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Sixth starting pitcher power rankings of 2023

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When voting for All-Star starters wraps up at noon ET on Thursday, our attention will turn to the rest of the rosters, and that means it’s time to debate which starting pitchers have been the best of 2023.

Two of those aces will find themselves on the mound to start the All-Star Game on July 11 in Seattle, and there’s a good chance that same pair appears in our latest Starting Pitcher Power Rankings as well.

A panel of MLB.com voters evaluated these hurlers on a combination of track record, season-long excellence and recent performance. Here are the results, with all stats through Tuesday’s action.

1. Shane McClanahan, Rays (Last poll: 1)
McClanahan started last year’s All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium, and he may have a shot for two in a row, something only Chris Sale (2016-18) has done in the AL since 1985 (as long as a minor bout of back tightness doesn’t interfere). McClanahan’s case will be pretty simple: He leads the Majors in wins (11) and ERA (2.23) for the top team in the AL.

2. Framber Valdez, Astros (3)
It’s not as if Valdez was flying under the radar prior to this year. The lefty was an All-Star in 2022, when he finished fifth in the AL Cy Young Award voting and played a key role in the Astros’ championship run during October. But following the offseason departure of Justin Verlander, Houston needed Valdez to be an ace, and he has answered the call.

3. Zac Gallen, D-backs (9)
The 27-year-old not only is in line for his first All-Star selection but could be a favorite to start the Midsummer Classic. Gallen leads the NL with 10 wins, a 2.72 FIP and a 4.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and the first-place D-backs have gone 12-5 with him on the mound.

4. Gerrit Cole, Yankees (10)
Where would the Yankees be without Cole? None of the five other Yankees pitchers with more than two starts have an ERA+ of 100 (league average) or better. Cole is at 149. New York is playing at a 124-win pace when Cole starts (13-4) and a 78-win pace when he doesn’t (30-32).

5. Nathan Eovaldi, Rangers (2)
Durability has not necessarily been Eovaldi’s calling card over the course of his 12-year career, but in 2023, he leads the Majors in innings. His total of 105 1/3 is already almost as many as he threw for Boston all of last season (109 1/3). And they have been highly effective innings, too.

6. Shohei Ohtani, Angels (not ranked)
Ohtani conquered our most recent Hitter Power Rankings, and now he makes his return to the Starting Pitcher Power Rankings after a one-week absence. In his last two trips to the mound, Ohtani has allowed two runs and struck out 22 batters over 13 1/3 innings. And in the latter, on Tuesday, he helped his cause as only Ohtani can — with two homers at the plate.

7. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (not ranked)
Did we just get a visit from Peak Kershaw in June? Tuesday night’s brilliant outing at Coors Field was his fifth of the month and third in which he didn’t allow a run. The lefty finished June 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA, and his 2.40 ERA since the beginning of 2022 ranks second in the Majors (minimum 175 innings).

8. Spencer Strider, Braves (not ranked)
It was a bit concerning when Strider was hit hard in back-to-back outings from June 8-14, a development that knocked him out of our rankings for the first time this season. But Strider has looked like himself again in two starts since, with a combined two runs and 19 strikeouts in wins over the Phillies and Twins.

9. Eury Pérez, Marlins (not ranked)
Few in Major League history have started their careers more impressively than Pérez, much less at age 20. The 6-foot-8 right-hander gets right on top of batters with his extension and high-90s fastball, while his slider, curveball and changeup are all missing tons of bats. Pérez has pitched 28 innings this month, allowed one run and struck out 35.

10. Bryce Elder, Braves (not ranked)
Elder isn’t an eye-popping talent in the mold of Pérez, but the second-year righty somewhat quietly leads the Majors with a 182 ERA+. The Braves are 12-4 in games started by Elder, who has allowed two runs or fewer 12 times on the strength of his ground ball-heavy arsenal.

Others receiving votes: Blake Snell (Padres), Marcus Stroman (Cubs), Kevin Gausman (Blue Jays), Luis Castillo (Mariners), Justin Steele (Cubs), Sonny Gray (Twins)

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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