Blue Jays: Ranking the AL East pitching rotations heading into the season

Detroit Tigers v Toronto Blue Jays
Detroit Tigers v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

Looking at the pitching rotations now, the AL East owns several of the league's best pitchers - like Gerrit Cole and Shane McClanahan - along with other young studs and savvy veterans. With each team making changes to their pitching staffs, let’s rank each team’s pitching rotations for the upcoming 2023 season. Rotation projections are taken from Roster Resource on FanGraphs.

 #5 Baltimore Orioles

Projected Rotation: 

  1. RHP Kyle Gibson
  2. LHP Cole Irvin
  3. RHP Dean Kremer
  4. RHP Kyle Bradish
  5. RHP Grayson Rodriguez

The Orioles have improved their rotation from the 2022 season, with the signing of Kyle Gibson and trade for Cole Irvin. The emergence of the league’s No. 2 pitching prospect, Grayson Rodriguez, should help as well. After losing the team's ace, John Means, to Tommy John surgery, Dean Kremer was a decent surprise last season, posting a 3.23 ERA across 125.1 innings. On the other hand, Kyle Bradish struggled with a 4.90 ERA. The newly-acquired Gibson has played in 10 major league seasons but has never truly impressed over the course of an entire year. However, Irvin is coming off a strong season with the Athletics, as he held a 3.98 ERA. All in all, this O’s rotation is an improved group compared to the 2022 season, though it still lacks a clear No. 1 option and is the weakest in the AL East.

 #4 Boston Red Sox

Projected Rotation:

  1. LHP Chris Sale
  2. RHP Corey Kluber
  3. RHP Nick Pivetta
  4. LHP James Paxton
  5. RHP Garrett Whitlock

The Red Sox roster is going to look very different than it did a season ago, especially the rotation. The addition of former Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and the returns of Chris Sale and James Paxton from long-term injuries make up the core of the rotation. Each has had a mostly prolific career, but injuries have made them each potential question mark as well. Garrett Whitlock has shown signs of excellence so far in his young career, though the bulk of his work has come in the bullpen. Nick Pivetta made 33 starts for this team a season ago with a 4.56 ERA and at times looked like a pretty solid SP2, though consistency was an issue. Ultimately, this rotation is the fourth-best in the division, although Brayan Bello and Bryan Mata are exciting young exciting arms to look out for this season as injuries begin to pile up.

 #3 Tampa Bay Rays

Projected Rotation: 

  1. LHP Shane McClanahan
  2. RHP Tyler Glasnow
  3. RHP Drew Rassmusen
  4. RHP Zach Eflin
  5. LHP Jeffrey Springs

While Shane McClanahan broke out last season, both Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs also showed vast improvement and have solidified their spots in the rotation. Adding Tyler Glasnow back from an extended injury absence and Zach Eflin from the Phillies makes for a well-rounded rotation with the potential to carry this team to the playoffs. The Rays' usage of pitchers is unique, however, and can limit the full potential of innings eaten by starters. The Rays rotation will remain a strength for the team, though they can be outmatched, which makes them the third-best group in the division.

#2 Toronto Blue Jays

Projected Rotation: 

  1. RHP Alek Manoah
  2. RHP Kevin Gausman
  3. RHP José Berríos
  4. RHP Chris Bassitt
  5. LHP Yusei Kikuchi

The Blue Jays rotation is set to look very similar to their 2022 group, with the departure of Ross Stripling and the addition of Chris Bassitt. Alek Manoah is coming off a third place finish in the Cy Young voting and is established as one of the best young pitchers in the entire league. Kevin Gausman proved to be one of the league’s most prolific strikeout pitchers in his outstanding first season with the Jays. José Berríos is looking to bounce back from a career-worst season in 2022, as the right-hander struggled through most of the season. He’ll need to prove that last season was a clear outlier in an otherwise solid career. Yusei Kikuchi is slated to take the fifth starter role, though Hyun Jin Ryu, who is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, is expected to return in July. Barring anything unforeseen, he should retake his role in the rotation once healthy. With a healthy Ryu, this Jays rotation has a chance to be one of the most reliable staffs in the whole league, but still not the best in the division.

#1 New York Yankees

Projected Rotation:

  1. RHP Gerrit Cole
  2. LHP Carlos Rodón
  3. RHP Luis Severino
  4. LHP Nestor Cortes
  5. RHPs Domingo German / Frankie Montas

The Yankees have the best rotation in the AL East and one of the deepest rotations in the entire MLB. The departure of Jameson Taillon to the Cubs, was more than offset with the signing of one of the biggest free agents on the market, Carlos Rodón, who’s coming off back-to-back All-Star seasons. Luis Severino appears healthy and poised to return to his impact level as well, though he has a long history of injuries in recent seasons. Frankie Montas is expected to miss the first month of the season as he is still recovering from shoulder issues, but Nestor Cortes is coming off of his first full season in the majors, and he was impressive with an outstanding 2.44 ERA. Domingo German has been very inconsistent during his career, though he could be used as depth once Montas returns. The depth of this rotation is what sets it apart as the best in the AL East. Both the Rays and the Blue Jays’ top two starters are comparable to the Yankees’, though the middle and bottom of the Yankees rotation is what makes them the best. 

Next. Blue Jays sign catcher Jamie Ritchie to minor league deal. dark