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Fifth starting pitcher power rankings of 2023

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It’s not easy to maintain a place in the Starting Pitcher Power Rankings. Each start is full of danger, whether via injury or opposing offenses.  

Despite that, seven pitchers from our last poll made it back this time around, albeit with some jockeying for position. That will undoubtedly change going forward, but for now, there is stability when it comes to the top starters in the sport.

Here is the fifth edition of the 2023 Starting Pitcher Power Rankings, with an MLB.com panel voting based on track record, season-long performance and recent success.

All stats are through Tuesday’s games.

1. Shane McClanahan, Rays (Last poll: 1)
The left-hander retains his spot at the top of these rankings and looks to be in good position to make his second consecutive All-Star Game start. He’s allowed two runs or fewer in 12 of his 14 starts this season, and the high-flying Rays are 12-2 when he takes the mound.

3. Framber Valdez, Astros (5)
For the third straight season, opponents are batting under .230 and slugging under .340 against Valdez, whose sinker and curveball both induce loads of ground balls. Since Valdez entered the Majors in 2018, no pitcher with 500-plus innings has a lower home run rate.

4. Marcus Stroman, Cubs (8)
Since sitting out the 2020 COVID-shortened season, Stroman owns a 3.06 ERA across 72 starts. He’s been at his best in 2023, leading the NL in ERA (2.42), ERA+ (184), WHIP (1.039) and hits allowed per nine innings (6.1).

5. Luis Castillo, Mariners (6)
As recently as 2021, Castillo used his changeup more than any other pitch. He’s since transformed into a fastball-first pitcher, using his four-seamer more than twice as often as any other offering, while de-emphasizing the change. It’s working.

6. Sonny Gray, Twins (3)
An 11-year veteran, Gray doesn’t throw especially hard at this point in his career. But he mixes things up effectively, using six pitches, including five that he goes to more than 15% of the time. In 72 innings this season, Gray has allowed just one home run.

7. Jon Gray, Rangers (not ranked)
Yes, another Gray. The only thing slowing down this one is a blister that forced the Rangers to scratch him from his start on Tuesday (but which is not expected to put him on the injured list). Since May 8, Gray has allowed four runs in 43 innings (0.84 ERA), with a 44-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His only loss in that span? A 12-K, one-run complete game on June 7 against the Cardinals.

8. Kevin Gausman, Blue Jays (not ranked)
The right-hander has endured a few blowup starts this season, combining for 21 earned runs allowed over 12 2/3 innings. In his other 11 starts, he’s allowed just nine earned runs over 74 innings (1.09 ERA). Gausman leads the AL with 117 strikeouts after topping the 200 mark in both of the past two seasons.

9. Zac Gallen, D-backs (10)
Even as Gallen has cooled off a bit following a streak of four straight scoreless starts in April, he still leads the Majors with a 2.40 FIP this season. The righty is a major reason why the surprising D-backs are leading the NL West.

10. Gerrit Cole, Yankees (not ranked)
Cole continues to deliver on the $324 million contract he signed with the Yankees prior to the 2020 season. After going toe-to-toe against Justin Verlander and the Mets in a prime Subway Series matchup on Wednesday night, the Yankees are 11-4 with Cole starting on the mound and 28-26 with anyone else.

Others receiving votes: Spencer Strider (Braves), Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers), Joe Ryan (Twins), Shohei Ohtani (Angels), Bobby Miller (Dodgers), Mitch Keller (Pirates), George Kirby (Mariners), Bryce Elder (Braves), Michael Wacha (Padres)

Voters: David Adler, Brett Blueweiss, Paul Casella, Doug Gausepohl, Thomas Harrigan, Sarah Langs, Travis Miller, Ricardo Montes de Oca, Brian Murphy, Sweeny Murti, Manny Randhawa, Efrain Ruiz, Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru, Andrew Simon, David Venn

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