There are 30 teams in Major League Baseball, meaning at least 150 different pitchers get the opportunity to start for their respective teams. That's not including the many injuries that occur during a typical season, making other pitchers plug into the rotation. However, even ignoring injuries, the sheer high number of pitchers that must start for each team each season leads to some undeserving candidates to be gifted spots in their respective teams' rotations.
Most of the time this is a young kid just trying to make a name for himself in the league, or a veteran on the way out that's holding onto his last hope as a player in the sport. That being said, you also have your fair share of starting pitchers that earn high salary contracts or have been in the league for a long time now, yet continue to be awful pitchers. We can't help but wonder how these pitchers get starting gigs every fifth day, yet they continue to run out their and get run off the mound by opposing offenses.
Let's take a look at the worst starting pitchers in the major leagues today, looking at the pitchers that are not the youngsters, but the ones that legitimately received their rotation spot as a regular spot.
15 Ubaldo Jimenez
The worst moment of the 2016 season for the Baltimore Orioles was when manager Buck Showalter brought Ubaldo Jimenez into a tie game in the extra innings of the American League wild card game rather than going to lights-out closer Zach Britton. The worst moment of the 2017 season thus far likely also includes Ubaldo Jimenez, as it's when Buck Showlater named Ubaldo Jimenez to the Orioles' starting rotation. Jimenez' best days are long past him, and his ability to contribute to a successful starting rotation are long gone. Yet the Orioles continue to run Jimenez out there like he has something to provide to the team, and he continues to get shelled by opposing teams. It's tough to watch on a larger scale.
14 Ricky Nolasco
Ricky Nolasco was once an ace for the Florida Marlins--yes Florida, not Miami--good enough to be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and sign a mega contract with the Minnesota Twins. However, the Twins quickly learned that Nolasco was not as good as teams seemed to think he was,leading to their dumping his contract onto the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, a team with a woeful starting rotation that needed all of the help that they could get. The Angels are attempting to use Nolasco as one of their top starters, not even as their fourth or fifth starter. Nolasco has struggled out of the gate, which is not surprising to anyone who has been paying attention. He's washed up at best.
13 R.A. Dickey
The Atlanta Braves were looking to give their franchise a new look heading into their inaugural season in their new stadium this season. They brought on fan favorite Bartolo Colon to help lead their rotation, then complemented the starter over the age of 40 with another 40-plus veteran in R.A. Dickey. Dickey, best known for being a junkball knuckleballer, struggled in recent seasons for the Toronto Blue Jays, leading to the Blue Jays letting Dickey go without much of a second thought in free agency. The Braves surprisingly jumped on the aging veteran, whose numbers have only worsened with each passing season. We don't understand what the Braves are realistically expecting out of their new starter, but it can't be good for them at all.
12 Shelby Miller
In a perfect world, Shelby Miller would be an ace for the Arizona Diamondbacks. See, the Diamondbacks traded seemingly their entire prospect pool and a starting outfielder for Miller before the 2016 season, a deal that was heavily criticized out of the gate. What happened next was even more disastrous for the Diamondbacks, as they watched Miller completely fall apart in the 2016 season, posting some of the worst statistics of any starting pitcher across all of Major League Baseball. Miller was nearly traded at last year's trade deadline and in this year's offseason, yet he somehow remains a member of the Diamondbacks rotation. Perhaps he has some potential left, but it can't be in the Diamondbacks' rotation, as that's been proven at this point.
11 Jhoulys Chacin
The San Diego Padres are one of the strangest organizations in professional sports. As recently as 2014, they looked to be all in on making not only the playoffs, but also making a run once they reached the postseason. Yet the Padres faltered that season, made some trades, and turned into a borderline unwatchable team. Next, the Padres decided to make some more trades, one of which they were caught for giving false medical reports, leading to the suspension of their general manager. Perhaps this is how it resulted in their having journeyman starter Jhoulys Chacin as their number one starter. Yes, the ace of the staff would be at best a fifth starter on most teams, which is entertaining for those who like tire fires.
10 Jered Weaver
Through all of the ups and the more downs, the Padres have shown zero clue about what they're doing as a franchise. Rather than prioritizing youth and looking to build up their prospect pool and get their youngsters developing in the majors, the Padres decided to fill the top of their rotation with veterans that have no business pitching at the highest level anymore. Thus, after #1 starter comes #2 starter Jered Weaver, who has not been effective in a few years now. The most amazing part about Weaver serving as a pitcher in a Major League Baseball rotation is the fact that he currently throws approximately 85 miles per hour, the equivalent of what the average high school starting pitcher throws at this point.
9 Matt Cain
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Matt Cain was an integral piece in the multiple championships the San Francisco Giants one in recent years. In 2010 and 2012 he was one of the aces of the rotations, starting alongside Tim Lincecum, who currently finds himself out of Major League Baseball altogether. These days, Cain is a softball starter who fills out the San Francisco Giants' rotation. He has not had the stuff of a major league starter in years now, but Bruce Bochy has shown throughout his managerial career that he is a loyal guy, so he wants to give Cain every opportunity possible to succeed with the Giants this year. We have bad news for Bochy: including Cain in the rotation will not work out like it used to.
8 Clay Buchholz
We understand how the Philadelphia Phillies arrived at the thought of including Clay Buchholz in their rotation for this season, but the idea just doesn't make enough sense to put into practice. First of all, they had to take his contract off of the Boston Red Sox' hands, who were clearly looking to rid themselves of Buchholz for good reason. Second of all, if Buchholz pitches well this season he will likely just leave for a big contract as a free agent. If not, he will have cost the Phillies an entire year's big contract for little to no reward. His inclusion in the rotation does not provide any value to the Phillies, yet they continue to throw him out their on every fifth day.
7 Phil Hughes
Clay Buchholz was once a star starting pitcher prospect for the Boston Red Sox. Phil Hughes was once a star starting pitcher prospect for one of the Red Sox' top rivals in the New York Yankees. Hughes had some solid seasons with the Yankees, but he also had plenty of downs through his Major League Baseball career. The Yankees allowed Hughes to leave as a free agent without putting up much of a fight, and the Minnesota Twins pounced on the free agent. Perhaps that helps explain why the Twins are one of the worst teams in baseball consistently, as Hughes does little to nothing in the majors at this point. Hughes' best time in the MLB came when he was pitching out of the bullpen.
6 Yovani Gallardo
Remember once upon a time when Yovani Gallardo was a top starter for the Milwaukee Brewers? He was one of the strangest staff aces in the entire league. Gallardo would go out every year as the #1 starter for the Brewers, and the Brewers would win their 75-85 games every season, with everyone shrugging off the entire process. Gallardo never had the strongest stuff, so when the Texas Rangers acquired him it was not the biggest deal. He next went to the Baltimore Orioles, who soured on the starter pretty quickly. They decided to move him for another struggling starter, Wade Miley of the Seattle Mariners. It was a "we're tired of you" for "we're tired of you" trade at its finest, but Gallardo is long gone.
5 Wade Miley
Speaking of long gone, how about the Baltimore Orioles' side of the "we're done with you" for "we're done with you" trade? The Orioles decided to acquire Wade Miley to get rid of Yovani Gallardo, a strange decision considering Miley's inability to keep the ball in the ballpark and inability to keep runners off of bases. The Orioles have a weak enough rotation as is, but adding Miley to the fold only makes matters worse. Miley walks so many batters and the Orioles are not exactly the top organization when it comes to figuring out the issues with starting pitchers. Miley will be hopefully an innings eater for the Orioles, but counting on that would be misguided for the Orioles in the upcoming season.
4 Jesse Chavez
This is not to say Jesse Chavez is necessarily plainly a bad pitcher, but the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have to be able to do better than Chavez. There have to be other options than a career journeyman that it seems like has pitched for every Major League team in the past few seasons. Even crazier? Chavez' pitching mostly has been as a relief pitcher, so in addition to giving Chavez a role unexpected of him, the Angels are also increasing his workload and asking even more of him in that regard as well. Certainly seems like a lot to expect of a journeyman, so we don't see how this one works out for the Angels. Maybe they know something we don't know, though!
3 The Entire Cincinnati Reds' Rotation
Okay, so this may be a cop-out, but just look at the Cincinnati Reds' rotation. Somehow the Reds are off to a good start this season, but when push comes to shove they will falter. They have the strangest mix of youngsters and veterans that aren't ready to pitch in Major League Baseball or are past the point of being able to succeed in Major League Baseball. This mix will come back to haunt them soon enough, but for now it's one of the most intriguing stories across the league, we will admit. Can Scott Feldman be a #1 starter for a contending team in baseball? Well, we'll let you answer that one, but our answer is a decisive, no doubt about it no.
2 Jordan Zimmermann
It's disappointing that this is the case because Jordan Zimmermann was once a highly effective starter for the Washington Nationals, and even was pretty good for the Detroit Tigers for a while there. However, Zimmermann's days as an effective starter in Major League Baseball are over, and the Detroit Tigers must stop throwing him out there every five days. Staff ace Justin Verlander has spoken often about the Tigers' need to contend this season or the organization will enter the rebuilding process. Well, one way to ensure they enter the rebuilding process rather than contend is to throw Zimmermann out there and expect different results each time. Zimmermann just doesn't have it in him anymore to contribute to a successful starting rotation in the league.
1 Andrew Cashner
Andrew Cashner has always been known as one of those starting pitchers in Major League Baseball that has the "stuff" to succeed, but can't quite put everything together. Besides that, Cashner, who seems to love his beard more than throwing quality starts, cannot stay healthy for the life of him. The Texas Rangers are counting on Cashner to be a useful cog in the well-oiled machine that is their starting rotation this season, hefty expectations of a new free agent signing that cannot seem to tap fully into the potential everyone thinks he has in him. We shall see if Cashner proves the Rangers right, but the expectation here is that the Rangers are buying into buzzwords surrounding Cashner, not the pitcher himself.