When it comes to the starting rotations in the American League, there’s no shortage of talent.
Gerrit Cole was the biggest name on the free agency market. Cole didn’t even leave the American League when he took his talent from the Houston Astros to sign a lucrative nine-year deal with the New York Yankees. Other big-name pitchers who switched teams include Corey Kluber, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel.
Unlike ranking positions in MLB, we’re looking at listing the best starting rotations in the AL. Some teams have an ace, or even two, while some teams have potential holes as the No. 4 and No. 5 starters. It’s not surprising, but in a condensed 60-game season, anything is possible.
No, not all rotations are built equally, as some teams are still searching for their go-to-guy on the mound. There’s little question who ranks last, and first, but these are the best rotations in the AL.
15. Baltimore Orioles
- John Means
- Alex Cobb
- Asher Wojciechowski
- Kohl Stewart
- Wade LeBlanc
The Baltimore Orioles won’t be contenders for quite some time. However, there is a glimmer of hope in the rotation with John Means. He was the runner-up in the AL Rookie of the Year voting and was the lone representative for Baltimore at the All-Star Game.
Baltimore’s four other projected starters don’t seem to stand out much. In two seasons with the Orioles, Alex Cobb has yet to do much for his team due to injuries. Journeyman Asher Wojciechowski is pitching for his third team with a career 5.76 ERA.
Unfortunately, none of the four starters has done much in the past three years, which won’t help Means one bit. For an Orioles rotation that finished dead last in league with a 5.67 ERA, things won’t get much better in this 60-game season.
14. Seattle Mariners
- Marco Gonzales
- Yusei Kikuchi
- Justus Sheffield
- Kendall Graveman
- Taijuan Walker
Seattle’s rotation has some potential in their rotation. Both Yusei Kikuchi and Justus Sheffield have a ton of promise, but they have yet to prove themselves. Kendall Graveman and Taijuan Walker were respected middle-of-the-order starters a few seasons ago, but they haven’t been healthy thanks to Tommy John surgery.
However, the Mariners do have Marco Gonzales, who’s improved over the past two seasons. Gonzales pitched a respectable 3.99 ERA in 2018 and a 4.00 ERA the following season. He isn’t an All-Star pitcher, but that alone keeps Seattle in the basement for American League rotations.
13. Kansas City Royals
- Danny Duffy
- Jakob Junis
- Brad Keller
- Mike Montgomery
- Jorge Lopez
Kansas City is another American League team that’s in rebuild mode. The Royals have a so-so rotation that lacks an ace at the top of the rotation. They have a rotation made up of third or fourth staters.
The bigger question in the Royals rotation is Mike Montgomery, who bounced back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen. He struggled in both roles in 2019, and if he’s mediocre again, Kansas City doesn’t have other options. Danny Duffy and Jakob Junis haven’t been delivering their best performances, but one could hope for the future.
At this point, all the Royals can do is take what they got. Who knows, within a year or two, their pitching prospects, Brady Singer and Asa Lacey, could change their rotation woes.
12. Boston Red Sox
- Eduardo Rodriguez
- Martín Pérez
- Nathan Eovaldi
- Ryan Weber
- Collin McHugh
A Boston Red Sox rotation with no Chris Sale and David Price looks drastically different. Eduardo Rodriguez is a solid starter who’ll look to help the Red Sox win some games. Nathan Eovaldi will look improve from a disastrous 2019 campaign.
Martín Pérez is a questionable starter who’s had some high ERA’s over the past three seasons (4.82, 6.22, 5.12.) Collin McHugh will try to transition back to the starting rotation after spending the last two seasons in the Houston Astro’s bullpen. Ryan Weber will look to deliver on the promising potential he has shown at the Triple-A level. Overall, the ceiling for Boston’s rotation is lower than in the past.
11. Toronto Blue Jays
- Hyun-Jin Ryu
- Tanner Roark
- Matt Shoemaker
- Chase Anderson
- Trent Thornton, Ryan Borucki or Nate Pearson
Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins addressed the team’s lack of pitching depth after a dismal 2019 season. Now, Toronto’s rotation looks a whole lot different from last year, and that’s a good thing. Toronto landed Hyun-Jin Ryu to a four-year contract and Tanner Roark to a two-year deal. Ryu could be a game-changer as he was the runner-up in last year’s NL Cy Young vote with a 2.32 ERA.
Chase Anderson came through trade from Milwaukee, and Matt Shoemaker is coming back from a torn ACL. The question that remains unanswered is what the Blue Jays will add as their fifth starter. Trent Thornton will likely get the last spot over Ryan Borucki. However, with Nate Pearson on the rise, that could all change.