Blog Entry

Best pitching staff in the AL.

Posted on: April 6, 2009 2:50 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2009 1:56 am

So, after thinking about the Yankees pitching staff in my last blog, I wonder who in the American League has the best pitching staff.  Not starters or bullpen, but entire staff.  This is in my opinion the top six pitching staffs in the AL in no particular order.


Boston Red Sox:   With a rotation that includes Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lester, Wakefield, and Penny, you can't go wrong.  Yes, Wakefield still only throws 70 mph tops, but if the knuckleball is working, good luck.  Besides, if he can get you to the 6th inning and give it to a bullpen including Masterson, Okijima, Saito, and Delcarmen, you should get a win.  And with one of the best closers in baseball holding down the 9th, could be trouble.  Not to mention, when Smoltz comes back, it can't hurt you.


New York Yankees:   With the addition of C.C. and AJ, the Yankees rotation, in my opinion, didn't improve much, if any.  C.C. has a bad history against the AL East.  The extra run support should help, but how much?  AJ Burnett is a younger version of Mike Mussina so I don't see an improvement here, more of a lateral move.  Wang, who should still be the ace here, will get you 16+ wins, but hope the defense doesn't falter.  Pettitte will have another .500 season with a 4+ era.  Now the big question, Joba.  Will he be able to stay healthy?  Can he still be dominant once people have started seeing him more?  As far as the bullpen goes, outside Mariano, Damaso Marte, and possibly Brian Bruney, who is there to hold leads?  I guess it's a good thing the Yankees can score some runs.


Tampa Bay Rays:   With Kazmir, Shields, Garza, and Sonnanstine you get a very young staff that could be great for years to come.  With none of the main four being older than 28, and David Price waiting in the wings, the AL East could be in trouble.  On the other hand, the bullpen is a little shaky.  The combination of Percival, Wheeler, Balfour, and Howell is not that intimidating.  Maybe another year like last season will start making people believers.


Los Angeles Angels:   At this exact moment, no way.  But, let's keep in mind, they are without Lackey, Sanatna, and Escobar.  Add these three back to a rotation that includes Saunders and Weaver, that is strong.  The big problem here is the closer.  Unless Fuentes can rebound from a horrific spring (8.22 era), the Halos will be wishing they would have kept K-Rod around.


Cleveland Indians:   With Cliff Lee coming of a masterful year and a healthy Fausto Carmona, the Tribe can be considered.  Outside the addition of Kerry Wood though, there wasn't any improvement.


Minnesota Twins:   Outside of Liriano, there are no flashy names here.  Slowey and Perkins both put up solid numbers.  All they need to do is somehow figure a way to get it to the 9th inning and Joe Nathan.


There are the top six teams in my opinion in the AL.  There are alot of other teams that could try to make a case, but in the end, these teams rise to the top.  Hope you enjoyed the reading!






Category: MLB

Since: Apr 8, 2009
Posted on: April 25, 2009 3:09 am

Best pitching staff in the AL.

I agree that Boston has the best pitching staff, but I see Tampa Bay better than Yankees. Of course when the Angels will be healthy enough to play more than 2 games each ones will be better than Tampa.

Since: Apr 17, 2009
Posted on: April 17, 2009 11:04 pm

Best pitching staff in the AL.

I have to say I'm somewhat upset that you do not have the White Sox in your list.  There may not be very many believers in this staff, but they could go out and shock some people.  Lets start with the rotation.  Buerhle is a consistent pitcher who although lacks speed, can place his pitches almost anywhere and can chew up about 200 innings a year.  Gavin Floyd is a youngster with a wicked curve.  He has the potential to be a #1 starter some day for this club.  John Danks is the most electric lefty on the staff.  His speed is tricky and he was extremely effective in '08 helping the Sox clinch the division.  Next you have Jose Contreras who has had injury problems.  When healthy, he can utilize that sweeping forkball and really fool a lot of hitters.  The 5 starter for the staff is Bartolo Colon.  Bartolo doesn't have the stuff he used too back in his hayday but as you hear all over the media, he's become a real pitcher.  The bullpen is solid with guys like Matt Thorton, Scott Linebrink, and Bobby Jenks, along with strikeout king Octavio Dotel, and a yound stud in Clayton Richard.  With all these pitchers dealing in '09, it would be hard to pick against the pale hose this season (assuming the offense will still produce Smile).


Since: Jul 20, 2008
Posted on: April 16, 2009 7:03 pm

Best pitching staff in the AL.


 bo sox because of daisuke's eye for the corners and getting out of innings. Beckett is always pretty good. Wakefield can be deadly. Lester is a really good lefty. Brad penny could go to his old dodger form. its gotta be red sox



Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: April 16, 2009 1:48 pm

Best pitching staff in the AL.

Apologies Dankind, didn't mean to come across as knocking Burnett.  The Jays would be a better team with him, as there is no question he can be a dominating pitcher these days.  I believe being on the team with Halladay was a good experience for him, he is more consistent now.  My only concern with him is health...  he survived a full season last year but Jays fans had their fingers crossed the whole way.

Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: April 16, 2009 10:35 am

Best pitching staff in the AL.

JD on the Rocks:

Great post. Completley legit and the Jays are overlooked, maybe because they are Canadian... I won't gush over Marcum and McGowan just yet but the Jays do have great argument to be in the top 6 conversation. I think losing Burnett hurts a little but don't knock the guy, he was great last year for the Jays and has #1 stuff... Jays should def. be ranked ahead of Seattle KC and Cleveland et al.. I don't think they crack the top 3 though.. Still gotta give it to NY  BOS and Tampa on paper until the seaosn plays out a bit and we have results to proof this out more.. 

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: April 16, 2009 10:17 am

Best pitching staff in the AL.

Interesting that you guys are willing to allow for the injuries the Angels have and still include them in the discussion but not the Jays.  They only had the best staff in the AL last year.  Yeah, they lost Burnett - let's see how long he lasts this year before we call that truly a loss - but there were a lot of other good pitchers on the staff last year besides him. 

Halladay is simply one of the most consistent, dominant starters in the game.  If he was starting for New York or Boston you guys would be drooling all over the boards on this site.

Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan are both excellent young pitchers that suffered because of the poor offense last year.  They are both currently on DL but would make this a team in serious contention if healthy.  Marcum's out of the year but McGowan will be back mid-season.

The youth movement is looking good with the two lefties, David Purcey and Ricky Romero.  Purcey is solid but is subject to occasional outings where he still walks too many, but don't forget he struck out 11 Rays last August in a win.  The jury is still out on Romero but he's off to a great start, showing very good poise.  Jesse Litsch is equal or better to just about anyone's 4 or 5 starter, not flashy but consistent.  Unfortunately he is now on the DL as well.  Scott Richmond is a young righty that is looking very good to start the season as well.  And many forget that Casey Janssen was an excellent long reliever and spot starter for the Jays two seasons ago before injuring his shoulder.  He will be back soon to step in and contribute.

The bullpen was one of the best in baseball last year and they have the same crew back this year.  There will always be questions about Ryan but he generally gets the job done (and look at it this way, he gives Jays fans a lot of added excitement at the end of games) and there are many other great pitchers out there that can step in and get the job done when he doesn't.  That's what makes this group so solid, when someone is off their game one day they pick each other up.  You rarely see this team's pen get torched like many of the other teams mentioned in this blog.

A Jays staff with completely healthy starters would have to be considered with most of the other teams in this discussion, especially if you're already including teams like Seattle, Detroit, Cleveland, KC, and the White Sox.  Just my two cents.

Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: April 16, 2009 7:27 am

Best pitching staff in the AL.

I think you need to update some of your commets here... with Boston losing Dice-K the rotation is shakey and waiting for Smoltz is not exactly a point of leverage in this debate.. who knows what he'll be when he comes back. Bullpen is solid no doubt but they may get worked quite a bit without Dice-K. Lester doesn't look good and Penny is wild card too.

As for the Yanks, to claim that adding CC and Burnett is a net-wash from 2008 is nuts. CC is a horse with great stuff. Comparing Burnett to a young Mussina is actually a compliment... Moose was a top line starter in his prime. Burnett has learned to use his breaking pitches and isn't relying on gas to get through innings which is sure to help keep him healthy. Throw in Wang, Pettitte and Chamberlain and you have a 2nd half rotation that would fill the front end on any staff save for Beckett/DiceK in Beantown. Bullpen is a bit shakey here but Bruney is nice and Marte is solid. rivera is the  best ever so not too much to worry about.

I have to say long term though I like Tampa. Vastly improved bull pen over 2 years ago although they lack a "scary-good" closer like Rivera or Papelbon. Once Price arrives in June this is a great group... gone are the days of feasting on Casey Fossum for sure. Kazmir may be the class of the AL once again as he has his slider back and will work deeper into games. Potential to lead the league in K's for sure..

Rest of the AL is hardly worth mentioning unless LA gets really healthy but too many "if's" to really even care about them for now. Their 3 best pitchers all have serious pitching injuries that could plague them for a long time.. Escobar is a crap shoot and Lackey and Santana need to stretched out again... I dont see them being relevant until early June at best.

I'd give an honroable mention to Seattle though. If King Felix is really this good and Bedard returns to form their are as good a 1-2 combo as anyone in my opinion. Also, don't write off the Royals...week pen save for Soria but Grienke, Meche and Davies are better than you think..



Since: Mar 20, 2009
Posted on: April 15, 2009 12:24 am

Best pitching staff in the AL.

I'd have to say Yankees, Angels, Red Sox, Minnesota and Tampa Bay for the top five.



Since: Sep 25, 2008
Posted on: April 14, 2009 12:15 pm

Best pitching staff in the AL.

The White Sox did abuse their staff on Monday.  Hopefully we don't have too many games where Floyd walks 7.  One problem with the Sox is the bullpen isn't deep.  I'm not confident in MacDougal or Carrasco stepping into any setup role if Dotel, Linebrink, or Jenks go down.  And if Thornton goes down, they better look for a trade.  Because Clayton Richard can't be our lefty setup man. 

Since: Aug 28, 2008
Posted on: April 14, 2009 10:21 am

Best pitching staff in the AL.

 Pistons Fan,

With all due respect, what are you smoking?

The Tigers staff is neither young nor good. Verlander is 26, Robertson is 31, Bonderman is 26, Rodney is 32, "young" Eddie Bonine is 28, Miner is 27, Seay is 31. Porcello is young (20), Perry is 22 and Ed Jackson is 25. That is it for youth. The Tigers also added Juan Rincon (30) and Brandon Lyon (29). This is not a young staff. On top of not being young, they are terrible.  Verlander was 11-17 with a 4.84 era and a 1.4 whip. Nate Robertson was 7-11 with a 6.35 era and a 1.66 whip. Bonderman has a 4.3 era and a 1.56 whip. Rodney's era was just under 5 with a whip of 1.6. Bonine's era was 5.4 and his whip was 1.54. Miner put up an era of 4.27 to go with a 1.39 whip. Seay's era of 4.47 and whip of 1.49 were terrible for the league but average for his team. For you to say anything about D Willis makes me question your sanity. An era of over 9 and a  whip of well north of 2 is scary.

Adding Ed Jackson was a good move. He is pretty young and a pretty good pitcher. Galarraga is also a pretty good pitcher. That is all the Tigers have. Their bullpen is bottom 3 in the AL. They have the worst pitching staff in the division--hands down. Enjoy the view from the bottom of the AL Central standings. You can thank your pitching staff for landing you there (again).


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