Blog Entry

Top rotations in the AL..

Posted on: February 7, 2010 2:00 pm
Best Rotation 1-3: 
The prohibitive favorites:
Boston Red Sox: The Sox top three pitchers are Jon Lester, Lackey and Beckett. At this point, Lester still has room to develope, but we pretty much know what you're going to get from Lackey and Beckett. Lackey will "workhorse" his way through a solid 200 innings with an ERA between 3.50 and 3.75. You could also reasonably expect him to need a month or two to adjust to the quality of hitters in the AL East, which is effectively on another league when compared to the rest of the AL. Beckett will provide pretty much the same stats, though there is the chance he gets a little magic together and drops his ERA into the 3.25 range, and there is a chance he could jump above 4.00, it's how he is. Lester is the Sox best pitcher, and he could still get a little better. He has seen a marked improvement in his SO/BB ratio over the past few seasons, which is a good sign of things to come.
Seattle Mariners: With the resigning of Eric Bedard, the Mariners top three are Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez and Eric Bedard, Since his first full season, Hernandez has improved each year, to the point where he was the second best pitcher in the league last year. And he's 23. Barring his arm falling off, he goes into the season as one of the top 5 pitchers in the league, though he could easily finish as the best. Hernandez has pitched 800 innings already in his major league career, so there is a chance that he might eventually regret that, but for the time being, there shouldn't be much need to worry. Cliff Lee is coming off his second consecutive CY Young caliber season, and pitched great for the Mariners in the post-season last year, but he is getting older. I still don't have complete faith in him because he's had some awful seasons in his career to go along with the brilliant and in some cases historic years. But he does enter the season as one of the top 5-10 pitchers in the league at the least. My biggest hit on him has always been he just doesn't have "it". In the World Series, you want your best pitcher on the mound as often as possible, and you want your best pitcher to want to be on the mound. C.C. Sabathia wanted it, and was set up to pitch games 1-4-7 should it get that far, he'd have none of any other option. Lee was content to pitch just two games. That makes a big difference to me. Bedard is a tough call because healthy he is equal or better than any pitcher the Sox have, but his healthy is an issue. And he's already going to miss the first month of the season. That said, he had his best season against the dogs of the AL East. Should he remain healthy in the west, expect dominance.
New York Yankees: The Yankees top 3 is a bit up in the air right now. At the moment, it looks like C.C Sabathia, Javier Vazquez and A.J. Burnett, but the Yankees have options behind them that no other team does. Hughes or Chamberlain could easily break into that trifecta. That said, the Yankees top 3 definitely looks like it ranks a little behind the Mariners. C.C is one of the top 5 pitchers in the league, and quite possibly number one. He's been that consistent, and with a year to get acclimated to New York, could get better. Of note is the lessening of the quality of hitters in the AL East this upcoming season. The Yankees lineup will be as dangerous as ever, but the rest of the division has experienced a marked decline. Boston lost Manny a few years ago, and just lost Bay. Ortiz has declined. Victor Martinez just isn't as dangerous as either of those three were. Pedroia doesn't scare anyone, his MVP was undeserved, just another MVP robbed from Joe Mauer. From the standpoint of a Yankee fan, the Sox don't scare me anymore. Javier Vazquez will not be as good this season as he was last season. Let's just get that out of the way now. I really don't know what to think of him right now, but he will win games, and most likely pitch above average, that's more than good enough with the Yankees batting order. Burnett is feast or famine. But he's been fighting in the AL East for a while now, so he has the stuff, his mental game just isn't as good.
Best top 3: Mariners
Best Pitching Staff (1-5)
Seattle Mariners: They enter the season as the favorite because of they led the league in ERA last season...and then added Cliff Lee. But the problem for them is the drop off after the top 3, it's precipitous. Ian Snell is the only other pitcher besides Hernandez who pitched more than 20 games for the Mariners last year, and they weren't pretty. Jason Vargas will presumably be the Mariners 5th starter. Both Vargas and Snell can be expected to pitch below league average, with ERAs close to 5.00. The Mariners main issue is that games pitched by starters 4 and 5 count just as much as games pitched by 1-2.
Boston Red Sox: Behind Lackey, Lester and Beckett, the Sox have No-hit Clay Bucholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Bucholz is still 25, so he will improve upon his slightly above-league average performance of 2009. But don't expect Daisuke to bounce back to the years he had an ERA below 3.00, the writing has been on the wall for his 2009 performance since he got here, and it wasn't all injuries. He walks an appalling number of batters, yet it's gone unnoticed because it's been masked by his good luck. The **** hit the fan in 2009. Tim Wakefield is also still there to provide his consistent league average innings eating performance. A veteran pitcher that will undoubtedly be needed to stabilize the back end of the rotation.
New York Yankees: After their top 3, the Yankees have Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Chad Gaudin as options.  Chamberlain has yet to gain control of his often overpowering stuff, as shown by his 75 walks in just over 150 innings last season.I fully expect Phil Hughes to beat him out for a rotation spot this spring. Hughes pitched quite well as Rivera's set-up man last season, but that is a spot more suited to Joba time anyway. Pettitte at this point is an innings eater that pitches slightly above average baseball. Out of all the teams in the AL, the Yankees have the most potential in the back end of the rotation, mostly due to Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes.
Best Pitching Staff: Yankees. The Mariners are going to have a lot of trouble winning games with Vargas and Snell in the back end of the rotation. The Red Sox have health issues in the back end of the rotation, with Daisuke Matsuzaka, but still expect to have no pitcher worse than league average, unlike the Mariners. The Yankees don't have any injury concerns in the back end rotation and have two of the most hyped young pitching prospects in recent years. They'll have the best rotation 1-5 in the league because of that. They also will have no pitcher worse than league average.
Category: MLB

Since: Feb 13, 2010
Posted on: February 13, 2010 3:09 am

Top rotations in the AL..

I am a Seattle Mariners Fan! I bet you all think who I'm going with-----NOT

1. Boston Red Sox     #1 Josh Beckett  #2 John Lackey  #3 John Lester  #4 Daisuke Matsuzaka

2. Seattle Mariners     #1 Felix Hernandez  #2 Cliff Lee  #3 Erik Bedard  #4 Jarrod Washburn

3. New York Yankees     #1 C.C. Sabathia  #2 Javier Vazquez  #3 A.J. Burnett  #4 Andy Pettitte

4. Chicago White Sox     #1 Jake Peavy  #2 John Danks  #3 Gavin Floyd  #4 Mark Buehrle

Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2010 9:33 pm

Top rotations in the AL..

Joe, I feel like you ignored everything I said about Matsuzaka. At this point, he's an injury risk that hasn't pitched much in over a year. He will bomb this season if he does not lower his walk rate. Can you honestly say he'll have a good year if he maintains his 5.0 BB/9IP this year. My feelings on the Red Sox is that they have three good, maybe almost great pitchers, but no true Ace. Lester could be that guy as soon as this year, but as I said, I go entirely on what I know. The reason I ranked the Yankees above them is because of C.C. Sabathia, because it's the ace that matters most. What makes him so great is how often he goes deep into games. Besides his good ERA. That's also why I rank the Mariners first for 1-3, even discounting bedard, they have Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee as a one two punch. On the strength of those two alone, they top the ranking of 1-3. Jake Peavy is not as good as either of them, he's in the AL now, you have to remember. I too believe that Mark Beuhrle is perennialy underated, but his main value lies in durability and inning eating. He doesn't scare you. I agree with you on Gavin Floyd, he has shown flashes of brilliance at times, but I take proven over potential any day. Let me ask you something. If Bedard stays healthy all season, is there any question that the Mariners have the best rotation 1-3 in baseball? As for the Angels, that group is filled with people coming off of injuries, a guy who posted a 5.00 ERA and a pitcher leaving the magic of Dave Duncan and coming to the AL. You have to admit, there is not a single pitcher on the Angels who scares you like Sabathia, Lee, Hernandez, Verlander and Halladay. They have no true Ace. And it breaks my heart, but Wang won't be a Yankee anymore. And that I think, is a huge mistake. If he can get back to who he was before his surgery, then he will be the biggest bargain in years for whatever team gets him. In all truth, I'd say that the Yankees and Red Sox rotations are pretty equal. Which of course, is why the Yankees will win the division. Because equal won't cut it for the Sox. The Yankees have the superior lineup. Far superior considering that the Red Sox lost Bay. Who's their biggest threat now, aging Ortiz and Victor Martinez? The Yankees have know who they have. And as a preview, I'm going to be doing an article on how I think Robinson Cano will have an MVP on his shelf sooner than later (Just go look a his stats from last year, and remember that he hit 7th in the lineup).

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: February 11, 2010 1:34 pm

Top rotations in the AL..

Thanks for taking the time to post this.  Love the kudos the Mariners are getting on this blog, however, I completely disagree with putting them anywhere near the top of the AL for 1-5 rotation and they shouldn't be in the top 3 in the AL for 1-3, when right now their #3 is Ryan Rowland-Smith, who would be their number 4 when/if Erik Bedard makes it back to the rotation.

Top 1-3 Pitching Staffs:

#1.  Boston Red Sox - There shouldn't even be a dispute on this.  Josh Beckett isn't even the best of the three.  It's Jon Lester and he's a tremendous talent that just keeps improving with age.  Add John Lackey to the mix and you have the best 1,2,3 in the American League.

#2.  New York Yankees - Again this is pretty cut and dry.  C.C. Sabathia is the man, Javier Vazquez will have to adjust to the American League, but should be lights out, A.J. Burnett is A.J. Burnett, if he can stay healthy for a 3rd consecutive year, then this will be the 2nd best 1, 2, 3 in the league.

#3.  Chicago White Sox - The most overlooked team in league history perhaps, when it comes to pitching prowess.  Jake Peavy headlines this group, followed by the always consistent Mark Buehrle, and then finalized by the up and coming Gavin Floyd.  This 1,2,3 punch is pretty fantastic.

When you draw it out to 1-5 it changes a little:

#1.  Boston Red Sox - Add Daisuke and Clay Buckholz to the mix and you have one of the most talented 5 man staffs in the history of the league.

#2.  Anaheim Angels - Jered Weaver, Scott Kazmir, Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders, and Joel Pineiro...  That's a pretty tough 5 man rotation.  All 5 of them have at one point in the last three years won at least 13 games, and all but Kazmir have won at least 15 games in a season.  They have all had their best season of their career in the last three years as well.  This could be the best rotation in the league.

#3.  New York Yankees - After their big three, you have Andy Petitte, Joba Chamberlain, Ching-Ming Wang, etc.  All have had varying degrees of success over their careers (shortened for Joba).  I just can't see any other team cracking this group.

Honorable Mentions:  Texas Rangers appear to building a pretty dynamite rotation, especially when Matt Harrison and Neftali Perez crack the rotation for good.  Seattle Mariners, if they can get any productivity out of 3-5, then this rotation will be fantastic (FYI, their low ERA last year was in large part to their fantastic bullpen).

Since: Dec 14, 2009
Posted on: February 10, 2010 6:51 pm

Top rotations in the AL..

Yeah, we can ignore the other guy, that was just biased garbage.  I agree that what the Yanks did with Joba effected him to a degree. But in August Joba threw 90+ pitches in all of his starts but the last. And he pitched horribly giving up 19 earned runs in 21 innings up until that last start.  It could have just been a horrible stretch of starts, but more likely it was the innings catching up to him.  That leads me to believe that he was slwoing down before the Yanks started screwing with his innings. My point is that if in the last couple months theres a tight race for the division title, its safe to assume Joba will slow down as he will probably be setting career highs in innings.  Whereas Buchholz was at his most effective in the final couple months, when the Sox were in a race with Texas for the wild card.  When the Yanks first pulled Joba from a game early (after 35 pitches) his ERA was at 4.34 up until that point.  His stamina should improve this year, but I expect him to slow down in September.  I think comparings Lackey's transition to Burnett's is a stretch.  Lackey is moving into a much tougher division and that will hurt him but Burnett stayed in the same division and his move meant that he wouldn't have to face the Yankees line-up 4 or 5 times a year.  The fact that Burnett's ERA basically stayed the same leads me to believe it will continue to hover around that 4.00 mark.  Also, from what I watched of him last year it seemed like he wasn't throwing as hard as he used too. It was only a few MPH less, but for hitters that have faced him before that's a big difference.  While it is acceptable to guess that his ERA could go back down to 3.80 I think it's more probably that it will stay around 4.00.  With CC while a return of his ERA to around 3.20 is acceptable, the years where he consistently pitched around that mark didn't involve him facing line-ups like the Sox and Rays 4-5 times each year.  I think that a return to around there for CC is more likely then Burnett's ERA returning to 3.80.  I agree with you on Vazquez.  He's hard to predict but I believe he will do much much better then his AL career numbers suggest.  But at the same time he won't reproduce last years numbers.  I think and ERA in the high 3's, around 3.80, is an acceptable guess. I think we can both agree that the Sox and Yanks rotations make up the top 2 in baseball.  Which one is better is something we can go back and forth about for ahwhile. This year is going to be fun to watch, we'll just have to wait and see.

Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: February 10, 2010 5:38 pm

Top rotations in the AL..

I am going to ignore the other poster who entered our discussion because he didn't provide anything of value to the argument, just bias. And I apologize for my mistake with Beckett's ERA, you are correct. I did the math wrong, I did a straight division of runs by innings, which doesn't work because it's base 10, not base 9. And I don't think you understood my point with Chamberlain. I thought we agreed that for the most part, once the Yankees started messing the Chamberlain's innings from mid-august one, it became impossible to use them as a measure of his upcoming performance. That said, before the Yankees messed with his innings, he had an ERA of 3.80. I doubt any young pitcher would have reacted well to what the Yankees did with Chamberlain, it was stupid. And yes, Burnett did have an ERA over 4.00 the last two seasons. But is it reasonable to say that last season was an adjustment year, just like this year will be for Lackey. So a slight drop to 3.80 is acceptable to guess at. After all, everything we are doing here is guesses. Everyone knows Burnett has the stuff, it's whether he uses it effectively. We'll see this year. As for C.C Sabathia. You point to his bad ERA in the AL in 2008. That was due to an uncharicteristicly awful april, where he gave up 28 of the 76 runs he gave up all year. That won't be repeated. Thus, a return to the 3.20 ERA for the two years previous is quite acceptable. And remember what I said about last season, he had a 3.21 ERA until the very last start of the season. As for Vazquez, his last season makes it really hard to judge him. But his peripheral stats point to him being able to duplicate his success in the AL pretty easily.

Since: Dec 14, 2009
Posted on: February 10, 2010 1:32 pm

Top rotations in the AL..

First off, Daisuke was hurt all last year, and that no doubt had an effect on his walk rate.  And as far as 07 and 08 go, you mention the number of walks, but you fail to talk about the number of innings he pitched. In 07 he had 80 walks over 204.2 innings for a walk rate of 3.5 per 9 inn. Thats less then Burnett's over the last 3 years. His low ERA in 07 was partly luck, but you can contribute some of it to the Sox defense then too.  Now to Buchholz and Chamberlain. I thought I already went over this, but I in no way have to attribute the effects of innings on Chamberlain to Buchholz.  It's a fact that Buchholz pitched 191 innings between the minors and the majors last year.  And he was his strongest down the stretch going 4-1 with a 2.87 ERA in September and October.  If you think that all those innings hurt him torwards the end, then I can't wait to see him at the start of this year. Joba couldn't last through August. So now how do I have to attribute the effects of innings on Chamberlain to Buchholz when Joba couldn't last until September let alone pitch effectively in September and October?  Next, your being inconsistent in your arguements.  You won't talk about the last two years where Burnett had an ERA over 4.00 and instead point to his Career ERA.  But then you With CC you don't talk about his career ERA which is at 3.62 (3.77 in the AL) but instead point to his ERA over the last few years.  You fail to account for the fact that he is now pitching half his games in Yankee Stadium and is now in the toughest division in baseball.  I also am amused by your comment that in 08 CC's AL ERA was slightly higher then his NL ERA. His AL ERA was over 2 runs higher (3.83 to 1.65) so you can attribute that low ERA to his pitching in the NL.  Therefore, I think his ERA will stay right around where is was last year: 3.30-3.40.  Considering his Career ERA is at 3.62, which includes includes an other-worldy half season in the NL and years where he pitched in a fairly weak division, it seems more reasonable.  With Burnett, you could say that his ERA has been effected by his lack of innings pitched.  They haven't taken a toll on him as he's always been hurt. He's coming off the only back to back 30 start seasons in his career, both of which have had an ERA over 4.00, so you have to wonder how that will effect him. While his other 2 30+ start seasons resulted in a lower ERA, you have to account for the fact that he didn't pitch a full season either time in the year prior either time and he was pitching in the NL. Now that he has all those innings, he's pitching in the toughest division in baseball, and he's pitching half his games in Yankee Stadium, I see his ERA staying over 4.00, like it has been the last few years.  Bow with VAzquez I agree that it won't jump up to 4.50.  But I think that an ERA of 3.90-4.00 is more reasonable.  And since you pointed out Becketts AL ERA, I have to say that your wrong. His AL ERA is 4.05, but that's besides the point.  I can defianately see his ERA going down to around 3.50.

Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: February 10, 2010 12:45 pm

Top rotations in the AL..

You are a Yankee fan?  What a surprise.

First, if you think Burnett stays healthy all year, guess again.  He is an injury machine and likes to coast out midseason on the IR.

Joba will never be a quality starter as he is not equpped mentally or emotionally.  Must be the crack.  His fastball is just that - fast.  It is also flat so if hitters ever get timing on him Joba ends up with whiplash watching balls leave the park.  Then he gets upset and throws his glove on the ground and walks the next three batters.

Petite is another year older and will eat some innings but without steroids to bounce back from injuries he will start getting lit up this year and lose games.  He is solid and wily as a veteran but is declining every day as he ages.

Hughes is as streaky as Burnett and will probably never be a quality starter.

So you have what Yankess always have - a very high paid superstar pitcher and a whoole pen of question marks.  Vazquez is another question mark and how did he do first time through NY?  An ERA approaching 5 and now he has to hit against a DH and the Al East hitting after doing great in the NL Least?

Good luck with that one.

Yankees bought a lot of big bats and one big arm.  Same old Yankess and because they outspend most teams 3 to 1 they are a top team.

Kinda pathetic.

Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: February 10, 2010 11:31 am

Top rotations in the AL..

You said it was unfair to use Daisuke's worst year for walks. Well, that's the point. He walked 96 batters and somehow ended up with a ERA of 2.90. That's not going to happen again. And you mention fairness, he also walked 80 batters in 2007. And a heads up, yes his walk rate was lower in 2009, it was 4.6. A walk rate of 4.6 over 200 innings is a whopping 102 walks. Even if it goes down to 3.5, that's still 80 walks a season. You base to much of your prediction for Daisuke on assumptions, I go with facts. Which brings me to what you said about Burnett and Beckett. Burnett's career ERA is 3.84. Therefor it is not unreasonable to predict that he will have the same ERA this season. It's true that he could go higher, but he could also drop his ERA. As for Beckett, again, I'm going by career averages(His career ERA is 3.79). He certainly could perform better in a contract year, many players do, but when I make predictions, I always go by what I know. And since you brought up AL ERAs with Vazquez, allow me to point out that Beckett's career AL ERA is 4.49. So I am actually being rather generous with my prediction I think. I will admit that my prediction for Vazquez might be a stretch, since he's in the AL again. But how much do you expect his ERA to jump. It was 2.87 last year, you can't say that's it's going to jump a run and a halfto 4.50, that's illogical. Vazquez has always had a strong K/BB ratio. If you want my opinion, I think his ERA will depend entirely on his home run rate. He set a career low last season, considering the new Yankee Stadium, I'm not sure he can keep it that low again. Now on to Pettitte. He had an abnormally high walk rate last season for him. Sure he's getting older, but that would most likely not rob him of his control, just velocity. So it is reasonable to expect his walk rate to drop down to his career average of 2.8. All his other peripheries were right in line with his career averages. Thus a slight drop in ERA is not much of a stretch. I acknowledge that part of Chamberlain's decline late last season was due to innings. The same argument you used for Bucholz applies here. Chamberlain pitched 157 innings at the Major League level, and Cashman has said the kid gloves are off for him next season. So if you can expect an ERA of 3.80-3.90 from Bucholz, then we can reasonably expect the same from Chamberlain. In fact, my prediction of a 4.25 ERA for Bucholz/Wakefield assumed that is the ERA he would have. Wakefield had an ERA of 4.50 last season, average that with the ERA Bucholz will have and I see an ERA of roughly 4.25 for that rotation spot. Now back to Chamberlain. Any assumption you make about innings for Bucholz, you must apply to chamberlain, otherwise you'll enter the territory of hypocrisy. I think an ERA of 3.80-3.90 is a reasonable guess for both of them. And I think we both agree that they could both do better than that. We don't know for sure. That's why I always base my predictions on what we know. We know Beckett, Burnett and Lackey all have career ERAs around 3.80, thus we will assume they will duplicate that again, accepting the fact that any of the three could do better or worse than that. We will assume an ERA of 3.20 for Lester, accepting the fact that he could do better. We will also accept that he could do worse because of this. His innings for the past 2 seasons are 230 and 210. Those are a lot for a young arm, there is the chance for slight regression. This year is when we will know if he will become a true ace, because a true ace will skip the regression year. As for C.C Sabathia. His ERAs in 2006 and 2007 were 3.21 and 3.22 in the American League. His average ERA in 2008 was 2.70, though his ERA was slightly high for the AL portion of that, it can be tossed aside considering his track record and because there are documented reasons for his higher AL ERA. So I don't think it is unreasonable to expect an ERA of 3.20 for Sabathia. In fact, his ERA was 3.21 before his final start of the 2009 season. In fact, if you take out Sabthia's first and last starts of the season, his ERA was 2.89. There is plenty of proof that he will have an ERA of 3.20 or lower.

Since: Dec 14, 2009
Posted on: February 9, 2010 7:24 pm

Top rotations in the AL..

First off, you don't think the fact that Josh Beckett is in a contract year will give a boost to hit stats?  Money is a players biggest motivator and this year he doesn't have all the extra innings from pitching a lot in october.  It was only a couple years ago that his that his ERA was 3.21 and while I know if it will be quite that low, I think a 3.50 ERA is reasonable. I agree that Lackey's ERA will go up slightly, probably to around 3.90, but he will still eat up innings.  I think of Lester as our ace. The fact that he had an ERA of around 2.85 after the first 2 months lead me to believe that his ERA will be closer to 3.00.  His strikeout rate is also insane, which will help him get out of some tight situations should he find himself in them.  With Dice-K you base his walk rate off of the year in which he set a career worst.  I think that's a bit unfair, no?  I believe that is will go back to around 3.5 per 9 inn if not lower.  All signs point to it.  First of all, he was injured from day 1 last year and still posted a walk rate lower then 08.  Also, his walk rate in Japan was phenomenal. I realize that there are different hitters there, but the plate is still the same size. Not sure how lenient umps are there compared to here, but you get the point.  His walk rate will most likely go down.  Because of that and the fact that he is the number 4 starter, so there isn't too much pressure on him, I think his ERA will go down to the mid to high 3's.  If I had to guess I'd say around 3.80.  Then with the 5th starter, if Wake gets the job I agree he'll have an ERA around there.  But if Buchholz gets it, which I think is more likely, it will be different.  First of all, he had an ERA lower then that this year and I don't see him regressing.  He went 4-1 with a 2.87 ERA in sept and oct last year, leading me to believe he can get an ERA around 3.80-3.90 this year.  Also the fact that he pitched 191 innings between the minors and majors last year tells me that innings wont be a problem. Now to the Yanks.  I think CC's ERA will stay right around where it was last year, meaning 3.30-3.40. The fact that he's in the toughest division in baseball and that he's pitching half his games in Yankee stadium lead me to believe that it won't go down.  How the hell is Burnett's ERA going to go down?  He's had an ERA over 4.00 the past two seasons and for the same reasons as CC I can't see it going lower.  Are you aware of Vazquez's career AL ERA? If not, It's 4.52. His career ERA as a whole is 4.19. Vazquez had a career year last year and other than that year he's had an ERA under 3.70 only twice.  Both times coming in the AL.  While I believe he will be able to maintain a similar strikeout rate, if anything slightly lower due to the DH, and pitch over 200 innings I can't see his ERA being 3.50.  It will most likely be over 4.00 again.  Pettite is in the twilight of his career and hasn't had an ERA at or below 4.00 in the last 4 years. I don't see him accomplishing that feat. an ERA around 4.20 is more plausible.  You claim that Joba's ERA going up sharply was due to the inning plan the yanks implemented.  But I could just as easily say it was due to the fact that he was pitching more innings than he ever had before and it was catching up to him.  However your right that we can't properly gauge what he will do this season based on that. Although I think its safe to assume he will slow down down the stretch.  And then if you think Hughes will improve greatly based on how he did then I'll just point to Joba.  Hughes hasn't thrown the innings in the past few years that will lead me to believe that he will be effective over a full season.  I can see the Yanks rotating Hughes, Joba, and Gaudin in and out of the 5th starters spot, which I think will mess them up to a degree due to the lack of consistency in their role.  As in one day having to pitch 1 or two innings and a couple days later having to go out and pitch 5-7.  Thus, the advatage goes to the Sox.

Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2010 12:40 pm

Top rotations in the AL..

You are correct in saying the Burnett and Joba also walk a lot of batters. I did not mention it for the following reasons. In Burnett's case, his ERA is already effected by his walks. He usually posts an ERA around 4.00 because he walks a lot of people, and can be prone to the long ball. The reason I mentioned the walks about Daisuke is because his ERA was not affected by the walks, he has been lucky. In 2008, when both pitchers were healthy, they had the same WHIP, yet Daisuke had an ERA a full run lower. In 2008, Daisuke had a walk rate of 5.0/9 innings and a hit rate of 6.9, Burnett was 3.5 and 81. For the record, 8.1 isn't that bad, C.C's was 7.7 in 2009. Here's the thing, Daisuke walked 16 more batters in 60 fewer innings in 2008. As for Home Run rates, in 2008, Burnett had a Home Run rate of .8/9 innings, and Daisuke was .6/9 innings. Both of those Home Run rates are above average. You looked at Burnett's 2009 Hr rate I assume, which was negatively effected by the Yankees home ballpark. The .8 from 2008 is more in line with Burnett's career averages. Something of note in regards to Daisuke's 2008 season is that despite the fact that he had an ERA of 2.90, less than half of his starts were quality starts, so he doesn't always put his team in position to win. Burnett's career quality start percentage is 61%. Something else of not is that 40% of Daisuke's career wins in the MLB were "cheap wins", wins when he did not post a quality start, Only 20% of Burnett's wins have been Cheap wins. Daisuke in essence, has been the beneficiary of tremendous luck his entire major league career. Over their careers, they have the same strikeout rate, Burnett has had a lower walk rate and a lower hit rate. So any predictions should expect that Burnett would outperform Daisuke in an equal setting. You see, I like to go by what I know. You assume that Beckett will have a good year because it's a contract year, I never assume. I expect he'll post stats exactly as he has been, which means a 3.80 ERA, which is surprisingly very close to Burnett's 3.84 career ERA. John Lackey, incidentally, has an ERA of 3.81. Lester, I expect will improve next season. I think we can reasonably expect an ERA in the 3.20 range. He will undoubtedly be hurt by having to face the Yankees 4-5 times. And whether we agree on which pitching staff is better, we both know the Yankees batting lineup is better. But if we are expecting improvement from Lester, who is 25, then we must also expect improvement from Chamberlain and Hughes. Chamberlain's hit rate spiked measurably and so did his walk rate. In all honesty, we cannot properly use Chamberlain's 2009 season as any gage for his performance in 2010 because of how much his pitching schedule was messed with. I expect significant improvement from Hughes in 2010, mostly due to his growth over last season as the Yanks go to 8th inning guy. Innings will again be an issue however, So I expect that should Hughes win the starting spot out of the gate, he will occasionally share starts with Chad Gaudin. Both Hughes and Chamberlain of occasionally flashed signs of brilliance, we'll have to wait and see if they can bring it all together. Lastly, I have yet to touch upon Javier Vazquez. His strikeout rate spiked, and his hit rate, walk rate and home run rate went down. Vazquez can maintain the strikeout rate, we all know that, but I expect he'll take a hit in the home run rate. Walk rates are stadium neutral, so that should only rise up to his career average of 2.3, which is quite good anyway. His hit rate will stay low because, though the new Yankee Stadium is a home run park, it has so far measured out as a below average hitters park, rating at 97 (100 being the average). Incidentally, Fenway grades out a 107 for hitting. Keeping all this in mind, this is the ERAs I expect from each rotation spot for both teams:
Red Sox:
  1. Beckett 3.80
  2. Lackey  3.90-4.00 Remember the stronger lineups in the east. He'll feel the effects this season and go back to normal next season.
  3. Lester 3.20 I expect that win wise, he will benefit from facing the number 3 starters of other teams.
  4. Daisuke Matsuzaka 4.25 He can't always be lucky. He had a Babip (batting average on balls in play of .211, which is a solid .8 points below the norm, in 2008)
  5. Wakefield/Bucholz 4.25 ERA You know what you get with Wake.
  1. C.C Sabathia 3.20
  2. A.J Burnett 3.80
  3. Javier Vazquez 3.50 None of his peripheries lead to a sharp increase in ERA, his Babip was average, and he had good supplemental stats.I
    raise his ERA to 3.5 because of the league change, but the lineups outside the Yankees aren't as strong this season in the East as they normally are. The lineups of the Sox and Rays are probably the equals of the Phillies.
  4. Andy Pettitte 4.00 I expect his ERA to drop slightly due to his walk rate leveling out.
  5. Phil Hughes: 4.00 or Chamberlain 3.80-3.90 His ERA only spiked as high as it did when the Yankees started using him in that absurd 3 inning game plan in August, he maintained an ERA in the 3.80-3.90 through August 16th, after which he had 6 straight starts when the Yankees took him out in the 3-4th inning to lower his inning total.
Thus, the advantage goes to the Yankees.

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