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The National League is poised to have some excellent rotations

Dec 4, 2012, 12:32 PM EDT

Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez Reuters

Even with Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez still up for grabs, the National League already seems set to sport some excellent rotations in 2013. How about this for the top four:

Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Dan Haren, Ross Detwiler
Giants: Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, Barry Zito
Phillies: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick
Reds: Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Aroldis Chapman, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey

The Haren addition gives the Nationals an edge over the Giants, in my opinion. There seemed to be league-wide concern about his back and hip, but he should be another above average starter to go along with the three potential aces already in the rotation.

The second four doesn’t look too bad, either:

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, Ted Lilly, Chad Billingsley, Chris Capuano
Cardinals: Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn, Jake Westbrook
Braves: Tim Hudson, Kris Medlen, Paul Maholm, Mike MinorRandall Delgado
Mets: R.A. Dickey, Johan Santana, Jonathan Niese, Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee

The Dodgers may very well add Greinke and join the top tier. They also have Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu pending, and while there’s been some skepticism of late about getting him signed, there’s certainly nothing stopping the Dodgers from coming up with the money.

The Cardinals have question marks in their top five, most notably with Garcia’s shoulder. But they have Shelby Miller and maybe Trevor Rosenthal, if they choose to use him as a starter, ready to step in.

Likewise, the Braves’ group isn’t quite so impressive at the moment, but their best pitcher, Brandon Beachy, is planning a midseason return from Tommy John surgery.

And then there’s the Mets, if they don’t trade their Cy Young Award winner.

Honorable mention to the Diamondbacks, who have Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill and some excellent prospects behind them, as well as Daniel Hudson perhaps returning from Tommy John in June or July.

  1. mj1818 - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Pirates: AJ Burnett, James McDonald, Charlie Morton, some schlub, Gerrit Cole?

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      My money is on the schlub.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:11 PM

      Maybe in June.

      Opening day it’s AJ Burnett, James McDonald, Charlie Morton, Pitching Machine, a Lucky Winner from the crowd.

      Clearly a glaring oversight that they aren’t on the list.

  2. kkolchak - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Marlins: Nolasco and four guys named Moe. 😀

    • cur68 - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      (Minor correction) Feesh: Nolasco, Alvarez and three guys named Moe.

  3. sdelmonte - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Mets could also add Zach Wheeler at some point this season, though with all the innings limits you might expect.

    Suffice it to say, the NL is a pitcher’s league again. Or still. Which is how I like it.

    • SOBEIT - Dec 4, 2012 at 5:50 PM

      Can’t wait to see how Wheeler does if called up. Hopefully he does really well. A lot of Giants fans were bummed to lose him for a rental of Beltran.

  4. dcfan4life - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    In all seriousness this almost seems a forgone conclusion we shall see more and more National League World Series victors doesnt it? The AL was shutout in the all star game, scored fewer runs in interleague play by a wide margin, and have maybe one team, the Rays, who can match any of those top 5 NL teams in pitching. And the Rays cant hit a watermelon…

    • weaselpuppy - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      Verlander Fister Scherzer Sanchez Porcello/Smyly….hopefully it stays that way. That’s in the top group for sure.

  5. anybodyinhere - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Not sure how good any rotation can be with a pitcher named Homer. Jack Armstrong, now THERE was a pitcher’s name…

    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      Scott Scudder too! Just sounded like a guy who would be striking out 200 guys a year with a filthy slider.

      • madhatternalice - Dec 4, 2012 at 6:03 PM

        That sounds like a name that you’d name something after.

        “Ah, gave him the Scottie Scudder treatment there!”

  6. cameltoehoe - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    You’re forgetting the Giants have the NL MVP, Buster Posey. So, for that fact alone, I would give the Giants the edge over the Nationals. You know what doubting this rotation gets you, right? A four game sweep in the WS.

  7. mj1818 - Dec 4, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Steelpen thank you for making my day lol haha. It’s probably a 35 year old pitching machine at that.

  8. gnyj85 - Dec 4, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Hate to say it but I think Johan’s better days are behind him. I dont know how much I like the Mets rotation coming up. They might be on the third tier

  9. lostsok - Dec 4, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Dodgers: Kershaw, Greinke, Dickey, Beckett, Billingsley/Lily (whoever is healthy).

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