Phillies starting rotation power rankings going into the 2024 season

Ranking Phillies starting pitchers for the upcoming season. Who takes the top spot?

Philadelphia Phillies ace Zack Wheeler leads the starting rotation in 2024
Philadelphia Phillies ace Zack Wheeler leads the starting rotation in 2024 / Elsa/GettyImages
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No. 4: Taijuan Walker

The signing of Taijuan Walker to a four-year, $72 million contract last offseason was overshadowed by the Phillies signing of Trea Turner. But adding Walker and stealing a rotation piece away from the rival New York Mets was generally applauded upon announcement of the deal. With Walker, the Phillies gained a legit No. 3 starter to follow Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola in the rotation.

Walker's 2023 numbers are solid on paper but misleading when taken as a whole. In 31 starts, Walker had a record of 15-6 with an ERA of 4.38 to go along with 138 strikeouts in 172 2/3 innings pitched. His 7.19 K/9 continued a steady decline since 2019, when he posted a K/9 of 9.00. This is a trend Phillies fans should keep an eye on with Walker this season.

Walker relied on a six-pitch mix in 2023, with his split-finger (33 percent), sinker (23 percent), cutter (17 percent), and four-seamer (17 percent) being the four pitches he relied on most last season. His split-finger was the most effective of his four primary pitches, with opposing hitters only mustering a .205 batting average against the pitch. His other three offerings, sinker (.271), cutter (.284), and four-seamer (.260) were all very hittable last season.

He had better success with two of his lesser-used pitches, a curveball he only used 5.7 percent of the time (.212), and a sweeper he featured 2.8 percent of the time (.158). Could 2024 be the year Walker changes up his pitch mix?

Phillies fans are expecting Walker to make the necessary adjustments to regain control of the third spot in the rotation in year two of his four-year contract. Walker felt insulted not to be trusted to make an appearance in the postseason for the Phillies, even as the bullpen fell apart during the NLCS versus the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Perhaps Walker uses this slight as a chip on his shoulder entering 2024 and outperforms expectations, but for now, he's No. 4 on our Phillies starting pitcher power rankings.