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Ranking the rotations: 1-30

Jan 25, 2011, 7:00 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies v San Francisco Giants, Game 5 Getty Images

Now that my projections for the upcoming Rotoworld fantasy annual are complete, I’ll be having some occasional fun with them in here over the following few weeks. To start with, let’s look at how the rotations shape up, according to my fantasy rankings.

As part of my projections, each player gets a score. All I’ve done here is add up the scores for the top five starters on every team. There’s no adjustment to give an ace more credit than a No. 5, so some teams are probably getting weighed down a bit too much by the dreck at the bottom of their rotations. Consider it the Sergio Mitre effect.

1. Phillies: 25.35
2. Giants: 15.20
3. Dodgers: 12.90
4. Red Sox: 12.07
5. Rays: 9.63
6. Marlins: 8.84
7. Brewers: 8.74
8. Cardinals: 8.68
9. Braves: 7.10
10. Tigers: 5.39
11. Angels: 4.70
12. Athletics: 4.34
13. Cubs: 3.03
14. Yankees: 2.30
15. Rockies: 1.59
16. White Sox: 1.58
17. Twins: 1.21
18. Reds: 0.96
19. Padres: 0.49
20. Rangers: (1.01)
21. Mariners: (2.14)
22. Blue Jays: (2.70)
23. Astros: (3.08)
24. Mets: (4.21)
25. D-backs: (5.58)
26. Nationals: (8.81)
27. Orioles: (9.73)
28. Indians: (12.31)
29. Pirates: (12.67)
30. Royals: (17.34)

Again, I’ve made no adjustments here. That’s why NL teams fare better than their AL counterparts. Also, the Rockies and Rangers are getting penalized for their ballparks, whereas the Padres and Rays are getting lifts.

Some points of interest:

– 75 SPs in my rankings came out with positive scores. No team has five, though the Phillies were close (Joe Blanton is my No. 84 starter). The Giants, Dodgers, Red Sox, Rays and Marlins also had four starters in the top 75.

The Indians, Pirates and Royals, on the other hand, have no starters in the top 75. The Indians do have a decent top three in Fausto Carmona, Carlos Carrasco and Justin Masterson, but I don’t expect much from Mitch Talbot and their fifth spot in a black hole.

– The Tigers placed 10th despite having just two starters in the top 75. Phil Coke and Rick Porcello were close, though, and Brad Penny looks like a better fifth starter than most.

– The Twins would have moved up three or four spots from No. 17 had I gone with Brian Duensing, rather than Nick Blackburn, as their fifth starter.

– Of the 150 pitchers used to make the list above, only Kyle Davies had a worse score than Mitre. Replace Mitre with Andy Pettitte or Justin Duchscherer and the Yankees would climb from No. 14 to No. 12.

– The Padres are the other team that could really move up with a signing. I have Dustin Moseley as their fifth starter right now. Plug in Kevin Millwood instead and they’d pass four teams on the list.

– The A’s are getting dinged here because I’m not projecting Brett Anderson to make 32 starts and because there’s no clear fifth starter right now. I do like their group better than the ranking suggests.

  1. uyf1950 - Jan 25, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    To Matthew:
    A question about your comment on the Yankees and if Pettitte or Duchscherer replace Mitre they (Yankees) would jump 2 spots. So if I understand you correctly your saying Pettitte has no more value to Yankees then Duchscherer. Is that correct? Because I find that hard to believe.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 25, 2011 at 7:25 PM

      No, certainly the Yankees and every other team would rather have Pettitte. But Duchscherer, who is projected to throw 110 pretty good innings (even that might by optimistic), scores OK in my system.

  2. elmaquino - Jan 25, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    I’m sorry man, but this is a BAD list! Cards 8th behind the friggin Marlins and Dodgers?!

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 25, 2011 at 7:32 PM

      The Cards are hurt because I expect little from Lohse. Plus, I gave all of them higher ERA projections as a result of the big defensive downgrades at shortstop and in right field.

      • spudchukar - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:06 PM

        Don’t get me wrong I love this stuff. Makes for great stove-piping. Too tough on the White Sox. A little more respect for the Reds, Astros, and Blue Jays. A little generous to the Cubs and Tigers, but I need to research the individuals before any meaningful arguments can be offered.

  3. spudchukar - Jan 25, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    At first blush, the Dodgers at #3, jumps out at me. Something tells me you rate Billingsley considerably higher than I would. But it is hard to criticize w/o seeing the individual lists. When you make a fantasy list, is it based on fantasy success or real success?

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 25, 2011 at 7:35 PM

      This is strictly a fantasy list. So it’s taking the four categories (no saves, just wins, ERA, WHIP and K’s) in equal amounts. Obviously, it’s just a quick and dirty and fun exercise.

      I am high on the Dodgers. Kershaw is my No. 7 starter, followed by Billingsley at 27, Lilly at 33 and Kuroda at 46. Because a lot of their value is wrapped up in WHIP, Lilly and Kuroda are definitely “overrated” there.

  4. proudlycanadian - Jan 25, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    I am sure that you had fun making your list, but it has little relevance once the games begin for real. Some well known pitchers will have bad seasons. Others who are coming off injuries will be a positive surprise. Most importantly, young pitchers who are just beginning their career will have breakout seasons.

  5. Jonny 5 - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    What? the Phills are “only” 10.15 better than #2??? Hater!!! j/k 😉

    Matt, what would you score Kendrick at if Blanton is 84?

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:40 PM

      If they traded Blanton, they’d lose about 2.5 points going to Kendrick.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 25, 2011 at 11:33 PM


      • BC - Jan 26, 2011 at 10:14 AM

        As well as lose a lot of weight.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 26, 2011 at 12:08 PM

        LOL!! Hey, wait…. That’s not nice…

  6. seeingwhatsticks - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    There’s no way the Phils are that much better (or better at all when you look at age and injury history) than the Giants. And you have the A’s waaaaaaaay too low considering what they did last year (they were better than the Phils last year). A lot of people are going to have some serious explaining to do when the Phillies’ rotation is not even the best in the game, let alone some sort of historically great group.

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:20 PM

      Yes way.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:21 PM

        So when do the Phillies get their 2010 Championship rings?

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 25, 2011 at 11:32 PM

        LOL!! yes, because somehow in your warped mind, one series tells you who the best team is right? How many series do poor teams win? they win some. Good teams win more, and the best teams can’t win every series they play against good teams. The Giants were hot, the Phills weren’t. Now you’ll use that as a measure of pitching? And now Lee is added. 4 pitchers who could all be the ace of most teams. You can trash talk, it’s ok. It’s what fans do. Just don’t try to argue this too much, you’ll just look stupid in the end.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 25, 2011 at 11:54 PM

        Except that at the end of the day that IS all that matters They don’t raise championship banners for winning the most games in the regular season, do they?. And if that’s how you want to judge the situation, keep in mind the Phils won exactly 5 more games than the Giants last year despite the Giants not having their complete team until August.

        I want to use 1 series as evidence of good pitching? Couldn’t be that Lincecum has 2 Cy Youngs and 3 strikeout crowns in the first 3 years of his career. Couldn’t be that Sanchez led the league in BAA, or that Cain can basically be penciled in for 220IP, 175K, 3.10ERA, or that Bumgarner is a present and future stud, or that the Giants went 20+ games without giving up more than 2 runs, or that the Giants were statistically better than the Phils last year.

        Only a Philly fan can ignore the truth while it stares him in the face, beats him, and marches on to the World Series. The Phillies got beat by a better team and trading Werth for Lee changes nothing.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 26, 2011 at 8:49 AM

        The Phillies had an even more injury riddled season than the giants did. They used a bench guy at SS for most of the season. Their 3rd baseman played over half of the season with a broken elbow. Chase Utley was out with a thumb injury, and Ryan Howard was out on the DL with a bad sprain on his ankle, which is still giving him some problems he just stated. Injuries? bad argument dude.

        As far as “facts” you can pick and choose what stat compliments the player you WISH to be better. But take a look at the facts. I warned you, you’d look stupid if you want to argue this one.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 26, 2011 at 9:34 AM

        I’d say xFip is a very good way to measure overall pitching quality. Look at the rankings for xFip and it will give you a pretty good idea of what you’re talking about. Here it is explained, if it helps you wrap your mind around it anyway. I want to help you.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:19 PM

        I guess I’m cherry picking my stats and you’re not cherry picking your stats. At least you’re consistent.

        Ever heard the phrase “that’s why they play the games?” Cause they did play the games. And the Giants won. If the Phils added Lee and kept Werth I might concede, but lack of starting pitching depth wasn’t their issue. Inability to string together a couple hits and play for one run in a tight, low scoring game where every defensive play is magnified, was their problem. They’ve done nothing to address that.

        I might be stupid but at least I’m not trying to argue that the team that lost is/was actually better.

      • loungefly74 - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:31 PM

        phillies got beat in a series…man. your arguement to toast. you can whip out all the stats you want but at the end of the day, you lost…if you can’t rise to the occassion in a 7 game series…you don’t deserve to move on. “ohh…we weren’t hot, you guys were!”, you say? oh boo hoo! cry me a river. on paper, you guys are awesome…but thats why we play’em.


      • clay52 - Jan 26, 2011 at 11:13 PM

        i’m gonna step in and ask did the giants get hot for ONE postseason? cause the phils have finished top 4 in the league for the last 3 years running. Is evidence of a good team one series, one postseason, or could it be multiple seasons and postseasons???

      • loungefly74 - Jan 26, 2011 at 11:22 PM

        evidence shows the Giants are the 2010 world champs…

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 27, 2011 at 1:25 AM

        Actually if that’s the approach you want to take, the Phillies got hot for 1 postseason because they were eliminated the last 2.

      • clay52 - Jan 27, 2011 at 9:31 PM

        giants had a good year ending in them getting hot, ill applaud your team when they can do it consistently year in year out.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 27, 2011 at 9:40 PM

        No you won’t. At least be honest about it.

        By the way, the Giants won 3 division titles, 1 NL pennant, 1 Wild Card, and tied for another (they lost the playoff to the Cubs in 98) between 1997 and 2003. They also produced 5 MVP season and 2 MOY seasons during that time, so it’s not like this is the first success the team has had. The whole era was tainted by BALCO and I don’t remember anyone throwing them any parades or considering them better than the eventual World Champs during any of those seasons. If the Giants just got hot and lucky last year I could make the same case for the Phils in 2008. They were a good team that got hot and aren’t really anything more special than that.

      • clay52 - Jan 28, 2011 at 9:37 PM

        97-03 do you still have most of those players?? im talking about now, how the teams played recently. And dont sound too upset about the years being tainted (BALCO) I mean Barry Bonds was juicing up and he was only a small part of your team, so it had nothing to do with your success.

      • loungefly74 - Jan 28, 2011 at 10:00 PM

        “So when do the Phillies get their 2010 Championship rings?”

        this is still too funny!

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 28, 2011 at 10:39 PM

        Definitely a different team, but that wasn’t even the point I was trying to make. The only team that can make any claim to being the best in any given year is the one left standing at the end. What happened the year before, and what happens the year after, are totally irrelevant. Maybe the 2009 Phillies were better than the 2009 Giants, and maybe the 2011 Phillies will be better than the 2011 Giants, but nothing will change the fact that in 2010 the Giants were the best team in baseball.

        Neither of us can know with any certainty whether the 2010 Giants were the start of a sustained run or a flash in the pan, there’s just too many variables that can change at any given moment. I do think, however, that an objective analysis of the Giants, looking at the ages of their best players and taking into account the team’s ability to keep those players over the long run, would conclude that there is a better chance this team will be back rather than fall off a cliff. In addition, any objective analysis of the Phillies would probably conclude that while they may have a couple of good years left in that core of players the window is closing and it is closing fast. Rollins is a shell of his former self, it is unlikely the Phillies will be able to afford to keep both Hamels and Oswalt (and could potentially lose both after this year for nothing), Domonic Brown is totally unproven, and Ryan Howard probably won’t suddenly start caring about his conditioning. None of those factors is my opinion (well, maybe the Howard thing but I doubt anyone would disagree) and all seem to indicate that the Phillies of 2012 and after will look a lot different than the Phillies of 2007-2011.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 28, 2011 at 10:48 PM

        Actually it looks like Hamels has 1 more year of arbitration eligibility, so he will probably be around in 2012. After that it’s hard to imagine they can afford to keep him because it would probably mean spending $100 million on Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Howard, and Utley.

    • rolltidenj - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:39 PM

      So you are saying John (5innings 120 pitches) Sanchez is better than Cole Hamels or Roy Oswalt? Injury History? What injury history? Do you have any idea what you are talking about? The Giants had a great run last year and have a very very good young rotation, but seriously you can not be sober and write a post like that.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:41 PM

        Well look at Cliff Lee’s numbers last year. Actually look at his career numbers, not just last year. They aren’t that good. Either he was hurt last year (and at 32-33 he’s a LOCK to stay healthy), or he’s not that good. Which option would you prefer?

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:44 PM

        Also Sanchez had the best BAA in all of baseball. So yeah, that guy sucks.

      • rolltidenj - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:48 PM

        An injury “HISTORY” would imply that there is a “HISTORY” not one year. Lincecum and Cain are Big League Aces no doubt. Sanchez would have trouble throwing strikes if the plate was 3 feet wide and Bumgarner is 21 and “HISTORY” would show that chances are he has a better chance to be Mark Prior than he does being Tim Lincecum.

      • rolltidenj - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:58 PM

        No, where in my post did I write that? I was playing off of your HISTORY comment. Its called point counter point. Or do you just have your Giants goggles on and want to twist and turn what I write?

        Bottomline, the Giants have a very good rotation, but it is not in the same class as the Phillies.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:05 PM

        Based on what? The fact that you actually know their names? The Giants didn’t have an especially strong offense last year and beat all of those guys in the playoffs (including Lee twice). The Giants are much younger and much more likely to both improve and stay healthy. Plus, they only got about half a season out of Bumgarner last year. And while I don’t think Zito is great any more he was significantly better than Blanton last year. Zito pitched 23 more innings, didn’t go to the minors, and gave up fewer hits, runs, earned runs, home runs, and had more k’s.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:48 PM

      The Phillies may be getting overrated here for being better WHIP and K pitchers than the Giants. Going strictly by ERA, I have the Phillies giving up 395 ER in 1,046 1/3 IP and the Giants allowing 406 ER in 1,013 2/3 IP. So the Phillies are at 3.40, while the Giants are at 3.60.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:52 PM

        So just to be clear, you’re saying the guy that’s 21 and has never been hurt is more likely to get injured than the guy who is 32 and had back problems last year? That’s really the argument you want to make?

      • rolltidenj - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:05 PM

        I can’t wait until Matt Cain is a free agent, he will look real good in red pinstripes.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:06 PM

        Except that by then Zito and Rowand will be off the books so good luck with that. He’s not going anywhere.

      • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:37 PM

        No, I have Bumgarner throwing 195 innings.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:38 PM

        I meant to post that above and screwed it up. Replied to the wrong comment and didn’t realize it until it posted.

      • xxakshunxx - Jan 26, 2011 at 1:07 AM

        You guy are arguing with a San Fran fan? You must’ve forgot all they do is smoke weed and dude is probably high

  7. ThatGuy - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Im pretty sure baring a spring training breakdown Duensing is penciled in as a starter, likely be Blackburn or Slowey that ends up in long relief(assuming all make it through spring training healthy)

  8. theman1932 - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    the cardinals #8? you’ve gotta be kidding me. the reds #18? wow. besides the cardinals top 2, their rotation is garbage. that’s not enough to put them #8. as for the reds, bronson arroyo was top 10 in MLB in wins. in other words, he had more W’s than Chris Carpenter. Travis Wood has no-hit stuff, along with Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey. If Volquez regains his form from a few years ago, this staff is top 5 in the league. They are without a doubt a top-10 rotation right now

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:50 PM

      The Reds are getting ripped off here, since they’re getting no credit for Leake or Chapman. Plus, they’re in a hitter’s park and I’m definitely not as optimistic as most when it comes to Arroyo and Volquez.

    • spudchukar - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:55 PM

      The Reds rotation might be a little underrated I agree. Actually I fear Leake more than Bailey. If things break right for the young arms they could excel. But they lack the track record to be in the top 10.
      As for the Cardinals, denigrating Garcia at the expense of Wood seems pretty unfair. Garcia had a much better rookie year. Westbrook’s recovery from Tommy John was slow, but that was when he was in an Indian uniform. Once he moved to St. Louis he performed admirably. I think he will help you eat those “garbage” words. Lohse is an enigma, and should be seen as a weak link, unless he can regain his 2008 form where he excelled.
      The Reds have more depth, but they lack a shutdown stopper like Wainwright or Carpenter. Cueto and Volquez have the stuff to attain ace status, but neither have done it with enough consistency to claim the title.

      • theman1932 - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:29 PM

        I think Leake should be in the bullpen. He wore down as the year went on. As for Garcia being better than Wood, I highly disagree. Garcia was up longer than Wood was and in Wood’s first few starts, he had 2 wins blown by the bullpen or lack of run support. Not to mention the perfect game into the 9th in Philly (which had the Reds had the lead, I’m sure he’s not pressing as hard in the 9th). Bailey has had his stretches where he is dominant. Jake Westbrook? seriously? He is the reason the Cardinals fell out of the race. They gave up a good hitter to get him and it was a huge mistake. Let’s not forget, of the 13 postseason runs they allowed to the “great Phillies”, 6 of the runs were unearned, 4 of which came after the umps blew a huge call in game 2 and said Utley was HBP.

        Plus, bonus points for Cueto. He kicked Carpenter in the back.

      • spudchukar - Jan 26, 2011 at 12:00 AM

        Keep your opinions of Wood, Westbrook and Bailey. Time may prove you correct. But their actual performances tell a different story. Wood got off to a good start, but when teams saw him the second or third time around he faltered. Garcia was excellent throughout the season. Westbrook pitched admirably once he came to the Cards, with 7 of his first 8 starts graded quality starts. Bailey does have stretches when he dominates, he also has stretches when he implodes. After the Ludwick trade Jon Jay was spectacular. He tailed off in September, but by then the Cards were 10 back and couldn’t make up the difference, so it is hard to blame the St. Louis August demise on RF production.
        I have no idea what your posts about the post-season and the Phillies is in reference to. How that relates to the subject at hand is a mystery to me. Some separate reality I am not privy to.
        As to your boast about Cueto’s spiking of Carpenter and subsequent MLB suspension I won’t dignify with a response, but let it stand as the pride of THEMAN 1932.

      • theman1932 - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:11 PM

        to clear things up: My postseason stats were not anything against the Cardinals. That was a stat to show how good their pitching went up against one of the most feared lineups. If the Phillies pitching wasn’t so unbelievably better than every other team combined, the Reds pitching may have won a game or two in the series.
        As for Travis Wood faltering, that is not true at all. Of his 17 starts,14 of those starts he allowed 3 earned runs or less (the times he allowed more than 3 earned runs came in the first 10 starts/before September). And in 12.1 innings against Philly, he allowed a grand total of 2 hits and 1 BB. I am not trying to disrespect Garcia at all. I respect what he did this past year. For a stretch, he was probably their most reliable starter. All I am saying is Wood had a better year. Yes Jay did have a good second half, but Ludwick was a good player and a big influence in the locker room. To trade him for a guy who has had 2 winning seasons as a pitcher, it was an embarassment of a trade.
        That brawl was a defining moment for the Reds. The Cardinals pinned Cueto against the screen so they got what they deserved.

      • spudchukar - Jan 28, 2011 at 2:33 PM

        Things have not been cleared. In Travis Wood’s last 8 starts, he was only very good once, his only win in those eight outings. The lines are innings/runs, from 8/24 to 10/1. 4/7,5/3,7/0 (his final impressive outing),5/3,5/3,6/3,7/3,6.1/3. An telling decline from his mid-season success. Here are the comparative numbers between Garcia and Wood, (Garcia) W-L/ERA/IP 13-8/2.70/163.1 vs
        (Wood) 5/4/4.01/102.2. Obviously, there is little comparison. Garcia placed third in the ROY award, Wood received NO votes.
        The Phillies ranked 6th in team ERA. The Giants were 1st, the Braves 3rd, and the Reds 13th. While not the only statistic to evaluate a pitching staff it is by most authorities the most indicative, of the traditional measurements.
        The “so-called” feared line-up, while once productive, failed miserably against the top ranked Giant’s hurlers; something the Reds failed to accomplish. Neither the Phillies’ season stats, nor post-season stats supports you claim hat they were “so unbelievably better than every other team combined.” They were at least second to the Giants alone.
        It is true that Ludwig was a good player, a quiet guy, who wasn’t disruptive in the clubhouse, he was never a team leader. Besides, that stuff is overrated anyway, and by all accounts Westbrook has at least the same positive influence in the clubhouse. Whether the trade will prove wise, time will tell, but determining Westbrook’s value by W/L record, when he was playing for the frickin’ Cleveland Indians is hardly telling. He pitched much better than Wood did in his last eight starts. (Westbrook) 3-3,4.20,50 vs (Wood) 1-2, 5.54, 45.1.
        And yes, the brawl defined the Reds alright, and the NL President made sure the rest of baseball was privy to their actions by the harsh suspensions they received and earned.

      • theman1932 - Jan 30, 2011 at 10:30 PM

        I am not budging from my stance on Wood. He rarely allowed more than 3 runs in a start. He didn’t receive ROY votes because he didn’t come up until July. That doesn’t deserve votes. ROY should only be if you were up the full year or by June.

      • theman1932 - Jan 30, 2011 at 10:37 PM

        Since you brought up ERA, I would like to give a reason that most people always bring up. It was the reason many people didn’t want Joey Votto to win MVP. The fact that they play in the 2nd best offensive ballpark (to Coors Field) for 81 games would in fact inflate their ERA. That and having losers like Aaron Harang and Mike Lincoln pitching for half of the year.
        You trying to argue that Westbrook is a good pitcher, or say he’s better than Wood, is about as intelligent as me sarcastically saying Cueto earns bonus points for the Reds staff because he kicked two guys and ended a career. Westbrook is a waste of a pitcher. He will turn out to be as whiney as the rest of the Cardinals

      • spudchukar - Jan 31, 2011 at 4:54 PM

        You can’t have it both ways. You contend Wood did not have a late season drop-off, yet his numbers are significantly worse than Westbrook’s. So the numbers you champion for Wood, cannot be used to denigrate Westbrook. I can’t tell if you believe Votto should have won the MVP, but by your hitter’s park reasoning it should be in doubt. But your bias is so transparent, I am sure you can justify one and not the other. The ROY claims I make were stated to indicate that Garcia was CONSIDERED, and Wood was not. His accomplishments were season-long and thus much more indicative of his future value.
        If you meant to be sarcastic in your original Cueto statement, I will have to accept that. It didn’t sound that way to me, and you avoided clearing that up subsequently, but fair is fair so will accept your claim and let it go at that.
        Time will tell.

      • theman1932 - Apr 8, 2011 at 4:33 PM

        And my point has been backed up. The Reds are using their 6th and 7th starters and still getting great performances… while the Cards are losing to the Pirates. If Volquez didn’t allow the amount of “free” baserunners that he does, he could cut down on some runs. Plus, this is all without Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto. Once they return, this is a rotation (and entire staff) that is top 5 in baseball

  9. fquaye149 - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    You’re not very clear on your methodology, but considering the number of teams ranked above the White Sox (and the quality thereof) makes me suspect you might want to go back to the drawing board.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:54 PM

      The White Sox are getting hurt quite a bit by me using Tony Pena as their fifth starter. If I gave Sale a SP projection (I’m guessing he’ll stay in the pen), then they’d move up three spots anyway. Or if I went with my half-season Peavy projection, they’d move up two.

      Plus, they do play in one of the game’s top ballparks for homers.

  10. deathtoallpoets - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    The white sox have a decent rotation. its not top ten by any means. i agree with this list. The reds definitely have a better rotation than the cubs. The cubs should be a lot lower than they are. over all, nice work.

  11. phukyouk - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    Matt i only ask that come end of June you revisit this to see how right you are. im going to guess that you will be WAY off.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:39 PM

      Well, I’m not really ranking the rotations. If I were to do that subjectively, it’d be fairly similar at the top but pretty different the rest of the way through.

      And there will be plenty of projection review columns once the season is over, though they’ll mostly be at Rotoworld.

      • phukyouk - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:45 PM

        the subject of your blog is “ranking the rotation” im truly confused.

  12. Mark - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    I’m not clear why the Jays are ranked so low. Their rotation ranked 4th in the AL in FIP, and were 2nd in XFIP. I get that losing Marcum hurts, but there’s no way their rotation is going to be 22nd.

    No offense but that’s a pretty poor evaluation system you got going there if you think the Jays rotation is going to be below average overall, let alone not even a top 5 rotation in the AL.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:42 PM

      The Jays are getting hurt because they play in a brutal division and because the Rogers Centre is giving up more homers of late. Plus, I only have three of their starters projected at 30 starts. If Drabek and Rzep win rotation spots, then the group would move up some.

      • Mark - Jan 26, 2011 at 1:15 AM

        Here’s the thing I have a problem with for park factors. The Jays offense has hit a ton of HR’s, but the pitching staff hasn’t given as many up. Jays ranked 17th in the majors for HR allowed. I understand what you’re getting at in that it’s a hitter’s park, but the Jays pitching staff don’t allow a ton of homers.

        Drabek’s been guaranteed a starting spot. Right now it’s looking like Romero/Morrow/Cecil/Drabek. Ideally Rzep wins the fifth spot, although there’s a chance that Litsch does. That would be disappointing though. I might be a little optimistic, but I’m thinking the rotation breaks down like this:

        Romero – 4 WAR

        Morrow – 4.5 WAR <– Ever since May 31st he had a 10+K/9, a 3BB/9, so I'm thinking his improvements are legit. After all, his biggest issue was control and he cut back on that significantly. If he gets close to 200 innings I think he can reach 4.5 WAR. Although I'd understand if you were more conservative. He did reach 3.7 in 146 IP, and the Jays like to push their SP by 30% over the past season which puts him at 190 2/3. If you wanted to be safe and say 3.5-4.5 I wouldn't argue.

        Cecil – 3 WAR

        Drabek – 2 WAR I'm being conservative here. The peripherals were great last year (6+K/9, 2BB/9, 60+% GB), it's just a question of whether or not he can maintain that over a full season. If he does, he's way past 2, and if he struggles, then this will look bad a year from now.

        Rzep – 1.5

        I don't think there are too many teams that could compete with that, even when you account for the division/ballpark.

      • Mark - Jan 26, 2011 at 1:15 AM

        And thank you for responding to me. I appreciate it. My original response came off douchier then I intended. Sorry for that.

  13. squeezylyss - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    Matt- I agree with your projections except I think the yanks got the best rotation not Philly, even though I hate to say that I think it’s true

    • phukyouk - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:49 PM

      ok im a die hard (hated) yankees fan but WHAT THE F*K ARE YOU SMOKING???? i mean after CC who the hell do they have? Hughes? fine Hughes! but i mean if he doesnt get at least HALF of the same run support hes in a lot of trouble. then who? AJ, Mitre and Nova. yes Philly has the BEST rotation… at least on paper. sorry man but as much as i would love it to be true they dont have anything close to the best rotation. best bullpen? yes. great lineup? sure. i would put the Yanks in the same exact boat for SA as the Sox but at this moment not even in the Philies universe.

  14. xmatt0926x - Jan 26, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    To Seeingwhatsticks: Relax my man. The Gianst have a great rotation,but your talking as if your team is a dynasty in waiting. Nobody else believes this. You accuse the Phillies fan of not looking at reality but what reality are you looking at? I keep hearing how the Guants beat this pitcher and that pitcher in the playoffs. So what? Your going to judge long-term success on what a team of offensive journeymen did in a couple series?? Wake up. If your honestly counting on Cody Ross to carry your team again in October, good luck with that. Your team was a bad Atlanta Braves fill-in who booted about 5 balls (forget what his name was) and a blown call in game 1 at 2nd base away from losing every game to the braves in your first series, so don’t act like your team swept through the world on its way to the title. Your success was the result of great pitching and a hot run by about 3 or 4 journeymen. It happens just like the phillies 2008 title was a run of good play. Unlike you, I have no problem in admitting that my team got hot at the right time. Ohh by the way. The people that make a living at being right in Vegas also don’t feel your team is a juggernaut. Wake up and grow up.

    • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 26, 2011 at 12:52 AM

      You’re definitely right about Brooks Conrad, that was a bit of luck. Look, it’s been a rough decade for Bay Area sports fans. The 49ers got new owners who have run the franchise into the ground and alienated all of their legendary players. The Giants got to the 2002 World Series, were 7 outs away, got cocky, and everything went to hell. The Sharks like to put up great regular seasons and then crap their pants in the playoffs. The Warriors are the Warriors despite coming together for an incredible moment and beating Dallas (that’s the only playoff appearance they’ve had since 1994). And then there’s the whole Balco/Bonds saga. Finally as a fan I have something to feel good about and yet all I read about or hear about is how great the Phils are. The Phils have a ton of talent and are easily one of the best teams in the NL and in all of MLB, but if you can set the hype aside and objectively look at that team they are starting to trend in the wrong direction. They’re getting older, they’re not getting any healthier or any faster, and it looked last year like it’s getting harder to stay fresh deep into October. I’m not being a crazy fan, I really do think that the Giants rotation is better than Philly’s if you can get past all that name recognition. This was not a group of journeymen as you say they are 3 first round picks (Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner), a late round find who has always had great stuff and wretched command (Sanchez), and a former Cy Young winner (even if it is Barry Zito and his awful contract). At the end of the day I just want to enjoy the first legitimately good thing that’s happened to any of my favorite teams in the last 10-15 years.

      I grew up watching the 49ers put themselves in a position to win a championship every year and hoping the Giants could maybe do it once in my lifetime, and now when you look at what the Giants have going for them there’s a chance the new Giants can become the old 49ers. Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Sanchez, Posey, and Belt, will all be 26 or younger on opening day next year, and Wilson will turn 29 just before the season starts. San Francisco isn’t really a small market (no more than Philly is anyway) and once Zito and Rowand’s contracts are gone they will be able to keep this core group of players together for a long time. It’s not hard to see them getting back to this level even if you’re objective in your analysis. For the first time in I can’t remember how long I’m genuinely excited about where this team is going and I would put that core group up against any team in the game for the next 7-10 years.

      I’m generally not this angry and don’t take it real personally but in the week leading up to that series it was all about Philly and their dynasty and no one has won 3 straight NL pennants since the 40’s. Then the Giants won, got to enjoy it for about a week, and it’s back to how great Philly is. I live in Boston and have turned against everything Red Sox because so much of the east coast just doesn’t think anything that happens on the west coast matters. This is my chance to say that it does and I want to enjoy it right up until the Giants either get eliminated or win it again. In a totally selfish way I just want to enjoy the one season in the San Francisco era of the franchise where I can rub some noses in it and no one can say anything. Willie Mays couldn’t do it. Barry Bonds couldn’t do it. McCovey and Marichal and Perry and Clark and all the rest couldn’t do it either. It’s totally douchey and petty and small I’m not especially proud of it, and because of that I actually sincerely appreciate you throwing some cold water in my face and backing me off the ledge a little bit. Thanks for a dose of reality.

      Not to quibble too much, but the guys in Vegas aren’t paid to get it right they’re paid to set lines that encourage an equal amount of betting on all sides. They set the lines based on how they think people want to bet, not necessarily based on what they think will actually happen. A lot of people lose sight of that. (Also I put money on the Giants at 18-1 when I was in Vegas in July, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.)

      • phillygirl17 - Jan 26, 2011 at 8:01 AM

        Are you really talking about frustrations with sports teams with Philly sports fans? We root for a football team that gets so close to the Superbowl regularly and has never won. A baseball team that has been around since 1883- oldest one city, one name franchise in sports history and was the first sports franchise to 10,000 loses (July 2007) and 2 World Series Championships to go along with that time. A basketball team that hasn’t won since 1983, though so really good years in there. And a hockey team that gets so close so often, yet doesn’t bring it home. We know frustrations with sports.

        We also know what it is like to be overlooked by other teams constantly. In 2009, we were not expected to do anything again. We were labeled a “one and done” team. The Brewers, behind Sabathia, were suppose to beat us in the 2008 NLDS, the Dodgers in the NLCS and the Rays in WS. That’s baseball. That’s what happens.

        The Giants do have a very, very good rotation, there is not a single person that would argue that. And in a couple years, they could be labeled as the best rotation in baseball. They are still young. Some of your rotation really needs to continue to develop. You won the WS on a whole lot better pitching than we won with in ’08. Be proud of that, but don’t knock what we have in Philly. But in order to get the attention that we finally have, you have to do it for a couple of years. Philly fans are living in the “Golden Age” of Phillies baseball. Players want to come here and stay. This is still different for us and we are living in it and defending it.

      • loungefly74 - Jan 26, 2011 at 1:58 PM

        dude…awesome post. my neck hurts from nodding so much (no sarcasm). I agree with just about everything said (though…I’m a Lakers fan…didn’t even know there were Warrior fans, haha…NorCal native BTW). anyway, the giants beat the phillies in a series. our pitching out-dueled yours. period. get over it. tell it to your friends…”shoulda, woulda, and coulda”.
        I agree with ya seeingwhatsticks. people are stuck on the name recognition thing. don’t get me wrong philly fans, will your team be a contender next year? absolutely! probably the best chance in the NL? yeah…BUT…the team projected to win doesn’t always do that..thats why we play them!
        seeingwhatsticks, man…you are so right. let us Giants fan celebrate! It is our year. for the philly fans, its not a “oh…okay…you won…ummm…next year! 2 out of 3! we will beat you next year!” league. yeah yeah yeah..sure..whatever…all i know is we beat you and the 2010 banner hangs in our ballpark.
        about this ranking, sure…philly does have a sick rotation but this is for Rotoworld so I’m not going to get overworked by that. my beef is with philly fans who can’t just say, “alright Giants, you beat us…you were the better team…your pitching staff killed us…good job.”
        seeingwhatsticks…my brotha…been a fan of the 49ers and Giants since i was kid (1980ish)…this world series win is one for the ages. i love it. i’m gonna soak it up. we were spoiled by the 49ers there (my goodness, i long for those days!) but anyways seeingwhatsticks, party it up man! we won. freddie mercury once said, “we are the champions my friend…” GO GIANTS!

      • loungefly74 - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:05 PM

        GO GIANTS!

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jan 26, 2011 at 2:43 PM

        Thanks for the kind words loungefly. I know I should let it go but I just couldn’t pull off the Ryan Howard, so I took a swing.

  15. jkcalhoun - Jan 26, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    Wow, the Royals sign Francis and Chen and still rank last by that much? I wonder what they’re rating would have been without those signings.

  16. areyesrn - Jan 26, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    if 2 or more Phillies pitchers are out for a significant amount of time, which I suspect will happen, I’ll kill myself

  17. BC - Jan 26, 2011 at 10:03 AM

    The Mets should be ranked 31.

  18. lmiab25 - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    This is the way that the discussion between Phillies and Giants fans has gone here:

    HBT: “The Phillies have the better rotation.”
    Phillies fans: “That was one postseason series, and we’ve added one of the best pitchers in baseball since then, so yes, the Phillies are better.”
    Phillies fans: “But that was one series last year…what does that prove for right now?”


    You’re right. They don’t raise championship banners for winning the most games in the regular season, and no Phillies fan wouldn’t trade last year’s 97 wins for a 91-win championship season. But what exactly does that have to do with now, in 2011? You outperformed us for a six-game series that happened to be in the postseason, and while that was more meaningful at the time than anything else, how does that guarantee anything? Was there a law written in the last few months that I missed that said that the reigning World Series champions are automatically the best?

    You said you wanted to enjoy your title–and by all means, go for it. But right here? That’s not what you’re doing. Please, enjoy your title. We were there two years ago and it felt great, and I’m not one who wants to take that away from a team that earned it the way you guys did. But this isn’t you enjoying your title, this is you using that title to irrationally make assumptions about next year when it’s plainly obvious to anyone who isn’t a Giants fan that as of now–yes, ON PAPER–the Phillies have a better rotation, and a single playoff series four months ago doesn’t change that, especially given what the Phillies have added since then. Is it a lock that it will end up that way? No. Of course not. There could be injuries. They are older than the Giants’ crew, and that could be meaningful a few years down the road. But we’re talking about now, and the season about to start in April. So yes, in the grand scheme of things for the 2011 season, the Phillies have a better rotation. If they all manage to stink or get injured by July, feel free to laugh it up. But if they’re doing as well as everyone else expects them to, or even close to it, then you can enjoy watching the highlights from last October as much as you want while everyone else is busy watching the best rotation in baseball do its thing.

  19. loungefly74 - Jan 26, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    Hahaha! spoken like someone who wants to forget a recent beatdown….but anyway…
    Yeah, the article is about the best rotations in 2011 for RotoWorld perspective…I agree, the Phillies have a sick rotation…the best in fact on paper.
    Very true that in baseball, the best team doesn’t alway win the championship (I think the NBA might be the exception) but the best teams do compete so the team that can win 3 series against the other best teams deserves the championship. Just wanted to point that out.
    That said, its apparent philly fans are upset about their loss in 2010. They had a great team but were overhelmed by the Giants rotation (so much for the whole best rotation on paper thing…but that’s besides the point). This article has brought up talks of the 2 teams who met in 2010…how could it not? well, what i saw was philly fans who just can’t admit they got outplayed…and yeah, 1 series can show that…that’s why its a best of 7 not just 1 game. If your team gets beat 4 times, you don’t deserve to advance, you were not the better team.
    And with that, oh yeah, Giant fans can boast all they want. they earned it…we beat the rangers (and cliff lee).
    I get a feeling a similar article last year at this time said the philly rotation was the best…so yeah, say all you want about “the best rotation”…a lot of good it did them as the Giants put the smackdown on them. the post season is when it counts…your team froze like howard did on that last strikeout (Ha! that was great!)
    The Giants are the world champs till the next team is crowned so we can smack talk all we want.
    About this article…sure…the phillies have the best rotation, blah, blah, blah…heard that tune before…good for you.

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