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The five best rotations in baseball?

Feb 9, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT

Buster Olney names what he thinks fits that bill anyway.  His list, in order: Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox, Angels, Cardinals.  He has the Phillies at 5a.

Yes, I’m a fanboy, but shouldn’t the Braves crack the top five? Olney has them “in the conversation” and said he would have ranked them third if they hadn’t traded Javier Vazquez.

Call me crazy, but while Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami aren’t going to lift the Braves to the playoffs all by themselves, that’s a solid, solid group. Top five in my mind anyway. I don’t know, maybe Olney is docking them because Hudson is coming off an injury, but he’s not docking Peavy and the White Sox, so who knows?

If I had to guess I’d say that this is just the latest example of the near criminal over-rating of Javier Vazquez we’ve seen ever since the trade went down (I think it was meant to offset the criminal underrating he received during the season).  Yes, the dude had an outstanding year — easily his best season — but would you be comfortable betting on him doing that well again? The Braves may not have gotten what they should have got for him, but that doesn’t change the fact that they were at least trying to sell high.

Oh well. Just throw it on the pile of things we can argue about until people start throwing pitches in anger.

  1. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Feb 9, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    Remember though that the Yanks aren’t counting on Vazquez to be a #1/#2, he’s slotting into the 4th spot of their rotation, pushing Chamberlain (not Hughes) into the 5th spot. How many other teams have a #4 starter who averages 200+IP a year with around a K/IP?
    I also hope no one here makes the comment that some are making on espn regarding the Giants should be #1 since they lead the league in CG/K/WHIP/BAA with no mention that they play in the worst offensive division as well. OPS for the NL W was 30/29/19/11 compared to the AL E which went 1/2/5/8/16.

  2. BC - Feb 9, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    What, no Mets on the list?

  3. BCTF - Feb 9, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    Maybe the OPS was so bad in the NL west because they had to face the Giants so many times?

  4. Old Gator - Feb 9, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    I agree, that’s a solid rotation – the kind that gives you a bunch of 14-16 game winners if the infield and the bullpen do their jobs right and you don’t send a lot of rotator cuffs back to the facotry. They’ll feast on the Feesh and the Gnats. But they’re still going to be horsemeat and velveeta sandwiches once the season gets started and they grind their way through those 18 games with the Feelies.
    Okay, it’s been about an hour since a monk parakeet dropped from a low hanging branch of the mulberry tree, so I guess it’s safe to let Belushi back in the house now. I gotta get to the airport and pray that snowstorm Nicole Mitchell warned me about last night (oh yeah, Craig, she’s that devastatingly and uniquely beautiful exquisitely dressed ten-plus blonde ex-Air Force meteorologist who used to fly hurricane hunters on the Weather Channel graveyard shift – Drew Barrymore. Sigh. We need to educate you: ) hasn’t set in before we touch down at ABQ. After that, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Check in later tonight. Keep ’em flying.

  5. Charles Gates - Feb 9, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    Then again, Vazquez can’t pitch under pressure, like World Series games, so you have to call his character into question.

  6. Chaz - Feb 9, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Uh, Giants? They had the second-lowest team ERA in baseball last year. Lincecum is the best pitcher on earth, and Cain would be the No. 1 ace on most teams. Jonathan Sanchez had fine numbers for a no. 3 starter, and Zito, deservedly much maligned for his outrageously stupid contract, is a fine no. 4. I’ll take that over the White Sox or Angels, any day.

  7. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Feb 9, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    Then again, Vazquez can’t pitch under pressure, like World Series games, so you have to call his character into question.

    He’s also never pitched in a World Series game. So I guess that’s a knock against him. However, he only has 15IP in the entire postseason, so are we really going to hang our hats on that small sample size?

  8. Holla(r) - Feb 9, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Ah, the quality baseball insight I miss out on by not having Insider. *sigh*

  9. ecp - Feb 9, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    I wouldn’t. Overall, from top to bottom, the White Sox outdo the Giants.
    No offense, Craig, but I’d be on Vasquez maintaining before I’d bet on Lowe. But in your defense, I’d give you Hudson and not Kawakami; I think that’s a better group.
    I have no clue why Olney includes the Yankees when their fifth starter is by no means decided. He lists Hughes, but I wouldn’t bet on it. But then again, I wouldn’t even do one of these lists until around Opening Day because things could change so much.

  10. nelson - Feb 9, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    game 7. johnny damon.

  11. J. McCann - Feb 9, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    That is a very good rotation for the National Minor League, but most of them would get slaughtered facing AL lineups every day.

  12. Snuffy - Feb 9, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    SF Giants…..Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, Bumgarner… all washed up?

  13. Jonny5 - Feb 9, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    OK, Huge Phills fan here, but they aren’t #5A Jamie Moyer at 47 and Jose Contreras fighting for 5th spot. Happ was awesome last season but he was a rookie, we’ll see how he does this season. Blanton is an inning eater with a higher than lovable ERA. Hamels is capable but didn’t work up to expectations last season, who knows what he’ll do? All we have solid is Halladay. That’s a 5th place lineup? i don’t think so……..

  14. scatterbrian - Feb 9, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    I understand what you’re saying, but why do you assume that low OPS totals in the NL West are a result of poor offenses rather than strong pitching? Or possibly a combination of the two?
    I don’t really get the inclusion of the Cardinals. Great 1-2, but Lohse and Penny and no depth beyond that? I’d take SF or the Marlins before St. Louis.

  15. Ralph Kramden - Feb 9, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    That Braves rotation is good, but it’s a little green on one end and gray on the other, don’t you think?

  16. CharlieH - Feb 9, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    Uh huh, right. I’m glad I don’t waste any money suscribing to that guy’s column. Was the question the best rotation or the highest paid. Last year the Red Sox were 16th in team ERA at 4.35, Yankees 12th at 4.26, White Sox 7th at 4.14, Angels 20th at 4.45, Cardinals 4th at 3.66, and the Phillies 8th at 4.16. How much would you pay a pitcher that has an ERA of over 4.26. Is it more important to have the best starting rotation or to have the best pitching staff.

  17. bumkus - Feb 9, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    Need to look a little bit deeper. The best pitching staff in the majors last year was in Seattle, if you want to go by results on the field. In the AL, nonetheless, and without the advantage of facing their own awful offense. Add Cliff Lee, and they look poised to do even better this year.
    FWIW, that staff is more dependent on defense than some of the other staffs on this list, but that is an important part of the game too.

  18. Trenton Igus - Feb 25, 2010 at 6:01 AM

    Hi thanks i was just seeking information on my sick Budgiregar poor thing.

  19. The Crazy Guy - Feb 25, 2010 at 6:23 AM

    What is this all about?

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