Ranking the 5 AL West aces entering the 2023 season

Aug 27, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) pitches
Aug 27, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) pitches / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
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2) RHP Shohei Ohtani - Los Angeles Angels

As much as I wish I could put Shohei Ohtani at number one, I just can't do that. Ohtani has developed from a pitcher with absurd stuff who hadn't really put it all together into one of the best pitchers in the game.

Ohtani went 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA in 28 starts and 166 innings pitched. He led the league with an 11.9 K/9 while walking just 2.4/9, a significant improvement for a pitcher who once struggled with his command at times. Ohtani should've been a Cy Young finalist, but settled for a fourth-place finish.

The Angels plan on using Ohtani every sixth day instead of the sixth game, so hopefully he can make more starts and help the Angels win more games with his golden right arm. It's been a pleasure to watch this guy pitch and I hope I can do it while being happy for many years to come.

1) RHP Jacob deGrom - Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers signed the best pitcher I've ever seen after inking Jacob deGrom on a five-year deal. That deal comes with a ton of risk as they guaranteed him five years and a lot of money. If he is healthy, there's no doubt in my mind that it'll end up being a bargain for Texas.

deGrom won back-to-back Cy Young Awards for the Mets in 2018 and 2019. He then finished third in the shortened 2020 season. 2021 was going to be his best yet and one of the best pitching seasons we've ever seen until he got shut down with an injury following the all-star break. deGrom had a 1.08 ERA while striking out 14.3 batters per nine before getting shut down.

The right-hander missed the first four months of this season but looked like the same guy who was the best pitcher in the game prior to his injuries in 2021 and 2022. If he can stay healthy, I expect him to be the best pitcher in this division. If not, Shohei could easily take that title away with a repeat of his 2022.

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