for the Rays. Manager Kevin Cash said during the Winter Meetings that the team plans on using the opener twice in the rotation. However, it'll make sense for the Rays to split up the days where they plan on using an opener in order to keep the bullpen fresh. It'll be interesting to see what order the Rays ultimately go with, but one thing is certain: The opener is coming back. -- Juan Toribio

    Rotation if season started today

  11. Blake Snell, LHP

  12. Charlie Morton, RHP

  13. Opener

  14. Tyler Glasnow, RHP

  15. Opener

Red Sox

The defending World Series-champion Red Sox are loaded in the rotation. Ace Chris Sale is healthy again after going though a prolonged bout of left shoulder inflammation last summer. Then again, Sale looked plenty healthy when he threw a wipeout slider to whiff Manny Machado and end the World Series. For the first time since he got to Boston, enters the season with no questions about his ability to come through in high-pressure moments. Nobody was bigger for the Sox in October than the veteran lefty. Well, perhaps nobody but , the flame-throwing righty the Red Sox prioritized this offseason by re-signing him to a four-year, $68 million contract. might never win a Cy Young Award again, but he is consistently durable and dependable and is entering the final season of his contract. Once again, comes into Spring Training in hopes of that breakout year. He was plenty good when healthy in 2018. The presence of depth options , and will give manager Alex Cora the ability to rest his starters when healthy. -- Ian Browne

Rotation if season started today

  1. Chris Sale, LHP

  2. David Price, LHP

  3. Rick Porcello, RHP

  4. Nathan Eovaldi, RHP

  5. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP

Yankees

The Yankees entered the winter aiming to add at least one top-of-the-rotation hurler, which they believe was accomplished by acquiring from the Mariners in November. "Big Maple" projects to pair with to create a formidable one-two punch, though Paxton will need to remain healthy and Severino must cure the pitch-tipping ills that spoiled his second half. has been a reliable contributor through five big league seasons, and Happ seemed to instantly fit in after being acquired from the Blue Jays in July. After a scary health episode in December, is looking to end his career on a high note. -- Bryan Hoch

Rotation if season started today

  1. Luis Severino, RHP

  2. James Paxton, LHP

  3. Masahiro Tanaka, RHP

  4. J.A. Happ, LHP

  5. CC Sabathia, LHP

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Indians

There have been plenty of rumors surrounding the Indians' starting rotation this offseason, but for now, both and remain in Cleveland. Last season, the Tribe led all other starting staffs in Wins Above Replacement (22.9) for the second consecutive year, per FanGraphs, and is returning all five of its top 2018 hurlers. The club will also have options in -- who missed last season due to right shoulder surgery -- once he is ready to rejoin the club, and , who was sidelined the last two years from Tommy John surgery. If the rotation stays intact, it has the chance to be one of the most dominant in baseball once again with Kluber and Bauer being potential Cy Young Award contenders and Shane Bieber having a year of Major League experience under his belt. -- Mandy Bell

Rotation if season started today

  1. Corey Kluber, RHP

  2. Trevor Bauer, RHP

  3. , RHP

  4. Mike Clevinger, RHP

  5. Shane Bieber, RHP

    Royals

    The Royals' front four of the rotation seem fairly set heading into Spring Training, though the order is anything but set. If Danny Duffy's offseason work is as promising as he suggests, he likely will claim the top spot and be the Opening Day starter. The emergence of Rule 5 Draft pick last year makes one believe he'll elevate to the No. 2 spot. Jakob Junis' strong finish suggests he'll claim the No. 3 spot. also finished well, but it wouldn't be a huge surprise if at some point the Royals utilized him as a late-inning guy. The fifth spot will be the fun battle in Spring Training, although the PED suspension of left-hander narrows the rotation. That No. 5 spot probably comes down to (who nearly threw a perfect game last season), and a host of other candidates, including , Arnaldo Hernandez and . -- Jeffrey Flanagan

    Rotation if season started today

  6. Danny Duffy, LHP

  7. Brad Keller, RHP

  8. Jakob Junis, RHP

  9. Ian Kennedy, RHP

  10. Jorge Lopez, RHP

    Tigers

    Take three established starters who form the core of the Tigers' rotation and add two free-agent signings looking for career rebounds. Top it off with a young pitcher or two who could work their way into full-time starting roles but could also serve as depth for injuries or versatile swingmen in the bullpen. It's a formula the Tigers used to build their rotation a year ago. It's a formula they'll use again for 2019.

    Replace Mike Fiers and with Matt Moore and , and the Tigers' projected rotation looks similar to last year. Matthew Boyd has blossomed into a potential front-line workhorse with a breakthrough 2018 season. is again trying to bounce back from surgery, this time to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. is recovering from core muscle repair surgery, but his arm appears to be fine. again has a chance to prove himself but seems poised to reprise a spot starter/relief role following the Moore and Ross signings. could be in line for a similar fit after an encouraging September stretch in the rotation, or he could serve as insurance at Triple-A Toledo.

    With five highly ranked starting pitching prospects on the way, the Tigers could have a vastly different rotation in a couple of years. For now, however, there's some stability in the top half. -- Jason Beck

    Rotation if season started today

  11. Matthew Boyd, LHP

  12. Michael Fulmer, RHP

  13. Jordan Zimmermann, RHP

  14. Matt Moore, LHP

  15. Tyson Ross, RHP

Twins

Four of the Twins' starting spots for 2019 were all but set entering the offseason. At the top is 24-year-old , who is coming off his first 200-strikeout season and supported by the experienced Jake Odorizzi and , who had his long-awaited breakout last season. is also expected to hold down a rotation spot in his return from Tommy John surgery, as the Twins hope that he can regain the pre-injury form that netted him the American League's most strikeouts per nine innings in '16.

While there are several options on the roster for Minnesota's unclaimed fifth rotation spot, the Twins are reportedly adding left-hander , a veteran of seven Major League seasons, who could emerge as the candidate to hold down the position until the organization's young pitching prospects are more ready to establish themselves at the MLB level. and could also be in the conversation, and Kohl Stewart, and Chase De Jong should also push for consideration. -- Do-Hyoung Park

Rotation if season started today

  1. Jose Berrios, RHP

  2. Kyle Gibson, RHP

  3. Michael Pineda, RHP

  4. Jake Odorizzi, RHP

  5. Martin Perez, LHP

White Sox

If didn't suffer a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament at the end of the 2018 season and lose his '19 season to recovery from Tommy John surgery, the White Sox rotation would look quite a bit different. If , the reigning MLB Pipeline Pitcher of the Year, continues the great progression he showed in '18, he could be the final piece of the rotation sooner than later.

The White Sox have Manny Banuelos, , and battling for that fifth spot. But if the White Sox add another veteran hurler, that move would change the look of the starting staff.

There are rotation certainties heading into the season. could make his first Opening Day start as he enters the 2019 campaign fully healthy. is a solid innings eater added to the middle of the rotation, and and will take what they learned in their first full seasons and try to make a step up in '19. -- Scott Merkin

Rotation if season started today

  1. Carlos Rodon, LHP

  2. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP

  3. Ivan Nova, RHP

  4. Lucas Giolito, RHP

  5. Manny Banuelos, LHP

    AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

    Angels

    The Angels are counting on talented lefties and to lead the rotation, but they've had injury concerns in recent years, so keeping them healthy will be key. They added Matt Harvey and via free agency on one-year deals to add depth, as isn't pitching in 2019 after Tommy John surgery. They're hoping for a bounce-back season from Harvey, who pitched better after being traded to the Reds. Cahill is coming off one of his better seasons, turning in a 3.76 ERA with the A's. Right-hander had a solid rookie season in 2018, posting a 3.41 ERA in 26 starts, and is the front-runner for the fifth spot. Others in the mix include Nick Tropeano, and until highly regarded prospectsGriffin Canning and Jose Suarez are ready for the Majors. -- Rhett Bollinger

    Rotation if season started today

  6. Tyler Skaggs, LHP

  7. Andrew Heaney, LHP

  8. Matt Harvey, RHP

  9. Trevor Cahill, RHP

  10. Jaime Barria, RHP

    Astros

    and both finished in the top five in American League Cy Young Award voting last year, so that's a great place to start. is back in the rotation following a terrific season out of the bullpen. The Astros are in pursuit of a veteran starting pitcher to add to the mix, but for now they have promising youngsters Josh James and in the rotation. Top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley should make his debut at some point in 2019, but another veteran arm is desired. -- Brian McTaggart

    Rotation if season started today

  11. Justin Verlander, RHP

  12. Gerrit Cole, RHP

  13. Collin McHugh, RHP

  14. Josh James, RHP

  15. Framber Valdez, LHP

Athletics

This is merely guesswork at this juncture of the offseason. The A's desperately need more starters to bolster this unit, which features little experience outside of the seasoned Fiers, and they're expected to find those add-on pieces in the coming weeks. Jesus Luzardo, of course, is the most intriguing name among this bunch; the A's anticipate their top pitching prospect to break camp with the big-league club. Elsewhere, , and represent the top in-house rotation options at this point, with Frankie Montas and acting as depth behind them. -- Jane Lee

Rotation if season started today

  1. Mike Fiers, RHP

  2. Jesus Luzardo, LHP

  3. Daniel Mengden, RHP

  4. Chris Bassitt, RHP

  5. Paul Blackburn, RHP

    Mariners

    With coming off the worst season of his 14-year career (8-14, 5.55 ERA) and Paxton traded to the Yankees this offseason, the Mariners' rotation is a bit of a mystery at the top end. Should the club decide to end Hernandez's streak of 10 consecutive Opening Day starts, the likely options are up-and-coming lefty or newly signed Japanese free agent Yusei Kikuchi.

    But with one remaining year at $27 million on his contract, Hernandez still figures to get a shot at fitting somewhere in the mix and the club also returns veterans Mike Leake and , both coming off solid seasons. Clearly the future is knocking on the door, however, as newly acquired prospects , Justin Dunn and Erik Swanson are all potential additions at some point this year. -- Greg Johns

    Rotation if season started today

  6. Marco Gonzales, LHP

  7. Yusei Kikuchi, LHP

  8. Mike Leake, RHP

  9. Wade LeBlanc, LHP

  10. Felix Hernandez, RHP

Rangers

The Rangers could have a set rotation in place right now if they are content to go into the season with three starters who underwent Tommy John surgery within the last two years.

That's the mystery surrounding the Rangers with less than a month to go before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. The Rangers have five veteran starters in place, but they all have undergone significant physical issues recently in their careers. It would seem unlikely that the Rangers would go to camp without at least adding more depth. -- T.R. Sullivan

Rotation if season started today

  1. Mike Minor, LHP 

  2. , RHP

  3. Drew Smyly, LHP

  4. , RHP

  5. , RHP

    NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

    Braves

    With going to the Reds, it looks like the Braves may enter Spring Training without making a rotation addition. Mike Foltynewicz performed like a front-line starter last year, and has the capability to make a similar leap this year. and provided quality depth to this group, which could be enriched by a healthy and a further-developed Touki Toussaint. Soroka, Toussaint and are among the Braves prospects who could share the fifth spot on an alternating basis during the early part of the season. -- Mark Bowman

    Rotation if season started today

  6. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP

  7. Sean Newcomb, LHP

  8. Kevin Gausman, RHP

  9. Julio Teheran, RHP

  10. TBD

Marlins

How the rotation goes will largely determine how long the Marlins' rebuilding process takes. Based on talent and depth, there are many interesting options for Miami, either starters who will be on the Opening Day roster or join the rotation over the course of the season. has cemented himself as the ace. Dan Straily is an experienced right-hander and is projected to be the lone left-hander. If Straily isn't dealt before Spring Training, he profiles as the No. 2 starter. , , and made starts as rookies in 2018. But Smith missed the second half due to surgery to repair a left pectoral muscle, and Lopez missed all of September with a shoulder issue. -- Joe Frisaro

Rotation if season started today

  1. Jose Urena, RHP

  2. Dan Straily, RHP

  3. Wei-Yin Chen, LHP

  4. Sandy Alcantara, RHP

  5. Trevor Richards, RHP

    Mets

    The Mets' rotation won't feature any surprises. , the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, will start on Opening Day. , Zack Wheeler and will file in behind him, looking for healthy seasons. The Mets will round out their starting five with , who rebounded from a poor first half to give the Mets confidence in him heading into 2019. -- Anthony DiComo

    Rotation if season started today

  6. Jacob deGrom, RHP

  7. Noah Syndergaard, RHP

  8. Zack Wheeler, RHP

  9. Steven Matz, LHP

  10. Jason Vargas, LHP

Nationals

"Starting pitching is king," general manager Mike Rizzo proclaimed at the start of December, before he began revamping a rotation that disappointed the Nationals last season. First, the Nats added the top free-agent starting-pitching prize in and followed it up by signing the resurgent , fresh off a breakout 2018 that resurrected his career. Those additions combined with perennial Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer and the dominant when healthy should give Washington one of the best rotations in the National League. -- Jamal Collier

Rotation if season started today

  1. Max Scherzer, RHP

  2. Stephen Strasburg, RHP

  3. Patrick Corbin, LHP

  4. Anibal Sanchez, RHP

  5. Joe Ross, RHP

    Phillies

    The Phillies could open the 2019 season with the same rotation that finished 2018, which has the front office feeling OK and fans a little nervous. , , , Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez pitched well through early August before struggling mightily the final two months of the season. The front office believes the group will be better, based on experience and a 3.76 FIP, which ranked seventh in baseball last season. But the front office also acknowledges what fans wonder: Is it a risk? There is a reason the Phillies pursued Corbin and Happ this winter. It is why there remains an outside chance they take a run at free-agent left-hander -- Todd Zolecki

    Rotation if season started today

  6. Aaron Nola, RHP

  7. Jake Arrieta, RHP

  8. Nick Pivetta, RHP

  9. Zach Eflin, RHP

  10. Vince Velasquez, RHP

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

Brewers

Predicting a five-man rotation for the Brewers under David Stearns and Craig Counsell is a challenge. Last season, they employed 11 starting pitchers, including seven who made double-digit starts. In 2017, 13 pitchers started games for the Brewers. That's in part by design. For example, last winter's consensus was that the Brewers needed a front-line starter and should spend big for a free agent the likes of . Instead, Stearns signed to a two-year deal and built a rotation short on "aces" but long on depth, and those arms took the Brewers to within one victory of the World Series.

There is still time for acquisitions, but it appears the Brewers plan to employ the same strategy in 2019. Chacin leads the way, followed by a group of established pitchers aiming for bounce-back seasons and some up-and-comers seeking to build on 2018 success. We'll stretch the list to seven pitchers positioned to make more than a start or two. -- Adam McCalvy

Rotation if season started today

  1. Jhoulys Chacin, RHP

  2. Chase Anderson, RHP

  3. , RHP

  4. Jimmy Nelson, RHP

  5. , RHP

  6. , RHP

  7. , RHP

    Cardinals

    Options are plentiful as the Cardinals begin to piece together their starting rotation. will return as the likely Opening Day starter and anchor what could be an entirely right-handed unit. The first four spots seem solidified, barring injury, and will have the inside track for the fifth. If the Cards need to go further down the depth chart, they have several other starting candidates in , , , and Daniel Ponce de Leon-- Jenifer Langosch

    Rotation if season started today

  8. Miles Mikolas, RHP

  9. , RHP

  10. , RHP

  11. , RHP

  12. Adam Wainwright, RHP

Cubs

The Cubs' projected starting five average 32 years old with nearly nine years of MLB experience. They are experienced and capable of logging the kind of innings that could alleviate some of the uncertainty in the bullpen. Darvish, who was limited to eight starts last year due to injury, will be the wild card. But all indications are that he is healthy and Darvish said last week that he will be unrestricted this spring with Opening Day as a realistic goal. With all five starters issue-free, Mike Montgomery and would become relief options. -- Jordan Bastian

Rotation if season started today

  1. , LHP

  2. , RHP

  3. Cole Hamels, LHP

  4. Yu Darvish, RHP

  5. , LHP

Pirates

The Pirates might have one of the game's most underrated rotations after adding Chris Archer in the middle of a breakout season for both and . A full year of Archer should help, and they would benefit from a healthy Joe Musgrove as well. Taillon and Williams must prove their improvements were sustainable. Free agent acquisition , who tweaked his pitch usage last season, looks like the early favorite for the fifth spot over lefty and out-of-options righty . -- Adam Berry

Rotation if season started today

  1. Jameson Taillon, RHP

  2. Chris Archer, RHP

  3. Trevor Williams, RHP

  4. Joe Musgrove, RHP

  5. Jordan Lyles, RHP

    Reds

    The Reds wanted to put their rebuilding efforts fully behind them, but they knew they couldn't get far without improving their rotation. Cincinnati, which ranked 14th out of 15 clubs in starter ERA last season, didn't just make tweaks; it was instead a big overhaul with three winter trades bringing in Gray, and Alex Wood. Whether the Reds can fully contend in '19 after four straight 90-plus-loss seasons remains to be seen, but they should definitely pitch better. -- Mark Sheldon

    Rotation if season started today

  6. Sonny Gray, RHP

  7. Tanner Roark, RHP

  8. Alex Wood, LHP

  9. , RHP

  10. , RHP

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

D-backs

The rotation, which was a team strength in 2018, will be without Corbin and in 2019, but the D-backs still have Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray and expect to get back from Tommy John surgery. To build some depth behind Greinke, Ray and , the D-backs acquired right-hander from the Cardinals in the trade, and they signed righty Merrill Kelly, who spent the past four seasons pitching in Korea.

Arizona does have some depth at the top end of the farm system in Matt Koch, and Jon Duplantier among others. -- Steve Gilbert

Rotation if season started today

  1. Zack Greinke, RHP

  2. Robbie Ray, LHP

  3. Zack Godley, RHP

  4. Luke Weaver, RHP

  5. Merrill Kelly, RHP

    Dodgers

    To those worked up over whether the top two on this list should be reversed, what a fantastic dilemma that is. Not making the top-five cut for now are and , another high-quality surplus. Even without Kluber, who has been tied to the Dodgers in trade rumors all winter, Los Angeles' starting rotation is the envy of most clubs. -- Ken Gurnick

    Rotation if season started today

  6. , LHP

  7. , RHP

  8. , LHP

  9. Rich Hill, LHP

  10. , RHP

Giants

has been the subject of numerous trade rumors this offseason, but president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has said he isn't making any outgoing calls regarding the club's longtime ace, so he remains in line to be the Giants' Opening Day starter. The Giants will miss , who will be unavailable for most of the season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but they added some durability to their rotation by re-signing last week. Jeff Samardzija is a bit of a question mark after struggling with a persistent right shoulder issue in 2018, though he is progressing well in his throwing program. Despite their impressive rookie campaigns, and aren't necessarily locks for the Opening Day rotation, with the addition of Drew Pomeranz taking one spot combining with the Giants' desire to ease pressure on their young arms by having them begin the year in the bullpen or in the Minors. -- Chris Haft

Rotation if season started today

  1. Madison Bumgarner, LHP

  2. Derek Holland, LHP

  3. Dereck Rodriguez, RHP

  4. Drew Pomeranz, LHP

  5. Jeff Samardzija, RHP

Padres

It seems likely the Padres add another arm to this mix before the start of Spring Training. Their rotation posted the highest ERA in the NL last year, and has been the only addition. He might not even pitch this season. Still, it's clear San Diego wants to give its young arms a chance. Logan Allen and will compete for places this spring, while Joey Lucchesi and could headline the rotation. Meanwhile, keep an eye on left-hander , who was outstanding in the 'pen last season in his return from knee surgery. The Padres have asked him to bulk up for a transition into a starting role. If his body holds up, he's got front-of-the-rotation stuff. -- AJ Cassavell

Rotation if season started today

  1. Joey Lucchesi, LHP

  2. Eric Lauer, LHP

  3. Robbie Erlin, LHP

  4. , RHP

  5. Matt Strahm, LHP

    Rockies

    Rare in the Rockies' history have they had such quality and depth. Lefty finished fourth in NL Cy Young Award balloting, righty finished eighth in the NL in strikeouts, and hopes are high for lefty after he set career highs for innings pitched and strikeouts last season. is trying to rebound from a season that saw him optioned to the Minors and left off the postseason roster, and hopes blister problems that marred his 2018 season are in the past. But the listed rotation is not chiseled in granite. Pushing hard for jobs are righties , who started last year's NL Division Series opener; righty , who suffered a shoulder injury last spring and never had a chance to challenge for a job; and righty prospect Peter Lambert, who climbed to Triple-A last season at age 21. -- Thomas Harding

    Rotation if season started today

  6. Kyle Freeland, LHP

  7. German Marquez, RHP

  8. Tyler Anderson, LHP

  9. Jon Gray, RHP

  10. Chad Bettis, RHP