Phillies or Braves: Who has the better rotation after Atlanta's Chris Sale trade?

The Braves made a big trade to bring in Chris Sale, but does that mean the division rival has a better rotation than the Phillies?

Championship Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies - Game One
Championship Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies - Game One / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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Zack Wheeler vs Spencer Strider

Wheeler: 4.8 projected 2024 fWAR
Strider: 4.9 projected 2024 fWAR

As No. 1 pitchers go, Zack Wheeler and Spencer Strider top the list. According to FanGraphs' 2024 starting pitcher projections, Strider is ranked first, and Wheeler is ranked second.

Strider, a 25-year-old right-hander, finished fourth this past year in Cy Young voting. He ended the year with a 3.86 ERA, which doesn’t jump off the page, but he pitched to a 2.85 FIP, which was the second-best in baseball. He led the league with 281 strikeouts, a 13.5 SO/9, and 20 wins. He registered a 5.5 fWAR, second behind Wheeler.

He has only pitched in 65 career games but has made a name for himself as one of the premier arms in the entire MLB. He has the stuff to be dominant and be a problem for the Phillies for a long time.

As early as Strider is in his career, Wheeler is the opposite, having been on top of his game for quite some time. The 33-year-old has appeared in 227 career games, and his last four years since he joined the Phillies have been downright mesmerizing. He has been the definition of consistency since he signed his five-year deal in the 2019-2020 offseason.

In 2023, Wheeler finished sixth in Cy Young voting and won the Gold Glove Award for the first time in his career. He finished the season with a 3.61 ERA. However, like Strider, his FIP and WHIP were low, coming in at 3.15 and 1.078, respectively.

As mentioned before, Strider was second in the MLB in fWAR, finishing just behind the Phillies ace, who registered a 5.9 fWAR, edging out his younger rival.

These two will be at the helm of their respective rotations for the 2024 season, and it will be neck and neck on who comes out on top as the better pitcher.