2024 MLB ace rankings: Baseball's best starting pitchers

Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire

Now that the excitement of Opening Day has begun to fade into the grind of the long season ahead, it's time to turn our focus to one of the most valuable positions on the field. Every year, we rank the top starting pitchers in baseball, though this season is unique as the main storyline on the mound is an issue that is building across MLB: injuries.

I've done editions of these ace rankings at the start of the last few seasons, but this year's version felt different from the beginning. Going into 2024, we had a number of injured ace or ace-adjacent pitchers from last season -- Jacob deGrom, Walker Buehler, Shohei Ohtani, Sandy Alcantara -- while long-term aces like Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw had fallen out of that tier and were also injured.

Then the recent rash of injuries hit, with another half-dozen pitchers who would figure prominently in these rankings going down since the start of spring training. In total, nearly half of the starting pitchers in the three tiers below are injured right now. In fact, the only Cy Young Award winners from the last 14 seasons that are active this week are Blake Snell and Corbin Burnes.

With so many aces not currently on the mound, the list of healthy ones is quite short. So, I've decided to include injured pitchers in the tier they'd rank if they were healthy while also digging a bit deeper to explore the concept of what an ace, or number two pitcher, actually is in today's game.

Now on to our list of the best pitchers in baseball right now -- or when they are able to return to the mound -- combining my own opinion with thoughts from evaluators across the industry.