The 2019 MLB season is in full swing and its time to start looking towards the 2020-2022 seasons. Who will be on top of their rotation in 2022? We rank the 10 best NL East starting pitchers for that year.
The “mlb rotation rankings 2022” is a ranking of the top 10 starting pitchers for the upcoming 2022 MLB season. The list includes Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Zack Wheeler.
The level of MLB pitching skill in the National League East is bordering on ludicrous.
Charlie Morton, Max Fried, and Ian Anderson may all be thrown out by the Atlanta Braves, who are looking for a spectacular follow-up to their World Series triumph over the Houston Astros. With Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, the New York Mets boast probably the strongest one-two punch in baseball, and the rest of their rotation isn’t bad either. Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler are the twin aces for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Trevor Rogers, Pablo Lopez, and Sandy Alcantara are among the young players for the Miami Marlins this season. The Washington Nationals may have the poorest rotation in the division, but they still have lot of potential in Stephen Strasburg and Josiah Gray, who have the potential to be huge.
It’ll be a difficult to see how all of these renowned starting pitchers compare, but we’re up for it.
This ranking of the top ten starting pitchers in the National League East is based on a combination of past performance and future projections, taking into account everything from ongoing injury concerns to potential progression/regression in an attempt to forecast the expected level of play for the entire 2022 season.
That latter point cannot be overstated.
These rankings are not snapshots in time, starting with the upside-laden group of honorable mentions listed below. They also don’t forecast the ultimate level when the playoff field for 2022 is set. They account for predicted volume and output during the season, depending on anecdotal evidence as well as a lot of statistics, including the 2022 metrics from Fangraphs’ THE BAT predictions.
Ian Anderson of the Atlanta Braves, Carlos Carrasco of the New York Mets, Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals, Ranger Suarez of the Philadelphia Phillies, and Huascar Ynoa of the Atlanta Braves are among the honorable mentions.
New York Mets’ Chris Bassitt is ranked number ten.
Chris Bassitt, while with the Oakland Athletics, was a starting pitcher for the New York Mets. Getty Images/Alika Jenner
157.1 IP, 27 GS, 12-4, 159 K, 39 BB, 3.15 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 3.3 WAR, 2021 Stats
165.0 IP, 29 GS, 11-10, 157 K, 54 BB, 4.18 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 2.5 WAR projected for 2022
Chris Bassitt is a perennial overachiever, thanks to his ability to generate a lot of ground balls and pop-ups, making it simpler for the fielders behind him to get their gloves on. For each of the previous four seasons, his ERA has been much below the more suggestive stats (xERA, FIP, xFIP, SIERA), and we have to presume he’s doing something well rather than relying on abnormal amounts of luck.
In 2021, the 33-year-old started utilizing his sinker and cutter less often, favoring sliders and a bigger dosage of the classic four-seamer instead. That was fortunate, since the two pitches he abandoned were the ones with the highest predicted batting averages (.286 and.297, respectively).
Despite the fact that Bassitt may carry his “luck” — or whatever it is — from the Oakland Athletics to the New York Mets, he’s almost certainly destined for some regression. His skill set, on the other hand, provides a high floor, which is exactly what Ian Anderson needs to win the last featured place and remain at the top of the honorable-mention list.
Pablo Lopez, Miami Marlins, No. 9
102.2 IP, 20 GS, 5-5, 115 K, 26 BB, 3.07 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 2.3 WAR, 2021 Stats
144.0 IP, 26 GS, 10-10, 140 K, 45 BB, 4.01 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 2.7 WAR projected for 2022
During the 2021 season, Pablo Lopez increased the velocity of his fastball, but it didn’t help him improve his heater whiff rate. Instead, it paved the way for him to excel with his off-speed stuff, particularly his changeup. Because the four-seamer created so much poor contact, it remained his most useful pitch, but the changeup provides the potential he needs to confirm the 2021 breakthrough over a bigger sample size.
And therein lays the source of my anxiety.
Lopez is a 26-year-old with a history of three previous shoulder ailments, making his employability uncertain. He may have five different solid pitches and a changeup that gets batters to chase it outside the zone — only Alex Cobb’s splitter, Clayton Kershaw’s slider, and Jacob deGrom’s slider had higher chase rates, according to Pitcher List’s Ben Palmer — but he can’t go any higher without a truly elite offering and with lingering questions about how he’ll hold up over 150 innings. Yet.
Atlanta Braves’ Max Fried (#8)
Stats for 2021: 165.2 innings, 28 games, 14 wins, 158 strikeouts, 41 walks, 3.04 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 3.8 WAR
178.0 IP, 30 GS, 13-10, 166 K, 58 BB, 4.07 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 3.2 WAR projected for 2022
Because the NL East is so stacked with top-end pitchers, seeing the “8.” next to Max Fried’s name seems deceptive. But don’t be concerned. When we combine the divisions for an overall rating, he’ll seem to be in a lot more remarkable position.
Max Fried’s 3.04 ERA and 1.09 WHIP across 165.2 innings may seem impressive, but his stats are even better when you factor in a poor start. In two of his first three appearances, he was beaten up very brutally, but after that, he found his stride. He had a 2.44 ERA (3.09 FIP) and 0.98 WHIP in his last 25 starts, totaling 154.2 innings, with 144 strikeouts and just 36 walks.
Then he followed it up in the playoffs. In a way. Fried did have two terrible starts, one each against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS and the Houston Astros in the World Series, but he also went six shutout innings against the ‘Stros in Game 6 and started his playoffs with nine strikeouts in six clean innings against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Things will rapidly go apart if Fried loses his outstanding fastball command. But, much more often than not, he succeeds with his curveball and heater.
Trevor Rogers of the Miami Marlins is ranked number seven.
Trevor Rogers, starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins | Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
133.0 IP, 25 GS, 7-8, 157 K, 46 BB, 2.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 4.2 WAR, 2021 Stats
159.0 IP, 30 GS, 10-12, 175 K, 63 BB, 4.23 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 3.0 WAR projected for 2022
Trevor Rogers won’t repeat his 2.64 ERA from his first full season in the majors, but the underlying metrics (hampered by a lackluster second half following his placement on the family medical emergency list in August and subsequent placement on the bereavement list) help to highlight the high level at which he was already performing.
More fly balls will certainly leave the field, but Rogers didn’t have much success with his BABIP or a low LOB percent on his way to a 3.39 xERA, 2.55 FIP, 3.54 xFIP, and 3.72 SIERA. He’s already on the cusp of acedom with his outstanding fastball (.219 xBA and.362 xSLG) and complementing changeup, even without developing a slider, which he now employs as a tertiary offering with little effectiveness.
But there’s that fastball. That fastball, oh, that heater. Only ten four-seamers had a higher cumulative run value in 2021, and it’s difficult to begrudge Carlos Rodon, Robbie Ray, Freddy Peralta, Walker Buehler, Logan Gilbert, Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, Liam Hendriks, Lance Lynn, and Josh Hader finishing ahead of them.
6. Atlanta Braves’ Charlie Morton
185.2 IP, 33 GS, 14-6, 216 K, 58 BB, 3.34 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 4.6 WAR, 2021 Stats
152.0 IP, 27 GS, 12-8, 165 K, 55 BB, 3.94 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 2.9 WAR projected for 2022
As he approaches his 40th birthday, Charlie Morton continues to defy Father Time by pitching sub-3.50 ERA seasons.
What makes you think this season will be any different? After all, his strikeout and walk rates were both higher than his career averages, and although he did benefit from some batted-ball luck, the underlying stats show that his 3.34 ERA was overstated. On that front, his 3.32 xERA, 3.18 FIP, 3.31 xFIP, and 3.53 SIERA virtually uniformly agree.
The majority of Morton’s arsenal is unremarkable, with his changeup, cutter, and sinker all ranking below-average. His four-seamer had a.233 xBA and.392 xSLG, which was barely positive. His curveball, with a.173 xBA and.245 xSLG, is still one of the greatest in baseball. Only Carlos Rodon’s four-seamer, Adrian Houser’s sinker, and Kevin Gausman’s splitter provided more run value in 2021 than Carlos Rodon’s four-seamer, sinker, and splitter.
Sandy Alcantara of the Miami Marlins is ranked fifth.
205.2 IP, 33 GS, 9-15, 201 K, 50 BB, 3.19 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 4.2 WAR, 2021 Stats
189.0 IP, 30 GS, 12-11, 171 K, 58 BB, 3.86 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 3.5 WAR projected for 2022
Sandy Alcantara’s season-long stats for the Miami Marlins were strong, but he was much better later in the season after ditching his changeup in favor of a slider that no one could square up.
From Aug. 11 through the conclusion of the season, he had a 2.21 ERA and 0.88 WHIP with a 29 percent strikeout rate while throwing his changeup 18% of the time (23.5 percent for the season) and slider 31% of the time, according to Pitcher List’s Nick Pollack (24.1 percent for the full season). Individually, both pitches performed well throughout the season, but the combination of his sinking fastball and the slider motion fooled batters even more effectively.
Alcantara may only be ranked fifth in his own division, but he’s the first of a small group of NL East pitchers who might end the season among the top five in all of baseball. His abilities and year-over-year advancements are really remarkable.
Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies is ranked fourth.
Aaron Nola, starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies | Mark Brown/Getty Images
Stats for 2021: 180.2 innings, 32 games, 9-9, 223 strikeouts, 39 walks, 4.63 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 4.5 WAR
181.0 IP, 30 GS, 14-9, 198 K, 50 BB, 3.67 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 3.9 WAR projected for 2022
Aaron Nola is a great illustration of how the ERA can be deceiving.
In isolation, his 4.63 ERA seems to be horrible, and he should be ranked significantly lower than some of the other great choices who have previously been in these rankings. However, we aren’t assessing things in a vacuum.
Nola’s.308 BABIP was unsustainable, as was his 66.8% LOB percent, and while allowing more fly balls than ever before, he reduced his line-drive rate and induced a lot of soft contact. All of this combined for a 3.37 xERA, 3.37 FIP, 3.37 xFIP, and 3.26 SIERA, indicating that he is a much better pitcher with lots of potential to improve for the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Phillies’ defense may not improve much behind him, and the bullpen is virtually a running joke at this moment, so Nola may continue to underperform his expectations. In a different setting, though, his ability to strike out hitters while deceiving them with his exceptional curveball would make him appear even more spectacular. His skill is much more impressive than his stats suggest.
3. New York Mets’ Max Scherzer
2021 stats: 179.1 IP, 30 GS, 15-4, 236 K, 36 BB, 2.46 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 5.4 WAR, 179.1 IP, 30 GS, 15-4, 236 K, 36 BB, 2.46 ERA, 0.86 WHIP
172.0 IP, 28 GS, 13-9, 218 K, 52 BB, 3.55 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 4.1 WAR projected for 2022
Max Scherzer will turn 38 in late July, which is arguably the most concerning factor for a pitcher who has suffered with a slew of problems in recent years.
In 2021, the veteran right-four-seamer hander’s sat at 94.3 mph, and his fastball-slider combination remained one of the best in the league. He relies on those two pitches 66.2 percent of the time, augmenting them with a strong changeup, curveball, and cutter. When he’s on top of his game, he’s practically impenetrable.
When hitters do manage to barrel up Scherzer’s best offerings, they’re making a little more hard contact than they were during his prime years. In 2021, he pitched for the Mets and the Washington Nationals, allowing 1.15 homers per nine innings, his second consecutive season over 1.0 after three years below.
Scherzer is still as dominating and competitive as ever, and he’ll appear like a Cy Young Award contender most of the time he’s on the mound. However, a few minor cracks are beginning to appear, which may be aggravated by his age.
2. Philadelphia Phillies’ Zack Wheeler
Zack Wheeler, starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies | Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images
Stats for 2021: 213.1 innings, 32 games, 14-10, 247 strikeouts, 46 walks, 2.78 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 7.3 WAR
179.0 IP, 28 GS, 14-8, 181 K, 48 BB, 3.39 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 4.7 WAR projected for 2022
When you look at Zack Wheeler’s Statcast profile, it’s as if you believe red is the only hue that can exist. He throws the ball hard, forces batters to pursue pitches outside of the strike zone, gets strikeouts without walks, doesn’t allow strong contact, and keeps the average exit velocity low, among other things. Everything is elite these days, thanks in large part to the 31-year-use old’s of his slider as a complementing pitch.
In 2019, Wheeler used the slider on 19.8 percent of his pitches, resulting in a.248 xBA and.415 xSLG. With 2020, he utilized it less often (15.9%), but it still resulted in a.249 xBA and.314 xSLG. However, he increased his use to 24.9 percent this season, reaping the rewards of a pitch that kept hitters to a.224 xBA and.344 xSLG.
He now has three pitches with double-digit run value: the slider (11), sinker (10) and four-seamer (11). (14). For good measure, his curveball is also a solid pitch. Even with a — pardon the expression — terrible defense behind him when he does allow contact, it’s no longer out of the range of possibility that he might emerge as baseball’s finest pitcher.
1. New York Mets’ Jacob deGrom
92.0 IP, 15 GS, 7-2, 146 K, 11 BB, 1.08 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, 4.9 WAR, 2021 Stats
150.0 IP, 24 GS, 12-6, 217 K, 44 BB, 2.65 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 5.4 WAR projected for 2022
It’s clear that this is a source of worry.
Jacob deGrom has battled to remain healthy, pitching just 92.0 innings in 2021 after pitching 68.0 innings in 2020. Every time he takes the mound, Mets supporters clutch their breath, hoping he won’t be forced to depart with an illness that will force him to miss his next turn in the rotation. While that makes this risky, his skill is so great that we’ll gladly seek the prize of having him at No. 1 whenever he’s available.
Though deGrom benefited from a.213 BABIP, his 1.08 ERA was in line with the performance indicators, particularly considering the 33-year-fastball old’s velocity increased to a career-high 99.1 mph. The fact that deGrom had a 1.54 xERA, 1.24 FIP, 1.61 xFIP, and 1.74 SIERA before being shut down adds to the notion that he was having one of the finest pitching seasons in baseball history.
His slider had an estimated batting average of.102 and his four-seamer had an expected batting average of.170, with corresponding slugging percentages of.160 and.312. This, despite the fact that he threw such pitches 90.8 percent of the time. Even though his opponents were aware of what was coming, they were unable to strike him.
Maybe it’s a stretch to predict that he’ll throw 150 innings in 2022, but even at that low volume, he’ll be able to prove that he’s the finest pitcher on the world when fully functional.
Unless otherwise stated, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference, Fangraphs, and Baseball Savant.
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The post Top 10 NL East Starting Pitchers for 2022 MLB Season: Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Zack Wheeler appeared first on Sportscasting – Pure Sports.
The “mlb standings” is a ranking of the top ten starting pitchers for the 2022 MLB Season. The rankings are based on their projected performance for that season.
Frequently Asked Questions
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