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Got arms? 1 future ace for each NL West team

@SteveGilbertMLB
April 3, 2020

There’s a youth movement afoot in a lot of rotations in the National League West, with each team debuting some impressive hurlers over the past two seasons. • One future All-Star from each NL West team Here’s a look at who could be a future ace for each squad:

There’s a youth movement afoot in a lot of rotations in the National League West, with each team debuting some impressive hurlers over the past two seasons.

One future All-Star from each NL West team

Here’s a look at who could be a future ace for each squad:

D-backs: Zac Gallen
The D-backs acquired Gallen from the Marlins on July 31 last year in exchange for top prospect Jazz Chisholm. The 24-year-old ended up being the team’s best pitcher in the second half as he compiled a 2.89 ERA over eight starts. In those outings he never allowed more than three runs, and his best came against the Padres on Sept. 4, when he held them to one hit over seven innings. The success did not go to his head, either, as catcher Carson Kelly noted this spring that Gallen continually finds ways to pick apart his outings and figures out things he still needs to improve upon.

Dodgers: Walker Buehler
Buehler is the undisputed future ace of the Dodgers, if he isn’t already the current one. At just 25, he’s an All-Star with a 14-win season on the resume and has demonstrated he has the chops for October with a 0.853 postseason WHIP. This is what management expected when it made him a first-round pick in the 2015 Draft, even though he already showed symptoms of a torn right ulnar collateral ligament that later required Tommy John surgery. He was handled carefully in '17 and '18 before the wraps came off last year, when he was allowed to throw 195 big league innings (including postseason) even after a Spring Training arm issue. Future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw was named the Opening Day starter this year by manager Dave Roberts, but Roberts gave Buehler the ball for Game 1 of last year's National League Division Series against the Nationals.

Giants: Tyler Beede
The Giants believe Beede has the potential to develop into a frontline starter, but he encountered a significant setback after undergoing Tommy John surgery last month. Still, San Francisco has another promising right-hander in rookie Logan Webb, who is expected to be a key contributor out of the rotation in 2020. The 23-year-old debuted with the Giants last August and never looked back, logging a 5.22 ERA over eight starts. Webb spent the offseason in Arizona and worked with director of pitching Brian Bannister and coordinator of pitching analysis Matt Daniels to continue to refine his repertoire. He is now throwing a cutter to pair with his two-seam fastball and is working to add more sweep to his slider -- tweaks he hopes will allow him to take another step forward this year.

Padres: MacKenzie Gore
The short-term outlook for the San Diego rotation is littered with question marks. But the long-term outlook is bright, and there’s no shortage of candidates for future ace. Chris Paddack almost certainly would’ve earned an Opening Day start had the season begun on time. Fellow right-hander Dinelson Lamet appeared poised for a breakthrough. Prospect Luis Patiño might have as high an upside as any pitching prospect in the division. But the Padres’ future ace is Gore -- baseball’s top pitching prospect, per MLB Pipeline, with a polished four-pitch mix and excellent command of all of those pitches. Gore, a 21-year-old lefty who was the No. 3 overall selection in 2017, might soon sit at the front of one of the sport’s best young pitching staffs.

Rockies: Ryan Rolison
Rolison, a lefty taken out of Ole Miss in the first round of the 2018 Draft, impressed with his poise and easy delivery during his first Major League camp. The 22-year-old doesn't overpower but knows how to move his fastball and has a desirable 12-to-6 movement on his curveball. A key would be the development of a changeup, which could make his pitch mix resemble that of onetime Rox rotation leader Jeff Francis. Rolison turned in some overall strong work last year, his first full pro season, and finished strong with Class A Advanced Lancaster. The thought this spring was that work in Double-A could eventually lead to a big league cameo towards the end of '20.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.