Just before MLB owners decided to lock the players out, there was a bit of a splurge in free agency spending that included a record-setting deal for Max Scherzer to join Jacob deGrom and the Mets. I mention both of those names because I believe they now form the best 1-2 rotation punch in all of baseball.
For the purposes of internet arguing, I have run through all 30 teams and compiled what I believe to be the top 10 1-2 rotation punches for the 2022 season (as rosters stand in the lockout). Let's check it out.
Shohei Ohtani and Noah Syndergaard, Angels – There's huge upside here, but Syndergaard has only thrown two innings since 2019 and Ohtani's two-way action limits his innings (he threw 130 1/3 innings last year).
Robbie Ray and Chris Flexen, Mariners – Again, nice upside, but Ray had a 4.53 ERA in his previous three seasons before the Cy Young breakout and Flexen is more likely a mid-rotation guy.
Max Fried and Charlie Morton, Braves – Perhaps Ian Anderson crashes the party here, as Morton is coming off a broken leg and will be 38 years old.
Jack Flaherty and Adam Wainwright, Cardinals – If we were guaranteed to see 2019 Flaherty and the Wainwright from last season's last three months, they'd be way higher on the list. But Wainwright is going to be 40 next season and we need to see another full season from Flaherty.
Shane Bieber and ?, Guardians – Bieber is coming off a shoulder injury and that's always worrisome. And who is the two? Cal Quantrill? Zach Plesac? Aaron Civale? There are too many questions here to say they'll be a top-10 duo in 2022.
10. Marlins: Sandy Alcantara and Trevor Rogers
Sandy Alcantara has made 40 starts in the last two seasons, pitching to a 3.16 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. He struck out 201 in 205 2/3 innings last season. Heading to his age-26 season, he's a bona fide frontline starter. He'll pair nicely at the top with lefty Trevor Rogers, who had a 2.64 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 133 innings last year as a rookie.