The MLB is the most popular professional sports league in North America. It has been around for more than 100 years and, as of 2019, has 30 teams all over the world. This list ranks the top 50 pitchers that will start on a major league team during the 2022 season.

Ranking the Top 50 Starting Pitchers for the 2022 MLB Season

The “top starting pitchers 2022” is a ranking of the top 50 starting pitchers for the 2022 MLB season. The list will be updated as new information becomes available.

During the 2022 MLB season, which members of our starting pitcher rankings will win the American League and National League Cy Young awards?

Will Jacob deGrom be able to overcome another another ailment in a list that is soon becoming too long? Will Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff lead a Milwaukee Brewers rotation that is once again devastatingly effective? What can Shohei Ohtani do as a follow-up to his Ruthian 2021 achievements? Which fresh guns will soar to the top of the rankings? What about veterans who have been injured and are now able to return to work?

As we break down the finest of the best poised to hit the mound in 2022, we’ve got you covered.

This ranking of the 50 best starting options is based on a combination of past performance and projections for the upcoming season, taking into account everything from ongoing injury concerns to potential progression/regression in an attempt to forecast the expected level of play for the entire 2022 season.

That latter point cannot be overstated.

These rankings aren’t based on a single point in time. They also don’t forecast the ultimate level when the playoff field for 2022 is set. They account for predicted volume and productivity during the season, depending on anecdotal evidence and lots of statistics, including Fangraphs’ THE BAT forecasts for 2022.

The division-by-division rankings, which include more detailed profiles of each pitcher as well as a list of those who didn’t make the cut, can be found here:

Aaron Ashby of the Milwaukee Brewers; Sonny Gray of the Minnesota Twins; Michael Kopech of the Chicago White Sox; Tyler Mahle of the Cincinnati Reds; Steven Matz of the St. Louis Cardinals; Bailey Ober of the Minnesota Twins; Joe Ryan of the Minnesota Twins; Tarik Skubal of the Detroit Tigers; Jose Urquidy of the Houston Astros; Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals

Ian Anderson (Atlanta Braves) is number 50.

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Anderson-1024x683 Ian Anderson, starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Age: 23

128.1 IP, 24 GS, 9-5, 124 K, 53 BB, 3.58 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 1.9 WAR, 2021 Stats

155.0 IP, 28 GS, 12-9, 144 K, 62 BB, 4.37 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 2.2 WAR projected for 2022

Ian Anderson had a solid age-23 season thanks to a stronger changeup and a faster fastball (94.6 mph), and the best should be yet to come. Even if he isn’t there yet, he might become the next notable pitcher in the Atlanta Braves organization if his curveball develops and he improves his command of his pitches. Anderson still has a lot to prove, but he has the means to do so.

Patrick Sandoval of the Los Angeles Angels is 49 years old.

Age: 25

87.0 IP, 14 GS, 3-6, 94 K, 36 BB, 3.62 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 1.5 WAR, 2021 Stats

143.0 IP, 25 GS, 10-9, 145 K, 56 BB, 4.18 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 2.1 WAR projected for 2022

Patrick Sandoval showed as much strikeout potential as any other up-and-comer in 2021, despite back issues limiting his efforts and forcing him to fight through a subpar fastball. The 25-year-old was a whiff machine, especially with his changeup, and was one of just three pitchers to record at least 30 swinging strikes in a single start, including Gerrit Cole and Corbin Burnes.

Logan Gilbert (Seattle Mariners) (48).

Age: 24

Stats for 2021: 119.1 innings, 24 games, 6-5, 128 strikeouts, 28 walks, 4.68 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 2.2 WAR

153.0 IP, 27 GS, 9-10, 158 K, 44 BB, 4.19 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 2.5 WAR projected for 2022

Logan Gilbert’s fastball is a standout pitch, and he also showed off high-upside sliders, changeups, and curveballs throughout his minor league career. However, those secondary offerings failed to convert to the majors, resulting in a 4.68 ERA (driven up by a.293 BABIP and 67.9% LOB percent), and his success in 2022 depends on that altering. Even a smidgeon of improvement would enable his fastball to play up due to his approach’s increased unpredictability.

New York Yankees’ Luis Severino (47).

Age: 28

6.0 IP, 0 GS, 1-0, 8 K, 1 BB, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 0.2 WAR, 2021 Stats

133.0 IP, 23 GS, 10-7, 140 K, 35 BB, 3.69 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 3.0 WAR projected for 2022

In spring training, a general pain scare was precisely that: a scare. However, considering the ailments that have restricted Luis Severino to 18 total frames since posting a 3.39 ERA with 220 strikeouts over 191.1 innings in 2018, it’s still cause for worry. He’ll reintroduce his upper-90s heater and knee-buckling slider, but this is still a mostly speculative move predicated on the potential he may unleash if he can stay healthy for 100 innings or more.

Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals is number 46.

Age: 26

Stats for 2021: 78.1 innings, 15 games, 9-2, 85 strikeouts, 26 walks, 3.22 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 0.9 WAR

118.0 IP, 20 GS, 8-7, 120 K, 43 BB, 3.95 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 1.9 WAR projected for 2022

The shoulder injury to Jack Flaherty is serious, particularly considering he won’t be ready for the start of the season. However, he’s just three years away from finishing fourth in Cy Young voting and, when healthy, possesses one of the finest fastballs in the majors. If he can outperform the volume predictions, he has a good chance of moving up considerably.

Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox is number 45.

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Sale-1024x683 Chris Sale, starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox | Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Age: 32

2021 stats: 42.2 IP, 9 GS, 5-1, 52 K, 12 BB, 3.16 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 0.8 WAR, 42.2 IP, 9 GS, 5-1, 52 K, 12 BB, 3.16 ERA, 1.34 WHIP

113.0 IP, 20 GS, 8-6, 136 K, 36 BB, 3.90 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 2.4 WAR projected for 2022

If Chris Sale’s slider performs as well as it did in 2019, with a 35.7 percent whiff rate and a 28.3 percent put-away rate, we’ve clearly undersold the healthy version. If those figures are hovering around the 32.0 and 20.9 percent levels he recorded across 42.2 innings in 2021, it’s safe to assume the greatest version is in the past. Sale has prospered since returning from Tommy John surgery, but worries about his scalability persist.

New York Mets’ Chris Bassitt (44).

Age: 33

157.1 IP, 27 GS, 12-4, 159 K, 39 BB, 3.15 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 3.3 WAR, 2021 Stats

165.0 IP, 29 GS, 11-10, 157 K, 54 BB, 4.18 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 2.5 WAR projected for 2022

Chris Bassitt merely continues outperforming the competition, at least according to the underlying measures, and we have to accept it as his reality rather than an extraordinary run of luck. In 2021, he’ll rely more on his slider and four-seamer rather than his sinker and cutter, which should help him maintain a high floor as he adjusts to a harder job with the New York Mets in a stacked NL East.

Marcus Stroman (Chicago Cubs) is 43 years old.

Age: 30

2021 stats: 179.0 IP, 33 GS, 10-13, 158 K, 44 BB, 3.02 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 3.4 WAR, 179.0 IP, 33 GS, 10-13, 158 K, 44 BB, 3.02 ERA, 1.15 WHIP

172.0 IP, 30 GS, 10-12, 136 K, 57 BB, 4.39 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 2.4 WAR projected for 2022

Marcus Stroman has had a FIP of 3.49 to 3.91 over the last six seasons, with the exception of the 2020 season, when he opted out of at the height of the coronavirus epidemic. His varied repertoire of pitches may lack an exceptional offering, but he can vary it up enough to confuse hitters and keep inducing soft contact for the Chicago Cubs, much as he has done before for the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets.

Dylan Cease of the Chicago White Sox is number 42.

Age: 26

2021 Stats: 165.2 IP, 32 GS, 13-7, 226 K, 68 BB, 3.91 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 4.4 WAR, 165.2 IP, 32 GS, 13-7, 226 K, 68 BB, 3.91 ERA, 1.25 WHIP

166.0 IP, 31 GS, 12-11, 201 K, 73 BB, 4.24 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 2.8 WAR projected for 2022

Dylan Cease’s spectacular strikeout numbers, as well as the fact that his 3.91 ERA came with a.309 BABIP that helped explain the much-lower underlying analytics, seem to be deserving of further attention. But he won’t be able to achieve a higher ranking unless he improves his command and pitches more innings – 32 starts should result in more than 165.2 innings — which he won’t be able to do until then. For example, last year he recorded a career-low 3.69 walks per nine innings.

Baltimore Orioles’ John Means, 41.

Age: 28

Stats for 2021: 146.2 innings, 26 games, 6-9, 134 strikeouts, 26 walks, 3.62 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 2.5 WAR

164.0 IP, 29 GS, 10-12, 145 K, 41 BB, 4.54 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 2.1 WAR projected for 2022

One of the most effective treatments for a pitcher’s home-run woes? Reposition the fences. That’s generally a joke, but it’s the truth for John Means following Camden Yards’ left-field expansion. After earning a 2.79 ERA through his first 93.2 innings in 2021, he faced with some lingering injury difficulties, but his changeup, slider, and curveball should all perform well. With greater space for flyouts to left field, this may be the season he puts it all together.

Jordan Montgomery of the New York Yankees is number 40.

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Montgomery-1024x678 Jordan Montgomery, starting pitcher for the New York Yankees | G Fiume/Getty Images

Age: 29

Stats for 2021: 157.1 innings, 30 games, 6-7, 162 strikeouts, 51 walks, 3.83 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 3.3 WAR

160.0 IP, 30 GS, 12-10, 159 K, 51 BB, 4.08 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 2.8 WAR projected for 2022

The magic number for Jordan Montgomery was 11.1. In 2021, his changeup sat 11.1 mph behind an underpowered fastball, and that high-spin off-speed pitch piled up 11.1 runs over average behind an excellent. .382 xSLG and 187 xBA He elected to throw the dominating changeup less and the mediocre fastball more for whatever reason. If he makes the necessary adjustments, the long-awaited breakthrough might finally happen, matching the underlying abilities.

Framber Valdez (Houston Astros), 39.

Age: 28

134.2 IP, 22 GS, 11-6, 125 K, 58 BB, 3.14 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 1.9 WAR in 2021

173.0 IP, 28 GS, 12-9, 157 K, 69 BB, 3.68 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 2.8 WAR projected for 2022

Because his curveball is so good, Framber Valdez can get away with subpar command of his pitches and a fastball-changeup combo that typically fails to wow. In 2021, it allowed more hits than ever before, but only because the stellar.125 batting average allowed (.156 xBA) couldn’t quite match the.124 (.137 xBA) in 2020,.118 (.115 xBA) in 2019, and.098 (.110 xBA) in 2018. That hook has established itself as one of the league’s greatest.

Eduardo Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers), 38.

Age: 28

157.2 IP, 31 GS, 13-8, 185 K, 47 BB, 4.74 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 3.8 WAR, 2021 Stats

177.0 IP, 31 GS, 11-12, 178 K, 60 BB, 3.84 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 3.7 WAR projected for 2022

Eduardo Rodriguez was one of the pitchers that had a very bad year last year. His.363 BABIP was significantly over his career average of.311 (which was already pretty dang high), and his 12.7 HR/FB percent also surpassed his career average of 11.8 percent. All of this helps to explain why, despite a 4.74 ERA in the recent past, his fastball-centric style continues to garner him good accolades.

Boston Red Sox’s Nathan Eovaldi (37).

Age: 32

Stats for 2021: 182.1 innings, 32 games, 11-9, 195 strikeouts, 35 walks, 3.75 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 5.6 WAR

167.0 IP, 29 GS, 12-10, 167 K, 42 BB, 4.07 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 3.4 WAR projected for 2022

Last year, Nathan Eovaldi finished fourth in the Cy Young voting thanks to a superb curveball and an assortment of decent supporting weapons. His 3.75 ERA was backed up by a 2.79 FIP, 3.48 xFIP, 3.37 xERA, and 3.60 SIERA, thanks to an unsustainable.326 BABIP and a refusal to walk hitters. However, given his extensive injury history and lack of superior outside-the-hook skills, he seems to be more of a high-floor than a high-ceiling choice.

Sean Manaea of the San Diego Padres is number 36.

Age: 30

Stats for 2021: 179.1 innings, 32 games, 11-10, 194 strikeouts, 41 walks, 3.91 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 3.3 WAR

174.0 IP, 30 GS, 10-11, 176 K, 45 BB, 3.73 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 3.6 WAR projected for 2022

Last year, Sean Manaea’s sinking fastball, which had a mind-blowing 20.1 inches of vertical movement, finally became an undeniable positive, thanks to velocity increases. It increased from 89.8 mph in 2019 to 90.4 mph in 2020 to 92.1 mph in 2021, resulting in the 30-year-greatest old’s success with the pitch. He could be able to keep rising the ranks if he can sustain that while demonstrating the command on show early in the spring.

Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani (35).

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Ohtani-1-1024x735 Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels | Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Age: 27

2021 stats: 130.1 innings pitched, 23 games started, 9-2, 156 strikeouts, 44 walks allowed, 3.18 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 3.0 WAR

136.0 IP, 25 GS, 10-8, 158 K, 54 BB, 3.69 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 2.6 WAR projected for 2022

If Shohei Ohtani’s whole skill set were up for debate, he’d be at the top of the list. However, we aren’t judging his batting, and his pitching effectiveness is inevitably hampered by his workload. Despite staying healthy throughout 2021, he only made 23 starts and pitched 130.1 innings, and it’s difficult to envision him achieving much more even if he avoids injuries. His excellent sinker and whiff-inducing slider help him overcome a hittable fastball, but even more strides from the heater won’t be enough to overcome the heater’s volume restrictions.

Miami Marlins’ Pablo Lopez (34).

Age: 26

102.2 IP, 20 GS, 5-5, 115 K, 26 BB, 3.07 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 2.3 WAR, 2021 Stats

144.0 IP, 26 GS, 10-10, 140 K, 45 BB, 4.01 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 2.7 WAR projected for 2022

Pablo Lopez’s improved fastball velocity helped his off-speed stuff play better, and the expectation is that the increased respect for secondary pitches will help the fastball produce more swings and misses. If that occurs, or if his changeup improves (many hitters currently pursue it beyond the zone), any worries about his history of shoulder issues and whether his performance can be replicated over a full workload may be alleviated.

Arizona Diamondbacks’ Zac Gallen, 33.

Age: 26

121.1 IP, 23 GS, 4-10, 139 K, 49 BB, 4.30 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 1.5 WAR, 2021 Stats

163.0 IP, 28 GS, 9-10, 160 K, 61 BB, 4.37 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 2.3 WAR projected for 2022

Zac Gallen struggled to remain healthy through 121.0 high-labor innings, falling off the pace he set for himself in 2021. This was mostly due to his secondary pitches failing to pass muster. He still struck out double digits per nine innings and showed exquisite control of his fastball, giving validity to the thought that as a 26-year-old displaying increasing fastball velocity in spring training, he may repeat his upward trend.

San Diego Padres’ Yu Darvish, 32.

Age: 35

Stats for 2021: 166.1 innings, 30 games, 8-11, 199 strikeouts, 44 walks, 4.22 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 2.9 WAR

168.0 IP, 29 GS, 11-11, 181 K, 53 BB, 4.32 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 2.5 WAR projected for 2022

Yu Darvish is still a strikeout machine with a high potential, but considering how much he suffered once the MLB crackdown on sticky pitches began, it may be difficult for him to return to his previous heights. From the beginning of July through the conclusion of the regular season, he was 4-10 with a 6.65 ERA (5.05 FIP) and 1.31 WHIP in 14 starts. Those figures will undoubtedly improve, but by how much?

Blake Snell of the San Diego Padres is number 31.

Age: 29

128.2 IP, 27 GS, 7-6, 170 K, 69 BB, 4.20 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 2.1 WAR, 2021 Stats

158.0 IP, 28 GS, 10-9, 188 K, 76 BB, 4.21 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 2.6 WAR projected for 2022

The changeup determines everything. Late in 2021, Blake Snell famously placed “in timeout.” He began to look like the Cy Young Award-winning pitcher of 2018, hitting the top section of the strike zone with fastballs and keeping his breaking balls down after removing it from his arsenal. That north-south strategy may be all he needs to make this admittedly conservative location appear dumb in the long run.

Alek Manoah, Toronto Blue Jays, No. 30

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Manoah-1024x684 Alek Manoah, starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays | Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Age: 24

Stats for 2021: 111.2 innings, 20 games, 9-2, 127 strikeouts, 40 walks, 3.22 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 2.0 WAR

157.0 IP, 28 GS, 11-8, 173 K, 58 BB, 3.96 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 2.5 WAR projected for 2022

If the changeup improves even slightly from its debut performance of six shutout innings against the New York Yankees, Alek Manoah will have actual ace potential. His fastball and slider are both top pitches, and he should continue to improve his command while inducing softer contact that should not result in extra-base hits and keeps his BABIP naturally low. There’s a lot to like here.

Shane McClanahan of the Tampa Bay Rays is number 29.

Age: 24

123.1 IP, 25 GS, 10-6, 141 K, 37 BB, 3.43 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 2.5 WAR, 2021 Stats

148.0 IP, 28 GS, 10-10, 163 K, 53 BB, 4.01 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.8 WAR projected for 2022

Shane McClanahan, who has a lot of potential, could have even more. Despite a velocity fall at the end of the season, his slider is already a standout offering, with a 39.9% whiff rate in his maiden major league season. He’ll take his go-to offering and mound presence and sprint straight to greatness if he can mix in a better fastball, which seems like a very safe bet in a Tampa Bay Rays club renowned for nurturing and nourishing pitching talent.

Joe Musgrove of the San Diego Padres is number 28.

Age: 29

2021 stats: 181.1 IP, 31 GS, 11-9, 203 K, 54 BB, 3.18 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 3.3 WAR, 181.1 IP, 31 GS, 11-9, 203 K, 54 BB, 3.18 ERA, 1.08 WHIP

177.0 IP, 30 GS, 12-11, 184 K, 61 BB, 4.08 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 3.0 WAR projected for 2022

Joe Musgrove seems to alter his strategy from start to finish, focusing on a curveball and slider that produce a lot of whiffs. But he’s continuously reduced his four-seamer, and mastering it is the key to looking even better in 2022 than he did in 2021. Musgrove has a high floor and a low ceiling (over the course of a season, not a single start), but that might change if the four-seamer begins to blur past more bats.

Mike Clevinger of the San Diego Padres is number 27.

Age: 31

Stats for 2021: Did not pitch

129.0 IP, 21 GS, 8-7, 137 K, 48 BB, 4.19 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.3 WAR projected for 2022

From 2017 to 2018, Mike Clevinger had a 2.96 ERA (3.39 FIP) in 489.1 innings, looking every bit the ace with a mid-90s fastball and a slider that treated bats like magnets with comparable polarity. He’s just 31 years old, by the way. In addition, he’s coming back from Tommy John surgery, which limited him to 41.2 innings in 2020 and none in 2021, and he was roughed up in his first spring start. This is a high-risk situation, but Clevinger’s brilliance should win out in the end.

Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers) is number 26.

Age: 34

2021 Stats: 121.2 IP, 22 GS, 10-8, 144 K, 21 BB, 3.55 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 3.4 WAR, 121.2 IP, 22 GS, 10-8, 144 K, 21 BB, 3.55 ERA, 1.02 WHIP

130.0 IP, 22 GS, 11-6, 140 K, 32 BB, 3.70 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 2.6 WAR projected for 2022

Clayton Kershaw still possesses a deadly slider that helps him overcome a low-90s fastball, and he’s managed to put up outstanding numbers even in his latter years. His 3.55 ERA was the lowest since his rookie season in 2008, and it was backed up by 3.17 xERA, 3.00 FIP, 2.87 xFIP, and 3.10 SIERA. However, he hasn’t pitched more than 180 innings since 2015, and that is the only reason the living great isn’t in the top 25.

Cincinnati Reds’ Luis Castillo (25).

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Castillo-1024x660 Luis Castillo, starting pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds | Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Age: 29

Stats for 2021: 187.2 innings, 33 games, 8-16, 192 strikeouts, 75 walks, 3.98 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 3.7 WAR

179.0 IP, 30 GS, 12-11, 172 K, 71 BB, 4.13 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 2.5 WAR projected for 2022

Luis Castillo’s fastball-slider combo can blast away and wipe out batters, but can his shoulder stay healthy enough for him to deliver it on a continuous basis? He’s already scheduled to miss at least his first trip through the Cincinnati Reds’ rotation, and any difficulties with his throwing arm should be taken seriously. But if he continues pitching and improves his control a little, his talent will be a good fit for the Reds’ budget.

Kevin Gausman of the Toronto Blue Jays is number 24.

Age: 31

2021 stats: 192.0 IP, 33 GS, 14-16, 227 K, 50 BB, 2.81 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 4.8 WAR, 192.0 IP, 33 GS, 14-16, 227 K, 50 BB, 2.81 ERA, 1.04 WHIP

176.0 IP, 30 GS, 12-10, 202 K, 54 BB, 4.11 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 3.2 WAR projected for 2022

Given his unsustainable home run suppression (plus the shift from Oracle Park to Rogers Centre) and an outlier fastball, Kevin Gausman is destined for a regression. In 2021, it appeared out of nowhere, with a batting average of.257 and a slugging percentage of.416 that were much higher than the predicted averages of.278 and.485, respectively. Gausman will be regressing from a stellar 2.81 ERA, but he still has a splitter that has proven itself as one of baseball’s top pitches, which is good news for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Max Fried of the Atlanta Braves is number 23.

Age: 28

Stats for 2021: 165.2 innings, 28 games, 14 wins, 158 strikeouts, 41 walks, 3.04 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 3.8 WAR

178.0 IP, 30 GS, 13-10, 166 K, 58 BB, 4.07 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 3.2 WAR projected for 2022

Max Fried may be ranked eighth among NL East starting pitchers, but that only goes to illustrate how strong the division’s rotation options are. He had a 2.44 ERA (3.09 FIP) and 0.98 WHIP across his last 25 starts and 154.2 innings thrown, striking out 144 batters and walking just 36. He’s ready to take the next step after that and his Game 6 World Series brilliance against the Houston Astros.

Trevor Rogers of the Miami Marlins is number 22.

Age: 24

133.0 IP, 25 GS, 7-8, 157 K, 46 BB, 2.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 4.2 WAR, 2021 Stats

159.0 IP, 30 GS, 10-12, 175 K, 63 BB, 4.23 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 3.0 WAR projected for 2022

Trevor Rogers’ fastball, which had the No. 11 cumulative run value among four-seamers in 2021 with a.219 xBA and.362 xSLG, is easy to fall in love with. Along with the heater and a complementing changeup, his slider needs to develop into a great No. 3 offering, but he has a good chance to keep pitching well after producing a 2.64 ERA backed up by excellent predictive stats.

Jose Berrios of the Toronto Blue Jays is number 21.

Age: 27

2021 stats: 192.0 IP, 32 GS, 12-9, 204 K, 45 BB, 3.52 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 4.1 WAR, 192.0 IP, 32 GS, 12-9, 204 K, 45 BB, 3.52 ERA, 1.06 WHIP

189.0 IP, 31 GS, 13-10, 187 K, 56 BB, 3.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 3.4 WAR projected for 2022

Jose Berrios’ changeup and curveball, both of which can swing between putting hitters away and lingering over the plate until they’re blasted into the upper deck, aren’t going to help him take the next step. However, he may not need to make it to the next level to justify the Toronto Blue Jays’ investment. He velocity alone assures him a high baseline, and his 3.52 ERA and 1.06 WHIP last year were significant accomplishments.

Milwaukee Brewers’ Freddy Peralta (20th)

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FreddyPeralta-1024x697 Freddy Peralta, starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Age: 25

Stats for 2021: 144.1 innings, 27 games, 10-5, 195 strikeouts, 56 walks, 2.81 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 4.0 WAR

161.0 IP, 29 GS, 13-9, 198 K, 65 BB, 3.78 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 3.4 WAR projected for 2022

Freddy Peralta joined the Milwaukee Brewers as a third ace in 2021, and his 2.70 xERA, 3.12 FIP, and 3.66 xFIP demonstrate that his sub-3.00 ERA wasn’t too fluky, even if he did benefit from batted-ball luck. The template for success was laid out with an enhanced slider, a great four-seamer, and a powerful curveball, and that approach shouldn’t alter going forward.

Carlos Rodon of the San Francisco Giants is 19 years old.

Age: 29

132.2 IP, 24 GS, 13-5, 185 K, 36 BB, 2.37 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 4.9 WAR in 2021

144.0 IP, 25 GS, 10-8, 179 K, 53 BB, 3.49 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 3.9 WAR projected for 2022

Carlos Rodon struggled with shoulder discomfort in the second part of the 2021 season, which was most likely caused by a four-seamer that burst to 95.4 mph in May and reached 96.7 mph in June before collapsing to 92.9 mph in September. However, the enormity of this turnaround isn’t diminished by the fact that the 29-year-old recorded a blazing 2.37 ERA and 0.96 WHIP after posting ERAs north of 4.00 in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Logan Webb of the San Francisco Giants is number 18 on the list.

Age: 25

Stats for 2021: 148.1 innings, 26 games, 11-3, 158 strikeouts, 36 walks, 3.03 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 4.1 WAR

168.0 IP, 30 GS, 12-10, 154 K, 54 BB, 3.66 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 3.8 WAR projected for 2022

Put aside his lack of top experience and the chance that hitters have a better understanding of his sinker-slider-changeup repertoire. Logan Webb had a 3.03 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 2.79 xFIP, and 3.13 SIERA, and he was even better after returning from a right shoulder issue that held him out in June. Hitters are unable to lift the ball against him, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon, even as he attempts to shoulder an increased workload.

Atlanta Braves’ Charlie Morton (#17)

Age: 38

185.2 IP, 33 GS, 14-6, 216 K, 58 BB, 3.34 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 4.6 WAR, 2021 Stats

152.0 IP, 27 GS, 12-8, 165 K, 55 BB, 3.94 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 2.9 WAR projected for 2022

Other than Carlos Rodon’s four-seamer, Adrian Houser’s sinker, and Kevin Gausman’s splitter, Charlie Morton’s curveball had higher run value during the 2021 season with a.173 xBA and.245 xSLG. He’s coming off a season in which he had a luck-neutral 3.34 ERA, and there’s no reason to expect a drop in his secondary offerings, which have previously failed to register as clearly positive pitches, and his curveball remains lethal.

16. Seattle Mariners’ Robbie Ray

Age: 30

2021 stats: 193.1 IP, 32 GS, 13-7, 248 K, 52 BB, 2.84 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 3.9 WAR, 193.1 IP, 32 GS, 13-7, 248 K, 52 BB, 2.84 ERA, 1.04 WHIP

178.0 IP, 30 GS, 12-11, 226 K, 74 BB, 4.12 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 3.0 WAR projected for 2022

The underlying data (3.60 xERA, 3.69 FIP, 3.36 xFIP, 3.21 SIERA) suggest a happy medium between Robbie Ray’s Cy Young award in 2021 and his earlier troubles due to poor command. That’s a reasonable expectation. Last year, he modified his strategy, no longer nibbling at the plate’s edges and attempting to mislead batters outside the zone, but instead overwhelming them with his fastball and putting them away with his slider. He’s a completely different pitcher today, and he’s a lot better one.

Houston Astros’ Justin Verlander (15th)

Justin Verlander throws a pitch for the Houston Astros

Justin Verlander throws a pitch for the Houston Astros Justin Verlander, starting pitcher for the Houston Astros | Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Age: 39

Stats for 2021: Did not pitch

136.0 IP, 23 GS, 10-7, 168 K, 38 BB, 3.64 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 2.9 WAR projected for 2022

Should we trust what we see in the spring? Justin Verlander is back to throwing upper-90s fastballs and sliders that run away from contact, and he’s only allowed five hits, three walks, and no runs in 8.2 innings across three starts, with 10 strikeouts. That’s a short — and probably useless — sample, but it’s all we have for a 39-year-old who had Tommy John surgery after just six innings in 2020.

Lance Lynn, Chicago White Sox, No. 14

Age: 34

157.0 IP, 28 GS, 11-6, 176 K, 45 BB, 2.69 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 4.2 WAR, 2021 Stats

178.0 IP, 30 GS, 13-10, 189 K, 60 BB, 4.08 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 3.1 WAR projected for 2022

Lance Lynn may not be the most glamorous pick in this category, but his terrific fastball and solid secondary slider assure that he can keep defying Father Time for at least another year. Because more inherited runners are expected to score this season, his 2.69 ERA isn’t really reproducible, but he understands who he is and has a style that will create lots of weak contact whenever he recovers from right knee surgery.

13. Oakland Athletics’ Frankie Montas

Age: 29

187.0 IP, 32 GS, 13-9, 207 K, 57 BB, 3.37 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 4.1 WAR in 2021

179.0 IP, 31 GS, 11-13, 190 K, 63 BB, 3.98 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 3.3 WAR projected for 2022

Frankie Montas doesn’t give up a lot of strong contact, and what he does give up is usually hammered into the ground rather than lofted into the air. He seldom walks hitters (2.74 BB/9) and throws four-seamers, sinkers, and sliders, all of which might seem to be evident pluses in any particular performance. However, the main draw here is a splitter that restricted opponents to a.135 xBA and.192 xSLG while approaching 200 innings thrown in 2021.

12. Chicago White Sox’s Lucas Giolito

Age: 27

178.2 IP, 31 GS, 11-9, 201 K, 52 BB, 3.53 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 4.0 WAR, 2021 Stats

180.0 IP, 30 GS, 13-10, 203 K, 62 BB, 4.03 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 3.3 WAR projected for 2022

Lucas Giolito managed to adapt and produce yet another excellent season by increasing the frequency of his slider use to combat decreased efficacy with his fastball and changeup, which generally form an excessive percentage of his arsenal. Consider what might happen if a fastball with lots of spin and movement around the plate could be brought back to its former glory and paired with that new-and-improved slider.

Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins, No. 11

Age: 26

205.2 IP, 33 GS, 9-15, 201 K, 50 BB, 3.19 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 4.2 WAR, 2021 Stats

189.0 IP, 30 GS, 12-11, 171 K, 58 BB, 3.86 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 3.5 WAR projected for 2022

Sandy Alcantara has a 2.47 ERA in 200.1 innings after a 10-run drubbing by the Colorado Rockies and an eight-run thrashing by the Los Angeles Dodgers. From Aug. 11 to Aug. 11, he had a 2.21 ERA and 0.88 WHIP while throwing his changeup 18% of the time (23.5 percent for the whole season) and slider 31% of the time after changing his strategy late in the 2021 season (24.1 percent for the full season). This 26-year-old is very genuine.

Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies is ranked number ten.

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Nola-1024x684 Aaron Nola, starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies | Mark Brown/Getty Images

Age: 28

Stats for 2021: 180.2 innings, 32 games, 9-9, 223 strikeouts, 39 walks, 4.63 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 4.5 WAR

181.0 IP, 30 GS, 14-9, 198 K, 50 BB, 3.67 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 3.9 WAR projected for 2022

Aaron Nola’s 4.63 ERA isn’t deceiving. It has nothing to do with how excellent he was or is. Even though he produced lots of soft contact and utilized his exceptional curveball to strike out a slew of hitters, he was held back in 2021 by a.308 BABIP (see: bad Philadelphia Phillies defense) and a 66.8% LOB percent (see: horrible Philadelphia Phillies bullpen). The 3.37 xERA, 3.37 FIP, 3.37 xFIP, and 3.26 SIERA are all much more in line with his real pitching ability.

New York Mets’ Jacob deGrom (#9)

Age: 33

92.0 IP, 15 GS, 7-2, 146 K, 11 BB, 1.08 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, 4.9 WAR, 2021 Stats

150.0 IP, 24 GS, 12-6, 217 K, 44 BB, 2.65 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 5.4 WAR projected for 2022

Jacob deGrom’s 1.08 ERA was bolstered by a 1.54 xERA, 1.24 FIP, 1.61 xFIP, and 1.74 SIERA, all of which suggest he was enjoying one of the finest pitching seasons in baseball history. The only problem is that he only lasted 68.0 innings before being taken down, and injury concerns are already surfacing. The most important — and, in many ways, the only — issue here is availability. If you can get beyond those concerns, he’s baseball’s greatest pitcher.

Unfortunately for him and the New York Mets, the worries are already legitimate. Though he ranked above multiple pitchers yet to appear in the divisional rankings, the results on his recent MRI following a scratched spring start were less than ideal. Per ESPN‘s Jeff Passan, a stress reaction in his right scapula will force him to “miss a significant amount of time to start 2022,” and he won’t start throwing again until a month has passed.

DeGrom’s 92 innings earned him the No. 9 WAR among all starting pitchers in 2021, resulting in a little decline from the No. 1 slot he would have otherwise held.

8. Los Angeles Dodgers’ Julio Urias

Age: 25

Stats for 2021: 185.2 innings, 32 games, 20-3, 195 strikeouts, 38 walks, 2.96 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 5.0 WAR

177.0 IP, 31 GS, 14-8, 174 K, 48 BB, 3.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 3.8 WAR projected for 2022

Consider what might happen if Julio Urias’ fastball improved from ordinary to much above-average. For most of 2021, he avoided it while also removing his slider, allowing him to confuse whole batting orders with his outstanding curveballs (.175 xBA and.273 xSLG) and changeups (.217 xBA and .278 xSLG). When you add in his superb control, it’s evident how successful he was once completely released by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

7. New York Mets’ Max Scherzer

Age: 37

2021 stats: 179.1 IP, 30 GS, 15-4, 236 K, 36 BB, 2.46 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 5.4 WAR, 179.1 IP, 30 GS, 15-4, 236 K, 36 BB, 2.46 ERA, 0.86 WHIP

172.0 IP, 28 GS, 13-9, 218 K, 52 BB, 3.55 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 4.1 WAR projected for 2022

Last year, Max Scherzer relied on his fastball and slider 66.2 percent of the innings, and with good cause. His slider eluded batters on a regular basis, and his 94.3 mph four-seamer remained one of the finest pitches in the league. With a changeup, curveball, and cutter that all grade out as above-average pitches when he’s on his game, the veteran retains his ace status, despite being somewhat more vulnerable to homers than he was at his real best.

6. Cleveland Guardians’ Shane Bieber

Age: 26

2021 stats: 96.2 IP, 16 GS, 7-4, 134 K, 33 BB, 3.17 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 2.6 WAR, 96.2 IP, 16 GS, 7-4, 134 K, 33 BB, 3.17 ERA, 1.21 WHIP

174.0 IP, 28 GS, 13-10, 216 K, 56 BB, 3.55 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 4.2 WAR projected for 2022

Shane Bieber still has a deadly slider and a complete set of secondary weapons, and his fastball could return. He may not have reached his Cy Young Award-winning peaks during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but he’s still better than he was in 2021, even when he wasn’t hampered by the lingering effects of a rotator cuff injury. When everything comes together, Bieber has the most MLB potential.

5. Philadelphia Phillies’ Zack Wheeler

Zack Wheeler pitches for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Zack Wheeler pitches for the Philadelphia Phillies. Zack Wheeler, starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies | Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Age: 31

Stats for 2021: 213.1 innings, 32 games, 14-10, 247 strikeouts, 46 walks, 2.78 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 7.3 WAR

179.0 IP, 28 GS, 14-8, 181 K, 48 BB, 3.39 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 4.7 WAR projected for 2022

It’s difficult enough to have one throw with a double-digit run value throughout the course of a season. With his slider (11), sinker (10) and four-seamer (13), Zack Wheeler had three (14). In 2021, he started more more than ever on his slider, which produced a.224 xBA and.344 xSLG, powering a breakthrough that helped him achieve the second-place finish in Cy Young voting, which he has a good chance of topping in 2022.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers’ Walker Buehler

Age: 27

207.2 IP, 33 GS, 16-4, 212 K, 52 BB, 2.47 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 5.5 WAR, 2021 Stats

190.0 IP, 31 GS, 15-8, 187 K, 56 BB, 3.83 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 3.5 WAR projected for 2022

Walker Buehler does not walk hitters, so everybody at the plate needs to prepare for six different pitches. He uses four-seamers, cutters, sliders, and curveballs often, and he mixes in sinkers and changeups frequently enough to terminate any given at-bat. Even more unjustly, each one was assessed as a definite plus pitch during a season in which Buehler’s spin rates decreased somewhat as a result of the sticky stuff crackdown.

3. New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole

Age: 31

2021 Stats: 181.1 IP, 30 GS, 16-8, 243 K, 41 BB, 3.23 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 5.3 WAR, 181.1 IP, 30 GS, 16-8, 243 K, 41 BB, 3.23 ERA, 1.06 WHIP

189.0 IP, 30 GS, 15-9, 247 K, 51 BB, 3.39 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 4.9 WAR projected for 2022

Gerrit Cole has a 3.53 ERA (3.15 FIP) with 67 strikeouts and just 13 walks in 51 innings in his previous nine starts following an adjustment to the MLB-wide ban on Spider Tack. He still has a fastball-slider combination that rivals any in baseball, a changeup that produces lots of whiffs, and a curveball that squeezes out called strikes. Cole may not be able to raise the heating as efficiently without a perfect spin rate, but he has everything he needs.

2. Milwaukee Brewers’ Brandon Woodruff

Age: 29

2021 stats: 179.1 innings pitched, 30 games started, 9-10, 211 strikeouts, 43 walks, 2.56 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 4.7 WAR

183.0 IP, 31 GS, 14-9, 199 K, 53 BB, 3.55 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 4.4 WAR projected for 2022

Brandon Woodruff’s four-seamer, which tops out at 96.5 mph, has held hitters to a.212 xBA and.349 xSLG with a 30.5 whiff % in 2021. But it’s far from his sole compelling argument. His sinker causes a lot of poor contact, his sweeping curve deceives a lot of batters, and his changeup blends perfectly with the fastball to keep hitters off balance. You’re going to have a hard time dealing with that arsenal.

1. Milwaukee Brewers’ Corbin Burnes

Age: 27

Stats for 2021: 167.0 innings, 28 games, 11-5, 234 strikeouts, 34 walks, 2.43 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 7.5 WAR

171.0 IP, 29 GS, 14-8, 217 K, 54 BB, 3.13 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 5.1 WAR projected for 2022

Corbin Burnes’ cutter-curveball-slider combo is blatantly ludicrous, and if he concentrates on those three major offerings while cutting down on some of the other secondary stuff, he may be able to reach another level. That’s particularly alarming given the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner’s 2.00 xERA, 1.63 FIP, and 2.30 xFIP, all of which support the notion that he’s not going anywhere after hitting the summit of the mound mountain.

Unless otherwise stated, all stats are courtesy of Baseball Reference, Fangraphs, and Baseball Savant.

RELATED: Shohei Ohtani Has Changed the Game So Much That MLB Has Modified the Rules to accommodate Him 

The “2022 fantasy baseball rankings” are a ranking of the top 50 starting pitchers for the 2022 MLB Season. The list will be updated throughout the season as players get injured or have their performance drop off.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the best pitcher in MLB 2022?

A: Madison Bumgarner is the current best pitcher in MLB 2022.

Who is the best pitcher in fantasy baseball?

Who is the best current pitcher in the MLB?

A: As of right now, the best current MLB pitcher is Corey Kluber.

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