Kevin Goldstein has an interesting article up at both Baseball Prospectus and ESPN Insider today, breaking down what it means to be a true number one starter from a scouting perspective. The article is subscription only, so you will need either a BP or Insider account to read the entire piece. Goldstein names five minor league pitchers the industry sees as having the best chance to become number one starters down the road, with Pirates prospects Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole making the list. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction.
To be clear, “No. 1 starter” is a scouting/industry term, not a slot in the rotation. There were plenty of No. 3 starters taking the bump on opening day. There are maybe ten No. 1 starters in baseball. These are the guys who enter your head every time it comes time to predict who will win the Cy Young award each year. It takes stuff and command, but also durability, consistency, and that extra something else.
Be sure to give it a read.