Spring training gives fans a unique opportunity to see the standouts of tomorrow compete against the stars of today. It lets them peer into the future and see who’s going to be the dominant forces on the mound over the next five or 10 seasons.
As the preseason heats up, it makes sense for fans to look ahead at their current and future pitching staffs to try to gauge who will be among the best starters a few years down the line. It also lets them see which team’s rotations are set up for success both this year and in the future. Let’s take a look at the five MLB teams who will have the best starting rotations in 2023.
5. Houston Astros
The Astros hold the rights to four of the MLB’s Top-100 prospects, including Forrest Whitley, Josh James, Corbin Martin, and J.B. Bukauskas.
Coming in at seventh overall and first among pitchers, Whitley is one of the most heralded prospects in all of baseball. With James expected to take the fifth starter’s slot before a spring training injury, Whitley may move up and claim it if his 2019 spring performance continues to impress. He has a wicked change-up and a fastball that can hit 99 mph.
For a team that’s already stacked with veteran pitching talent at the big league level in 2019, it appears as that 2023 may bear more of the same. Even if not all of the prospects listed above reach their full potential, Houston has the financial ability and franchise stability to remain competitive on the free agent market. Plus, current rotation member and former Pirates ace Gerrit Cole is only 28 and figures to be part of the team’s long term plans as well.
4. Philadelphia Phillies
As far as the present is concerned, the Phillies struck while the iron was
The future of their rotation looks just as bright, however, as the team has two Top-100 MLB Prospects currently dealing in their farm system: 20-year-old Sixto Sanchez and Adonis Medina. Both pitched impressively in Single-A last season. With Nola as the ace, the Phillies figure to have one of the best starting rotations in the majors for yeas to come.
3. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers have two pitchers in MLB’s Top-50 prospects — Casey Mize and Matt Manning. Other prospects, including Franklin Perez and Kyle Funkhouser, have also looked good in early spring action in 2019.
With a collection of other arms near ready to aid the big club, including Beau Burrows and Alex Faedo, the Tigers have the assets to either greatly improve their pitching staff over the next five seasons or move those pieces for MLB-ready arms that can speed up that improvement.
2. San Diego Padres
For lack of a better term, the Padres’ cadre of pitching prospects is loaded. San Diego’s system features a mind-boggling seven pitchers in MLB’s Top-100 prospects including MacKenzie Gore, Chris Paddock, Luis Patino, Adrian Morejan, Michael Baez, Logan Allen, and Ryan Weathers.
Combine this overwhelming amount of talent with the pitching-friendly confines of Petco Park and the run support of big-ticket 2019 offseason free agent Manny Machado, and the Padres looked poised to have one of baseball’s best starting rotations by 2023, and possibly sooner.
1. Atlanta Braves
We’ve reached the cream of the crop. The Braves’ current pitching staff is stacked, fronted by 27-year old ace Mike Foltynewicz. Foltynewicz went 13-10 in 183 innings last year with an ERA of 2.85. The Braves’ relatively young staff was one of the best in baseball last year, finishing second-best in ERA among NL teams.
There is additional good news for Braves fans — more help is on the way. Atlanta has five prospects in MLB’s Top-100, and Mike Soroka and Kyle Wright lead that list. A stable current rotation combined with the promising young studs means the Braves will have one of the best starting rotations in baseball for years to come.