No matter how talented the superstars on the diamond might be, the starting pitcher is the most impactful player in any MLB game. If he pitches well, the team usually wins. If he gets shelled, it's almost always a loss. And over the course of the season, the strength of the starters that take turns shouldering the load have an outsized impact on the success of their individual teams.

With a 50-game sample size, we're starting to see which MLB rotations are separating themselves from the pack–and their teams from the rest of their divisions. So since collective starting pitching is of such vital importance, why not rank the five best starting rotations in the game right now?

This list takes everything into account: season statistics, track record, high-end potential and consistency. It was a ridiculously tight race from top to bottom. So if you're peeved your favorite MLB team missed the cut, pass along the message to your pitchers, because one good month could be enough to catapult any number of teams onto the next edition of the rotation power rankings.

1. Philadelphia Phillies

In an extremely deep field of talented MLB rotations, it's amazing just how impressive the Philadelphia Phillies have been. They're lapping the field in terms of starting pitcher fWAR, with 6.9 compared to 5.5 for second place. That 1.4 WAR difference is the same as the gap between second and tenth on the list. And they're also the only rotation as of right now with two legitimate Cy Young Award candidates.

Zack Wheeler and Ranger Suárez have been the superstars on this Phillies rotation in 2024, but it's also the names beyond them that make this a truly special group. Aaron Nola could easily be the best pitcher in any playoff series, as the last two seasons have clearly shown.

Cristopher Sánchez hasn't totally found his stride yet this year, but still has a 3.31 ERA and nasty stuff. And when the choices for the fifth slot are a proven vet in Taijuan Walker and a potential late-blooming star in Spencer Turnbull, you know you really can't go wrong with these Fightin' Phils.

2. Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) celebrates the final out against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning at T-Mobile Park.
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Coming into the season, the Seattle Mariners had a very good case for the number one spot. They have five terrific starters who all have the pure stuff to go out and toss a shutout on any given night. Though not everything has gone according to plan thus far in 2024, the talent in Seattle is too eye-popping not to trust that this rotation will finish the season with the stats to back up this selection.

Luis Castillo, George Kirby, Logan Gilbert and Bryce Miller all have ERAs between 3.08 and 3.99 at this point in the season and all have had great moments and shaky ones. If all four finish the season under 4.00, enough other teams will see regression that the Mariners land comfortably in the top five. Plus, Bryan Woo is back in the five slot and looked excellent against a potent Royals lineup on Wednesday.

3. Kansas City Royals

This is a group not many had on their radar to begin the 2024 MLB season, but it's hard to deny the work they've done to this point. They are the team in second behind the Phillies with 5.5 fWAR, they have the third-best FIP at 3.35 and even if they don't have the biggest names compared to some of their competitors, their success passes the eye test to this point in the season.

Seth Lugo seems to legitimately be an ace at this point, a remarkable achievement for a mid-30s righty who worked as a reliever for the vast majority of his career. Brady Singer is enjoying the breakout many expected him to have a few years ago, while Cole Ragans has the raw stuff to no-hit an offense on any given day. With Michael Wacha and Alec Marsh rounding things out, this is a core group that could continue to surprise a national audience as they push towards an unexpected playoff appearance.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

 Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow (31) throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Petco Park.
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There are about 10 pitchers who could theoretically get the ball from Dave Roberts to start a playoff game this fall for the Los Angeles Dodgers. And all 10 could be a huge problem for the opposing offense. Injuries and inconsistencies have been the story of the Dodgers' rotation the past couple seasons, but when their horses are healthy, nothing is stopping them from domination.

It starts with Tyler Glasnow at the top, who has a very good shot at his first career Cy Young if he stays healthy. Yoshinobu Yamamoto has a couple clunkers on his ledger, but he has the stuff to be one of the game's best pitchers as well.

James Paxton and Gavin Stone quietly have a combined record of 9-1. And Walker Buehler looked fantastic in his third start back from Tommy John surgery on Saturday. Plus, there's that future Hall of Famer named Clayton Kershaw looming in the distance as he works his way back from shoulder surgery.

5. Boston Red Sox

It came down to three teams for the final slot. If we're judging by May alone, it probably goes to the New York Yankees, who have been shutting everyone down of late and still have the reigning Cy Young winner working his way back from injury. If we're judging based on aces, it has to be the Detroit Tigers, because Tarik Skubal is a machine.

But even if things have been a little rocky the past couple weeks, we have to give the nod to the Boston Red Sox, who have been the surprise pitching story of the MLB season thus far.

Tanner Houck and Kutter Crawford have both been sensational. Nick Pivetta has had four terrific starts and just one bad one in his injury-shortened 2024 campaign. Brayan Bello got roughed up on his 25th birthday by the St. Louis Cardinals, but still has respectable numbers.

And perhaps most shockingly of all, Cooper Criswell has a 2.76 ERA after being DFA'd by the Tampa Bay Rays and starting the season in AAA. Either new pitching coach Andrew Bailey is a total revolutionary, or his predecessor Dave Bush was a doofus of epic proportions.