Ranking all 10 postseason pitching staffs (2023)

October 4th, 2021

Ranking all 10 postseason pitching staffs (1)

Anthony Castrovince


October is all about pitching.

Well, when it’s not about a ground ball going through a first baseman’s legs, a 12-year-old reaching over the outfield wall, an obstruction call at third base or a swarm of midges descending upon the field.

But mostly it’s about pitching.

Postseason bracket and schedule

(Video) Drafting MLB Playoff Pitching Staffs

So how do this year’s postseason teams rank in terms of their pitching staffs? Glad you asked. Let’s rank them.

*ERA+ stats current through Saturday

1) Dodgers
Major League ranks: first in ERA (3.01), ERA+ (136) and WHIP (1.10), third in K/BB (3.29)

Bottom line: This is not exactly the starting staff we envisioned for the Dodgers at the start of the year, but, nevertheless, they wound up with the best rotation ERA in MLB, as expected. Max Scherzer has brought his bona fides to a group in which Walker Buehler gets a chance to build on his budding October legacy and Julio Urías has become a force of nature. Even with Clayton Kershaw likely out with an arm issue, the Dodgers have the arms to win a short series. The bullpen is well-stocked with the experience of Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen, Joe Kelly, David Price and Corey Knebel, and Phil Bickford has been a revelation. All told, no pitching staff in MLB has been better at limiting hard contact than that of the Dodgers.

2) Brewers
Major League ranks: third in ERA (3.50) and ERA+ (124), fourth in WHIP (1.18), ninth in K/BB (3.01)

Bottom line: Right-handers Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta are as fearsome a threesome atop a rotation as any in this October tournament. All three had sub-3 ERAs this season, with Burnes a strong candidate to win the NL Cy Young. The Brewers finish things off with one of the best closers in the game in Josh Hader, but they are equally capable of erasing threats in the middle innings with the variety of looks and the reverse splits available to Craig Counsell from the likes of Brent Suter, Brad Boxberger and Hunter Strickland. While a late-season broken hand for super setup man Devin Williams is a big blow, this staff is still a handful.

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3) Giants
Major League ranks: first in K/BB (3.43), second in ERA (3.24), ERA+ (127) and WHIP (1.15)

Bottom line: The Giants’ pitching staff is a lot like their lineup. It’s not loaded with stars, but it is loaded with dudes who get the job done. Retaining Kevin Gausman and adding Anthony DeSclafani has been huge for the rotation, as has the breakout of young Logan Webb. Lefty Jake McGee has been one of the most reliable closers in baseball this season, though he’s dealt with a late-season oblique issue. Tyler Rogers, Jarlín García, José Álvarez, Zack Littell and Dominic Leone have all been impactful relief options for a club that mixes and matches in the middle and late innings very well and has a variety of guys who can deliver multiple relief innings.

4) White Sox
Major League ranks: fourth in K/BB (3.27) and ERA+ (117), fifth in WHIP (1.20) and ERA (3.73)

Bottom line: The Sox had one of the two largest strikeout percentage improvements in MLB this season and also had one of the 10 largest drops in walk rate. Lance Lynn brought a ton of pedigree to a rotation in which Lucas Giolito has been reliable, Carlos Rodón has turned his career around and Dylan Cease has taken a step forward (though Rodón’s late-season arm soreness is a big question mark). The bullpen anchored by Liam Hendriks has depth aplenty, but there is a huge X-factor in the performance of Craig Kimbrel, who has been much shakier on the South Side than he was in the first half with the Cubs.

5) Rays
Major League ranks: second in K/BB (3.39), third in WHIP (1.17), fourth in ERA (3.67), 11th in ERA+ (107)

Bottom line: Blake Snell and Charlie Morton are gone, Tyler Glasnow is hurt, and yet the Rays always seem to find a way. It will once again be fascinating to watch Kevin Cash deploy his arms, especially with such a young and largely unproven rotation that figures to include three rookies (Shane McClanahan, Luis Patiño and Shane Baz, who debuted in September) and a sophomore (Drew Rasmussen). The bullpen has also seen a lot of turnover from last year’s group and is now anchored by surprise All-Star Andrew Kittredge. The exact cast of that ‘pen changes by the day due to injuries and roster churn. But these are the Rays we know and love: plucking anonymous names out of the ether and getting big outs.

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6) Yankees
Major League ranks: sixth in ERA (3.74) and ERA+ (114), fifth in WHIP (1.20) and K/BB (3.19)

Bottom line: Giving Gerrit Cole the ball is easy, but the Yankees have had to navigate a lot of challenges after that, including a shoulder issue that cost Corey Kluber three months and an erratic (and, of late, injury addled) season from Jameson Taillon in his return from his second Tommy John surgery. Yet Jordan Montgomery has been a reliable No. 2, and Nestor Cortes has unexpectedly stepped up with some big innings. Jonathan Loáisiga’s shoulder injury greatly hampered the bullpen and put a lot of pressure on Aroldis Chapman and Chad Green. But Loáisiga returned in the final week, and Luis Severino has become an interesting weapon in the ‘pen, as have Michael King and Clay Holmes.

7) Astros
Major League ranks: seventh in ERA (3.76) and WHIP (1.23), fifth in ERA+ (115), 17th in K/BB (2.65)

Bottom line: Though Zack Greinke has been a shadow of his old, consistent self this season, the Astros still managed to field a strong rotation. Framber Valdez and Lance McCullers Jr. have both had excellent years, and Rookie of the Year candidate Luis Garcia has provided a big boost. Jose Urquidy is also a solid October option. The bullpen is a much bigger question mark. Despite the Trade Deadline acquisition of Kendall Graveman, the Astros have continued to have stretches in which they struggle to build a bridge to closer Ryan Pressly.

8) Braves
Major League ranks: seventh in ERA+ (113), 8th in ERA (3.88), 10th in WHIP (1.24), 13th in K/BB (2.75)

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Bottom line: Atlanta has dealt with a lot of injury and inconsistency elsewhere in the rotation, but Max Fried and Charlie Morton have been stabilizing forces at the front end. If Ian Anderson can iron out his ups and downs and pitch as he did for the Braves last October, that will greatly improve their chances of advancing. The bullpen has been an iffy area, as Deadline acquisition Richard Rodríguez has been a bit homer-prone and closer Will Smith’s walk rate has increased.

9) Cardinals
Major League ranks: 12th in ERA (3.98), 17th in WHIP (1.30), 20th in ERA+ (98), 30th in K/BB (2.01)

Bottom line: Barraged by injuries basically from the first day of Spring Training, the Cardinals never got to field the rotation they envisioned. But in the second half, the return of Miles Mikolas and the unheralded trades for J.A. Happ and Jon Lester made for a much more effective unit behind the ageless Adam Wainwright. Jack Flaherty is a big question mark after a lost season upended by oblique and shoulder issues. A bullpen in which closer Alex Reyes and others have compiled the worst walk rate in MLB has unexpectedly been improved by the additions of Luis García and T.J. McFarland. Somehow, the Cards have pieced together one of the most effective pitching staffs in baseball in the second half, aided by the best defense in the game in terms of outs above average.

10) Red Sox
Major League ranks: 9th in ERA+ (111), 12th in K/BB (2.80), 15th in ERA (4.26), 23rd in WHIP (1.38)

Bottom line: Boston was extremely careful and extremely patient with staff ace Chris Sale in his return from Tommy John surgery, and that approach has paid enormous dividends down the stretch. Sale has largely looked like his old self since his August return, though he was surprisingly ineffective in trying to shut down the Nationals on the final day of the season. He pairs with Nathan Eovaldi to form a terrific, playoff-tested tandem at the top of the rotation. but with effective rookie Tanner Houck moved to the bullpen to manage his innings, the rotation does have question marks from there. The bullpen is operating without set roles, as Matt Barnes and Adam Ottavino have both seen their effectiveness wane in the second half.


Ranking all 10 postseason pitching staffs? ›

Cy Young holds the MLB win record with 511; Walter Johnson is second with 417. Young and Johnson are the only players to earn 400 or more wins. Among pitchers whose entire careers were in the post-1920 live-ball era, Warren Spahn has the most wins with 363.

Which team has the best pitching staff in MLB? ›

Ranking The Best Starting Pitching Rotations For The 2023 Baseball Season
  • 1) New York Yankees.
  • 2) New York Mets.
  • 4) Milwaukee Brewers.
  • 5) Philadelphia Phillies.
  • 6) Houston Astros.
  • 7) San Diego Padres.
  • 8) Seattle Mariners.
  • 9) Toronto Blue Jays.
Mar 9, 2023

Who has pitched the most postseason games? ›

Andy Pettitte

Which pitcher has the lowest era 2023? ›

ERA Earned Run AverageThe average number of earned runs a pitcher allows per 9 innings.(ERx9)/IP Earned Run Average Glossary
1 Blake Snell P 1 ‌ ‌ ‌2.63
2 Nathan Eovaldi P 2 ‌ ‌ ‌2.69
3 Gerrit Cole P 3 ‌ ‌ ‌2.76
4 Justin Steele P 4 ‌ ‌ ‌2.79
21 more rows

Who has the best pitching record? ›

Cy Young holds the MLB win record with 511; Walter Johnson is second with 417. Young and Johnson are the only players to earn 400 or more wins. Among pitchers whose entire careers were in the post-1920 live-ball era, Warren Spahn has the most wins with 363.

What pitcher has 7 careers no hitters? ›

The pitcher who holds the record for the most no-hitters is Nolan Ryan, who threw seven in his 27-year career.

Who is the number 1 pitching prospect? ›

Prospect Rankings
1Paul Skenes2024
2Andrew Painter2025
3Cade Horton2025
4Jacob Misiorowski2024
1 more row

Has anyone pitched a perfect game in the postseason? ›

Without that Monday in October, Don Larsen is an 81-91 pitcher with 14 big league seasons to his credit. But on Oct. 8, 1956, Larsen carved his name into the American sports landscape by pitching the first perfect game in postseason history.

Has any team ever had a perfect postseason? ›

Since the National Football League began in 1920, only one team has played a perfect season (both regular season and playoffs): the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who won all fourteen of their regular season games and three postseason games, including Super Bowl VII, to finish the season 17–0–0.

Has anyone ever pitched a perfect game in the playoffs? ›

No pitcher has thrown more than one. The perfect game thrown by Don Larsen in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series is the only postseason perfect game in major league history and one of only three postseason no-hitters.

What is the most innings pitched with a 0 ERA? ›

During the 1988 Major League Baseball season, pitcher Orel Hershiser of the Los Angeles Dodgers set the MLB record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched. Over 59 consecutive innings, opposing hitters did not score a run against Hershiser. During the streak, he averted numerous high-risk scoring situations.

Who is the oldest pitcher to win a game? ›

On April 17, Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher in MLB history to earn a win. The previous record was held by Jack Quinn, who earned his last win in 1932, two months after his 49th birthday.

Who is the only pitcher to win the 3 decades? ›

Palmer is the only pitcher in big-league history to win World Series games in three decades (1960s, 1970s, and 1980s). During his 19-year major league career of 575 games (including 17 postseason games), he never surrendered a grand slam, nor did he ever allow back-to-back homers.

Who was the last pitcher to throw 250 innings? ›

Also, managers starting using their bullpens more and more, accelerating the decline in innings pitched. As of the start of the 2022 season no pitcher has thrown 250 innings since Justin Verlander in 2011.

Who has the most pitching wins without a loss? ›

1) Carl Hubbell -- 24 straight wins

500, but 15 more consecutive wins (including 13 more complete games) by Hubbell boosted New York to the National League pennant and earned Hubbell his second NL MVP award.

What pitcher has the lowest career ERA? ›

1. Ed Walsh (1.82 from 1904-17)

Who leads the MLB in pitching? ›

Major League Baseball Pitching Leaders
1.Strider • ATL13.961
2.Gausman • TOR11.674
3.Snell • SDP11.662
4.Ohtani • LAA11.386
5.Peralta • MIL11.312
5 more rows

How many pitchers are on MLB staff? ›

From Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season, all clubs must carry 28 players, with a limit of 14 pitchers. Players on the 26-man roster (or the Major League injured list) accrue Major League service time.

Which MLB pitcher has the most pitches? ›

MLB Baseball Player Stats - Pitches Thrown
1Gerrit Cole2574
2Zac Gallen2563
3Mitch Keller2554
4Blake Snell2548
56 more rows

What is the best pitcher on a team called? ›

In baseball, an ace is a starting pitcher considered the best pitcher on a team's starting rotation. Barring injury or exceptional circumstances, a team's ace typically starts on Opening Day.


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