Even with the penchant for being a hitter’s conference, the American League boasts some of the best pitchers in the game of baseball too, which makes it a bit unfair when facing up against National League foes. The AL has always been seen as the top conference due to their willingness to throw out copious amounts of money to players, but they have been able to back up their money spending habits with championships too.
With teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Houston Astros, there will never be any questions about how much of a premium that teams will place on pitching, and how much they are willing to pay to have the upper echelon of arms. The Red Sox, specifically, seem to have the best rotation in the AL, sporting the likes of Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello.
The Yankees are facing a big-time bout of injuries currently, as starters like Luis Severino and C.C. Sabathia are all out currently, which decimates a big part of their dedicated money and roster focus. For the Astros, even with losing Dallas Keuchel (eventually) in free agency, they still have a perennial superstar and future All-Star Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Collin McHugh holding down their rotation.
Here are the best starting rotations by division in the AL.
1 – Chris Sale, BOS
2 – Blake Snell, TB
3 – David Price, BOS
4 – James Paxton, NYY
5 – Marcus Stroman, TOR
The only team left off the list in the AL East is the hapless Baltimore Orioles, who only have Chris Davis getting off of his hitting schneid to celebrate nowadays. With baseball looking bleak for the foreseeable future for the Orioles, they do not have any noteworthy players on their roster at this time.
Previously mentioning the Red Sox and Yankees was a foregone conclusion, as both teams are known for their starting rotations. The Red Sox have two entrants on this list and barely missed out on a third with Porcello coming in as a close sixth.
The Tampa Bay Rays have one of the best young arms in the game with Blake Snell, who won the Cy Young award last season. Fresh off a 90-win season, the Rays will look to ride Snell and Charlie Morton in their rotation to a hopeful playoff berth.
Marcus Stroman is the wild card on this list, well known enough to make it on name alone but his performance has been steadily consistent the past few seasons. For a team like the Toronto Blue Jays who are middling along, Stroman is a bright spot for a team desperate for some success.
1 – Corey Kluber, CLE
2 – Trevor Bauer, CLE
3 – Jose Berrios, MIN
4 – Carlos Carrasco, CLE
5 – Kyle Gibson, MIN
Out of respect for the three teams not mentioned in this list, the Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, and Detroit Tigers, this team’s starting rotation outlook sucks. It stinks. Royally.
If not for the emergence of Jose Berrios and the solid nature of Kyle Gibson for the Minnesota Twins, this list would be a simple copy and paste from the Cleveland Indians depth chart. This division is lacking a ton of talent for starting pitching, and the Indians have seemingly become hoarders of that talent in the AL Central.
If Michael Fulmer was not on the shelf for the entire season, then the Detroit Tigers would have an entrant on this list as well, but both the White Sox and Royals have no options that are truly that close to being in the top five.
For Gibson, Shane Bieber could have easily taken away his spot and been the fourth member of the Indians on the list, but there needed to be some levity in terms of who was included, so siding with Gibson was the way the list shaped up.
1 – Justin Verlander, HOU
2 – Gerrit Cole, HOU
3 – Marco Gonzalez, SEA
4 – Yusei Kikuchi, SEA
5 – Felix Hernandez, SEA
Being robbed of seeing Shohei Ohtani pitch this season for the Los Angeles is a true shame because his rookie season was a true testament of what kind of career is in store for the import, which the Angels are very lucky to have. However, with being unable to pitch until 2020, fans are still able to see him put on a hitting display while his arm heals up.
Similar to the AL Central, the AL West is dominated by a few teams in terms of starting pitches, but this division is much more evenly distributed than the Central. While the Astros are solid and have the two best options in the division, the Seattle Mariners have the most arms on this list with three.
The trio of Marco Gonzalez, MLB rookie Yusei Kikuchi and stalwart King Felix Hernandez, the Mariners have a solid grouping of starters to build off as their rebuilding period seemingly begins for the franchise.