A look at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ potential Opening Day starting rotation

What could the Arizona Diamondbacks' starting rotation look like at the start of next season?

Arizona Diamondbacks Zac Gallen (23) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Chase Field in
Arizona Diamondbacks Zac Gallen (23) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Chase Field in / Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY
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Brandon Pfaadt
World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Three / Harry How/GettyImages

Brandon Pfaadt

Brandon Pfaadt was taken in the very last round of the 2020 draft, which ended up only being five rounds because of COVID. But Pfaadt's development went significantly well. Going into 2023, he was a consensus top 100 prospect, and earned his first extended look in the big leagues.

Pfaadt has a ton of breakout potential. But the bottom line of his rookie season isn't all that impressive. In 96 innings, Pfaadt worked to a 5.72 ERA, 5.18 FIP, and 1.41 WHIP. Although he owned a strong 6.2% walk rate and about average 22.3% strikeout rate, he also allowed over two home runs per nine innings on average with a 2.06 HR/9. A 16.8% HR/FB ratio may suggest that there is some positive regression in Pfaadt's future, but he also had an 11.7% barrel rate.

On paper, Pfaadt's season wasn't great, but he couldn't have asked for a better end to the year. Pfaadt had a 4.14 ERA, 3.89 FIP, and 1.26 WHIP in August and September. While his 1.38 HR/9 was subpar, he had a K% of 25.6% and a walk rate of just 6%. Pfaadt then went on to toss 22 more innings in the Diamondbacks' NL Pennant winning run, striking out 26, only allowing five walks, eight earned runs, and three home runs.

Pfaadt will be heading into his age-25 season, and while he may not be super young, he definitely could keep pitching like he did in the second half and into the Postseason. A lot of young guns don't hit the ground running, and for Pfaadt, it took some time for him to get acclimated to the Majors. But Pfaadt is definitely a candidate for breakout pitcher of the year in 2024.