The 10 best MLB rotations so far in 2024

May 4, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Ranger Suarez (55)
May 4, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Ranger Suarez (55) / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

A good starting rotation gives its team and its fans two things in abundance. The first is consistent quality, and the second is consistent durability.

Unfortunately, in the modern game, those qualities are relatively scarce. That’s especially true of durability. Approaching the season’s one-quarter mark, only six teams boast a rotation featuring as many as four pitchers who have worked enough innings – one per team game played -- to be on pace to qualify for the ERA lead. Only seven others have even three such pitchers.

That leaves 17 teams – more than half – with fewer than three pitchers on pace to be ERA qualifiers. The Milwaukee Brewers have none ... and they're in first place in their division.

The quarter pole is, however, deep enough into the season to make some assessments concerning rotation performance. Here’s a look at the 10 best rotations to date.

Our criteria for determining the 10 best falls back directly onto those two critical staff requirements, quality and durability. Two-thirds of the rating is based on the standard deviation of the ERAs of pitchers on pace  to meet ERA-qualification minimums. At the moment, the group average of 73 pitchers on pace to meet that standard is 3.41, with a standard deviation of 1.16.

The remaining one-third of the weighting is based on innings pitched. As of the start of play May 5, the group average is 37.57 innings with a standard deviation of 3.49 innings.

An interesting aspect of this list is the teams you won’t see on it because they don’t have at least three qualifying rotation starters. That list includes the Dodgers, Braves, Red Sox and Cubs, all of them currently in playoff position.

Here are the top 10.

10 best rotations in MLB as of May 2024

10. New York Yankees. The loss of Gerrit Cole was supposed to cripple the Yankees. But New York still has four regular starters with ERAs in the threes: Marcus Stroman, Clarke Schmidt, Carlos Rodón and Nestor Cortes. They are a big reason why the Yankees have the third-best ERA in MLB so far.

9. Baltimore Orioles. Corbin Burnes, obtained from Milwaukee in a preseason trade, has a 2.61 ERA in an impressive 41 innings to date. Cole Irvin’s 2.86 ERA across 34 innings has been a pleasant surprise. Grayson Rodriguez and Dean Kremer haven’t been as solid, but they’ve held up their own.

8. Oakland A’s. Who’d have thunk it? The A’s, dismissed as wandering irrelevancies in preseason forecasts, are hanging at .500 largely thanks to a quality rotation. Paul Blackburn and J.P. Sears both have ERAs in the threes, and Ross Stripling, 4.24 over 40 innings, has proven useful.

7. Pittsburgh Pirates. Everybody’s calling for the promotion of Paul Skenes to the big leagues, but the current Pirates rotation isn’t bad at all. It’s led by Jared Jones with a 2.63 ERA in 41 innings. Martín Perez, 3.15 in 40 innings, has offset the so-far subpar effort from projected ace Mitch Keller, who sits at 5.18 in 40 innings.

6. Cincinnati Reds. The Reds lack an ace, but they have rotation depth. Hunter Greene, Andrew Abbott and Graham Ashcraft have all delivered ERAs in the low-to-mid threes with a qualifying innings total. And things are only getting better; after starting the season on the injured list, Nick Lodolo is performing at a 1.88 level while building his innings total.

5. San Francisco Giants. The Giants are regularly running out four quality starters. The leader is, of course, Logan Webb, at 2.88 in 42 innings. But he’s been upstaged a bit by Jordan Hicks, with a 1.89 mark in 38 innings. Kyle Harrison and Keaton Winn have been reliable.

4. Kansas City Royals. The transfusion of last year’s Royals staff – a 5.17 ERA – into this year’s 3.41 version may not hold up, but it’s striking while it lasts. Royals fans can thank Seth Lugo and his 1.60 ERA over 45 innings. Brady Singer is at 2.45 over 40 innings, and Cole Ragans and Michael Wacha – at least until Wacha got drilled Saturday night – have also been steady contributors.

3. Toronto Blue Jays. Everybody’s bemoaning the Jays' 16-19 start, as they should. Don’t blame Jose Berrios, whose 1.44 ERA and exceptional 43 innings pitched lift an otherwise mediocre Toronto rotation. Yusei Kikuchi, 2.72 in 39 innings, hasn’t hit Berrios’ level, but he’s been solid.

2. Seattle Mariners. The Mariners’ presence atop the AL West has everything to do with their starters. Logan Gilbert has been out of this world, posting a 1.69 ERA in 48 innings. Bryce Miller’s 2.04 ERA in 35 innings qualifies as a pleasant surprise, while Luis Castillo and George Kirby are both performing in the mid-threes.

1. Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are the only team with two qualified starters boasting sub-.2.00 ERAs. Ranger Suarez is at 1.72 over 47 innings, and Zack Wheeler is at 1.91 over 42 innings. Throw in Aaron Nola, 3.32 for 43 innings, and you won’t find a better front threesome right now.

The Chicago White Sox pursuit of ineptitude has been historic (