Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Top 5 Pitching Staffs in Baseball

This morning, Buster Olney of ESPN came out with his weekly column and started it off by giving us his top 5 pitching staffs in baseball. It's an Insider article, so I'll summarize for you:

1.) Boston: Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Dice-K, Wakefield

2.) Yankees: CC, Burnett, Pettitte, Vazquez, Hughes

3.) White Sox: Peavy, Buehrle, Danks, Floyd, Garcia (yes, Freddy)

4.) Angles: Weaver, Kazmir, Saunders, Santana, Pineiro

5.) Cardinals: Carpenter, Wainwright, Lohse, Penny, "someone else"

In my book, Olney is hit and miss, he fancies himself a 'baseball expert' but really he just condenses and summarizes the work of other people....while at the same time being a team-less fan; in other words, he feels like the "fan" in him was suppressed from having to cover baseball as a career and therefore, he does not cheer for any one team.

I have to take issue with this rather flippant discussion of the top 5 rotations in baseball. For one thing, I'd take the Yankees starters over the Red Sox starters any day. CC v Beckett, Burnett v Lester, Vazquez v Lackey, Pettitte v Dice-K, and Hughes/Joba v Wakefield. In his own discussion of his list, he wrote that the Boston rotation will be good, "if Beckett has a season worthy of a contract drive, if Lackey succeeds in making the transition to the American League East, if Matsuzaka can finally get on the same page as the Red Sox staff and if Buchholz continues to improve." That's a lot of 'ifs' there and Dice-K has shown few signs of being able to pitch consistently well in the he used up his savings...

My 2nd issue is this, but before I begin, I issue this disclaimer:


The White Sox have the most potential in the starting 5 and also, arguably, the most talent. Every one of their starters is capable of 10+ wins and all of them have proven they can handle American League hitters. Quick run-down:

Jake Peavy: 3.24 career ERA, 9+ K/9 career, injured most of last year
John Danks: 3.77 ERA 2009, 1.28 WHIP, pitched 200 innings last year, keeps getting better
Gavin Floyd: 4.06 ERA 2009, 1.23 WHIP, pitched 193 innings last year, 7.6 K/9 rate in 2009
Mark Buehrle: 3.84 ERA 2009, 1.25 WHIP, 200+ IP, he's a horse
Freddy Garcia: 4.08 career ERA, definitely the wild card of the bunch, but still a serviceable #5

Now, the Sox are an injury away from that rotation looking a lot worse, but just looking at it, you've got 4 guys who can easily go 200 innings each, all with respectable K rates and relatively low ERA/WHIPs. To me that says consistency, and over the course of a 162 game season, that's critical. It would not surprise me if the White Sox do not lose 5 straight all year.


One last thing Olney, don't ever include a rotation in your "Top 5" list when one of the pitchers is "someone else." Yes, the Cardinals have a good rotation, Wainwright and Carpenter could both have won the Cy Young Award last year, but the back end of that rotation is weak and, well, "someone else" usually isn't that good of a pitcher.

My personal Top 5 pitching rotations would be:

1) White Sox
2) Yankees
3) Boston
4) Mariners (King Felix, Lee, Bedard (if healthy), etc)
5) Phillies (Halladay, Hamels, Happ, Blanton, Moyer?)

1 comment:

  1. I know the Mariners will be good and all, but doesn't etc count the same as "Someone else?"