October ace tiers: Ranking the top 10 starting pitchers in this years MLB playoffs

  • ESPN MLB Insider
  • Kiley McDaniel covers MLB prospects, the MLB Draft and more, including trades and free agency.
  • Has worked for four MLB teams.

Now that the division series are set, I wanted to do a MLB playoffs-flavored update to my in-season ace rankings. I’m including only players on teams still alive (sorry, Gerrit Cole), and only those currently healthy (sorry, Clayton Kershaw) and instead of projecting for the next season or two, this ranking is based on value for this postseason alone.

That means past postseason experience means more than in a conventional ace ranking (and in many cases will act as a tiebreaker), while 2021 performance and current form mean more than a multiseason track record, though I’d like to have both. So don’t read this as “definite ace who had a down season is now behind an upstart with a bounce-back season for 2022”; read it as “Kiley would rather have this hot hand for the next few weeks.” Some of these guys will also be used out of the bullpen, maybe exclusively, but that doesn’t diminish for me what they could do as a starter, if given the shot.

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