Let me make this clear: there is a reason I did not say “ace” in my title.
There is a clear difference to me between a No. 1 starter and an ace. A No. 1 starter is the best starter on a team. In my opinion, an ace is one of the best pitchers in the league who could lead a majority of rotations – that’s why it is so hard to have two aces on one team.
Some of my examples of aces are Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw and Felix Hernandez. The only team that has more than one is the Philadelphia Phillies with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. Maybe the Washington Nationals too with Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, but Gonzalez is a stretch.
The Texas Rangers do not have an ace.
Yu Darvish is the only starter on this team who even has a chance at becoming an ace, but he isn’t there now. But is Darvish the No. 1 of this rotation, or is Matt Harrison?
Darvish was a huge commodity last off-season because of his potential. He was an ace in Japan but in the beginning of last season, he had a lot of control issues. He got it under control by the end of the season, but there are still a lot of questions about him.
Harrison, on the other hand, has been very good for the last multiple seasons. He has proven himself with his sub 3.4 ERA and 32 wins in the last two seasons. Harrison has been very good and has been consistently underrated.
In my opinion, Harrison is the obvious No. 1 choice for this rotation, while Darvish is the easy No. 2. The best solution would be to bring in an actual ace, but that is very difficult and requires a lot of talent to bring in.
There is always a chance, though. There is also a chance Darvish will flourish into an ace. But, both look pretty unrealistic this season, and Harrison should lead this rotation until one of the two happens.
Kyle McAreavy can be followed on twitter @kyle_mcareavy