Opening Day is the time when each team throws their best starting pitcher and expects a win. Let’s rank each of the 30 pitchers we’ll see on Thursday.
MLB Opening Day is almost here. We’ll all be glued to our televisions watching our favorite teams play in front of sellout crowds looking to get the 2023 season going on a good note.
Some teams have the good fortune of watching elite starting pitchers while others have to watch aging veterans who probably shouldn’t be anywhere near an Opening Day mound (I’m looking at you, Nationals).
All 30 Opening Day starters have been announced. Here are those starters ranked from worst to best.
Ranking every Opening Day pitcher: 30. Patrick Corbin – Washington Nationals
Patrick Corbin was a key piece to the 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals. He had a down year in 2020, was even worse in 2021, and was without a doubt the worst pitcher in baseball last season. 6-19 with a 6.31 ERA in 31 starts is pretty hard (or easy?) to top. Corbin starts the opener for Washington against the Braves in what could be an ugly one. Arms like Josiah Gray and Mackenzie Gore should be fun to watch, it’s unfortunate they can’t pitch the opener.
Ranking every Opening Day pitcher: 29. Kyle Muller – Oakland Athletics
Kyle Muller was a big piece in the trade that sent Sean Murphy to the Braves and William Contreras to the Brewers. Muller takes the ball for Oakland against the Angels which is a bit surprising, but it’s not like they had many other options to turn to. He’s made 12 appearances (11 starts) across two seasons and has a 5.14 ERA. With Paul Blackburn beginning the season on the IL, it was anyone’s best guess in figuring out who’d take the ball for the A’s.
Ranking every Opening Day pitcher: 28. Kyle Gibson – Baltimore Orioles
Kyle Gibson signed a one-year deal with the Orioles to try and fortify their rotation. I don’t hate the pitcher but think as an Opening Day starter he’s quite bad.
Gibson had a 5.05 ERA in 31 starts for the Phillies last season. While I think he’ll be better in 2023, he’s certainly nowhere near an ace. I think someone like Dean Kremer who pitched really well for Baltimore last season made more sense for this spot, but Gibson as the veteran received the honor.
Gibson is a decent back-end of the rotation arm, but shouldn’t be on the bump on Opening Day. Especially for a team that says they’re trying to compete for a playoff spot.
Ranking every Opening Day pitcher: 27. Corey Kluber – Boston Red Sox
Corey Kluber was at one point a staple on Opening Day while pitching for Cleveland. The two-time Cy Young Award winner has pitched for the Yankees and Rays in the last two seasons and will be pitching for his third straight AL East team after inking a deal with Boston.
Kluber will take the ball on Opening Day over Chris Sale which is a bit surprising considering everything Sale has done in Boston. The right-hander is not the pitcher he once was and is more of a mid-rotation guy now.
Ranking every Opening Day pitcher: 26. Zack Greinke – Kansas City Royals
Zack Greinke is back for another year in Kansas City! He’s still a really fun watch with his ability to mix speeds combined with his special personality. He had a pretty good year, posting a 3.68 ERA in 30 appearances (29 starts) for the Royals last season but struck out just 4.8 batters per nine innings. Brady Singer is the best starting pitcher in this rotation, but Greinke being the veteran he is was always going to get this start.