Open Thread: Who has the best rotation in baseball?


In his daily blog post this morning, Buster Olney opined about the five best starting rotations in the game, led by the Red Sox. The Yankees placed second, followed (in order) by the White Sox, Angels, and Cardinals. The Phillies also received an honorable mention.

We could argue about who has the best rotation from here until Opening Day, and there’s no right answer. However, what we do have are CHONE projections, so I rounded those up to see how each rotation is expected to perform next season. He’s the four non-New York teams…

All we’re doing is adding, so it doesn’t matter what order the pitchers are listed in. Olney has no idea who the Cardinals’ fifth starter is, and neither do I. And frankly, neither does the team. Regardless, they don’t have any other pitchers projected to be worth over a win, so it doesn’t make much of a difference anyway. Obviously, the BoSox have the best projected rotation among the four teams, with five starters set to be at least league average (two WAR is basically league avg). You have to like the balance in the ChiSox’s rotation though, minus the Freddy Garcia eyesore.

Now, what about the Yanks?

Olney thinks Phil Hughes will be the fifth starter, though most others think it’ll be Joba Chamberlain. For whatever reason, CHONE has Joba projected as a reliever in 2010, a reliever worth just 0.9 WAR at that. Even if we swap Hughes out for a 0.9 WAR pitcher, the Yanks still outpace the pack by a full win. They have the two best projected starters among the five teams in CC Sabathia and Javy Vazquez, and are the only team besides Chicago with four 3.0+ WAR pitchers on the staff.

Remember, these are just projections, far from gospel. They’re not telling us what will happen, but what could happen based on past data. Don’t take them to heart, they’re just for fun. That said, I like the way the numbers worked out.

Anyway, here’s your open thread for the evening. The Islanders, Nets, and Knicks are all in action. Anything goes, just be cool.

Categories : Open Thread


  1. More Fangraphs colorful charts fun:

    Jazzy Vazquez: http://www.fangraphs.com/pitch.....position=P (safe)

    He added a quality two-seamer? Nice. 2010 Jazzy the Yankee >>>>>>>>> 2004 Jazzy the Yankee.

  2. JGS says:

    I have a snow day tomorrow.

    this is awesome

    • Scooter says:

      With another 10″ poised to hit DC, I could have a snow week. The office will be shut tomorrow.. and likely Thursday as well. I can’t see opening up for one day, with the 3 day weekend coming up. I also have no idea where they’re putting this snow.

      Here’s an example of the degree of insanity right now – a Lowes about 20 miles south of DC got an order for 1200 shovels Sunday morning. I ordered 3 online around noon Sunday.

      Picked them up yesterday. Lowes was completely sold out.

      At the local grocery store, the only meat left was lamb. Sorry, Bambi

    • Chip says:

      I just moved out to the east coast from North Dakota. You people are crazy when it comes to snow. Back home it literally takes two feet of snow and 40 mph winds to even start considering closing the schools.

      • Fun Fact:

        Going to public school in Lincoln, Nebraska, I had more school closures due to “heat days” than “cold/snow days”.

      • pat says:

        Hahah, well we have just a tiny bit more stuff in our major cities here on the east coast. There’s just nowhere to put hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of snow in NYC, Boston, DC etc.

      • Drew says:

        Yeah, driving on roads with buildings and other cars is not safe on snow covered roads.

        /Never been to ND’d

      • JGS says:

        They are saying 10-16 inches in Brooklyn. I’m postgrad though, I shouldnt be getting snow days anymore

        • Chip says:

          I’m in DC now and we just got 32 inches and they’re talking another 10-20 inches tonight into tomorrow. I had grad school off yesterday as well so I guess I can’t complain too much :)

      • pete says:

        eh i’m outside of boston, and we had more “cold” days than snow days. That was just our town though. Our highway dept. was ridiculous. I remember one year we got 38 inches of snow from a Sunday morning into a Monday morning and still had school on Monday. I was pissed as shit.

      • Big Juan says:

        That’s how it is up here in VT. It takes a lot of snow to cancel school. If anything, we have “ice days”.

    • Alex S says:

      sweet me too

  3. Where on those CHONE team projection pages is WAR?

    I’d like to know where the Braves quintet of Jurjjens-Hanson-Hudson-Lowe-Kawakami grade out.

  4. Slugger27 says:

    i love CC, and i think hes a badass…. but theres no way he should project to be a full win better than lester

    im not saying the systems are overrating CC as much as i think theyre underrating lester…. the projection system in my head has them BOTH at 5.6

    • Drew says:

      The projection system in your head is broke.

      To troubleshoot, approach a nearby wall. Proceed to head-butt the wall until you find yourself unconscious. When you wake, your projection system should be good to go.

    • Chip says:

      I’d agree but it’s a regression system so his lack of innings three years ago is probably having some effect with the fact that younger pitchers are more volatile probably hurting a bit as well. Sabathia has shown more durability, is in his prime and has significantly out-WAR’d him over the past 3 years

    • vin says:

      Probably the biggest reason for the huge difference in WAR projection between CC and Lester is the large amount of (high quality) innings CC projects to pitch every year. On any given day Lester can absolutely out-pitch CC, but CC has averaged (over 162 games) 223 innings/season in his career. Lester’s 162 game average is 207.

      There’s tremendous value in those 16 extra innings. That’s like CC pitching 2 extra 8-inning games – as opposed to innings that would be thrown by the bullpen. A guy like CC (or Halladay) makes the entire team better because of the load he carries. Not to say Lester can’t be that guy, but he hasn’t yet proven it like CC has.

      BTW, CC is 3 1/2 years older than Lester, yet has 7 more full seasons under his belt. He’s got a tremendous track record.

      • Slugger27 says:

        you make great points

        after thinking about it further, these projections systems are being too bearish on both pitchers

        CC should probably be in the 6-6.5 range, and lester should be in the 5.5-6 range

    • bexarama says:

      Projection systems aside, I really hope Lester falls off a cliff but he’s pretty darn awesome and underrated. Like, I’m actually pretty surprised at how underrated he is. I guess it makes up for how overrated Beckett, Dice-K, and some of their prospects are/were.

    • Edwantsacracker says:

      I don’t think that the CC vs. Lester sticks out nearly as much as Javy Vazquez projected to be better than Lester or Beckett…

  5. Cecala says:

    “”When he and I go to a Greek restaurant, he always orders octopus,” Boras said.”

    Detriot is sure to sign Damon now that they know that he orders octopus. Boras just on another intellectual letter than the rest of us.


  6. Giants:
    Lincecum – 5.8
    Cain – 3.9
    Sanchez – 2.0
    Zito – 1.6
    _________ – ???

    That’s 13.3 before they even add a fifth starter. If Bumgarner is halfway decent, the Giants can be in that convo as well.

    I’d take their rotation over whatever the Angels, Cardinals, or Phillies (Olney’s 6th best rotation) put together.

    1.) Yankees


    2.) Red Sox
    3.) White Sox


    4.) Giants
    5.) Angels
    6.) Cardinals
    7.) Phillies
    8.) Mariners
    9.) Braves
    10.) Rockies

    • Chip says:

      True but you’re making the assumption that Olney thought this through and looked up numbers rather than going with the teams with the five biggest names. I think everybody in the league is underrating how good Vazquez could be this year which is quite unusual for a Yankee

  7. bexarama says:

    I had a dream last night that the Mauer talks completely fell through with Minnesota and they ended up trading him to Boston for JUST Josh Reddick. It was one of those dreams that seemed so real that I actually woke up this morning and fearfully checked MLB.com to check that it didn’t actually happen.

    I really need pitchers and catchers and everyone else to report so I can stop thinking of things like this and actually, like, watch baseball.

  8. Steve H says:

    That Angels rotation does not put the Jim Rice fear into me. It’s what, a #2 and a bunch of #3′s and #4′s?

    And yeah, Olney’s analysis sucks. Aj is the key? I wouldn’t be stunned if come October he’s their 4th best starter.

    • Slugger27 says:

      i think these projections on pretty bullish on both kazmir and santana

      im with ya, angels rotation seems overrated

    • pete says:

      I think Buster just meant that AJ could be the difference between a good rotation and an insanely dominant amazing rotation. Which is still wrong, since AJ is a solidly above average starter overall every year, and never deviates far from his standard 4.00 ERA. Personally, I think AJ goes 4.05, Javy goes 4.15, and Andy goes 4.35. It’s joba what’ll be the difference-maker. There’s not a bad chance though that 4 yankee starters go under 4.00 with andy being not far above that mark. That’d be pretty redonkulous for the AL East.

  9. I made this comment late in the last thread, figured I’d follow up here with some pictures of the alleged shenanigans (re: Aceves possibly touching, with the fingers on his pitching hand, something fishy on the brim of his cap):

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/4.....269018365/ (safe)

    The last few pictures are where he really seems to be intentionally touching something on his cap.

  10. Januz says:

    I have no doubt that Boston has the best rotation, bullpen (I actually agree with the opinion that JP is close to being as good as Mariano, and Bard etc are much better), and defense in the league. But their lineup is miles behind the Yankees (Particularly when you match-up third base and centerfield). The big question hanging over this team’s head will be the status of Jeter, Mariano & Gerardi after 2010.

  11. vin says:

    Comparing teams’ 5 man rotations going into ST is fun, but it really doesn’t tell the whole story. Over the past decade, teams averaged 11 starters per season. Factoring out Sep. callups and scheduling quirks, that leaves maybe 8 guys who will be called upon to win games during the season.

    I’d be more interested to see each of the teams’ 1-8 starters. Are the 6-8 starters coming from the BP, first time call-ups, or veterans on minor league deals? I think that will probably be a better indicator of future success.

    • pete says:

      1-11 I think Yanks are pretty indisputably #1. Gaudin/Aceves/Mitre/McAllister/Nova are all solid 6th starters, and they are pretty much, in order, the 7th-11th starters. Hughes is at the very least a capable 5th starter, Joba, Andy, AJ, and Javy are all capable of being #2-#3 starters, and CC is as good as just about any other pitcher in baseball. The yanks have VERY good SP depth this year. Borderline ’09 BoSox SP depth (oh no he di-int). The only other team with comparable starting depth is the Rays, but while their 6-8 is clearly better than ours (I think Hughes is as good as, if not better than, Davis, Hellickson, or McGee, but they’ve all got a pretty big edge on him in terms of innings capacities, so i’d give them the nod), they don’t have a legit ace yet. When Price puts it all together though, color me scared.

  12. I hope the snow’s not too bad–I’m supposed to move on Thursday

  13. Tom Zig says:

    I don’t have much of a problem with Buster’s rankings. But if you’re going to rank Boston #1 you should have a better write up than the one he did. I mean come on, he writes the word “if” 4 times. I can play that game too. If Joba becomes Don Drysdale and if Phil Hughes becomes Roger Clemens the Yankees will have legendary epic depth.

    • I also find it fishy that he includes Tim Wakefield as Boston’s #6 starter but doesn’t give us credit for one of Joba/Hughes/Gaudin as our 6th starter.

      Yankees top 5 >> Boston’s top 5
      Yankees top 6 >>>>> Boston’s top 6

      I’m sorry, Tim Wakefield does not scare me.

      • pete says:

        1-5 i can see the edge going to Boston.
        6-8 i would give to Tampa Bay.
        1-11 is Yanks hands down.

        1-11 is what matters.

        • DP says:

          I give Boston the edge 2-3, maaybe, and that’s it.

        • Yeah, Tampa is also another forgotten good rotation. With all the quality depth they’ve got, they’ll probably plug any hole that develops and have 5 solidly above average starters in their rotation all year long no matter what.

          If Garza and Shields bounce back from their down years a bit, they’ll be right there. Neimann/Davis/Price/Hellickson/Sonnanstine is a quality back-end rotation corps.

          • pete says:

            This is a pretty decent sized if, but if Garza and Shields bounce back, and Price bounces forward, they could have two legit #1s in Price and Garza, and a terrific #2 in Shields. If your #4 and #5 are whoever pitches the best out of Hellickson/Davis/Neimann/Sonnanstine/McGee, you’ve got a chance to be pretty friggin scary. I don’t think 2010 is going to be their year, but they’ve got a pretty real shot at being a 100-win club in 2011.

            • pete says:

              forgot to add: and for a few years after that.

              If they hadn’t traded Kazmir away they’d have the best rotation in baseball this year, hands down, IMO.

      • DP says:

        He pitches the knuckleball so he can pitch effectively til he’s 75. Also he’s a consummate teammate and a loyal soldier of Red Sox Nation.

        This is Peter Gammsdargrhg……*drools* *passes out*

      • GG2000 says:

        Tim Wakefield in his birthday suit … now THAT would scare me.

  14. Woo for no internship or classes tomorrow.

  15. Steve H says:

    Another fun fact about Daniel Bard, besides being inferior to Joba and Hughes, he’s older than them both.

  16. bexarama says:

    Today in “I enjoy laughing at this article in retrospect”:

    The first comment is gold, too:
    This is too funny. I called this one week ago. I said that A-ROID would struggle in this series and all the Yankee faithful got on me about how he is the GOAT and how he figured it out and how Philly’s pitching doesnt match up well against A-ROID. Who’s laughing now?
    A-Rod, 2009 WS, Games 1 and 2:
    0 for 8, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 6 K, .000/.000/.000/.000

    A-Rod, 2009 WS, Games 3, 4, 5, and 6:
    5 for 12, 1 HR, 3 2B, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 3 HBP, 2 K, 1 SB, .417/.611/.917/1.528

    A-Rod. That’s who’s laughing.

  17. T-Dubs says:

    Thought this was interesting:


    Makes me wonder what the lasting legacy of Selig will be.

    • bexarama says:

      Two days after the thrilling and inspiring 2001 World Series

      If by “inspiring” you mean “inspiring me to throw my shoe at the wall after Game 7,” then sure.

      I really do not like Selig, but…
      Helped to write the hagiographies of Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds. Perhaps they should have been fact checked first.
      They were very good players who accomplished pretty awesome things. What was he supposed to say, “We are seeing baseball history but these guys might be on steroids so don’t count it”?

      Made sure October baseball regularly ends in November.
      Twice, and the first time was due to a national tragedy. This year, yeah there was no excuse.

      Saw other sports praised for their parity; oversaw an uncapped league where one team regularly spends six times as much as others.

    • Makes me wonder what the lasting legacy of Selig will be.

      Ugly drab brown tweed suits?

    • Accent Shallow says:

      Doing what multiple wars and national crises couldn’t, and canceling the World Series?
      Funneling money to scumbags like Jeffrey Loria?
      Threatening contraction on viable franchises like the Twins?
      Running the Brewers like a family restaurant?
      Spiderman bases?
      Acting as an advocate for the owners, rather than the best interests of the game?

      What else? His statue’s only fit for pissing on — or worse.

  18. JobaWockeeZ says:

    Remember last year who had the absolutely greatest rotation in the history of mankind for the postseason?


    • bexarama says:

      So while Beckett may have lost a little feel for the breaking ball, would you bet against him in October? “There’s something inside that guy,” said the same exec. “When the big lights go on, he likes being out there.”

      Him getting outpitched by Jeff freaking Weaver was absolutely delicious.

      • JGS says:

        Jered. Not quite as sweet, but still awesome

      • pete says:

        well, to be fair, he didn’t say he was always good in those spots. just that he likes being out there. and since the game is all about having fun, that’s what really matters.

        • JGS says:

          Look, he was excellent in the 2003 playoffs and downright Sabathian in 2007, hence his reputation

          since then? a 7.71 ERA, 1.619 WHIP and opposing OPS of 1.015

          • bexarama says:

            Look, he was excellentthrew a complete game shutout against the Yankees in the 2003 playoffs and downright Sabathian was on the Red Sox in 2007, hence his reputation

            (Not arguing they weren’t crazy dominant performances that he should get a lot of credit for, but if he’d done what he did against the Twins in the World Series, he wouldn’t have this GREATEST POSTSEASON PITCHAH EVAHHHH reputation. It happened to Randy Johnson, it happened to Curt Schilling, it happened to Cliff Lee.)

            • JGS says:

              I think Beckett would have–a lot of guys have had great postseason runs and subsequently been eh (see Hamels, Cole) but once you have two dominating postseasons you get that reputation (Schilling, Beckett, never noticed that Johnson had a special October rep, he was always just scary good)

              and Lee was that good, it wasn’t just doing it to the Yankees. He (briefly) took the postseason ERA record from Mo before the Yanks touched him up in Game 5

              • bexarama says:

                Fair enough, and I saw Lee be completely ridiculous in the other rounds. That game he pitched against the Dodgers, Jesus.

                Funny that they kept talking about how bad Damon had been career-wise vs. Lee, though, because Jeter, Tex, A-Rod, and Posada were sporting, respectively, a .985, 1.157, 1.183, and .939 OPS against him in 30, 26, 20, and 22 PA. Obviously no one was touching him in Game 1 of the WS, though (except sort of Jeter).

      • Accent Shallow says:

        Beckett: just like sabermetricians have blind spots, so do scouts. I remember a poll of scouts in ’07/’08 that asked who the best pitcher in baseball was — Beckett got a plurality, which is just wild. Best stuff, maybe, but best pitcher? Not a damn chance. The man has had one (1) Cy Young worthy season ever.

    • JGS says:

      Buchholz, [...] and who has been so good that the Red Sox haven’t lost a game he started since Aug. 13 (eight starts ago)

      that included a 4.2-inning-7-run bed-shitting that the Sox won 12-8

  19. pat says:

    Does anybody know.. did they play a new Lost from 8-9? Or was it an old one?

  20. pat says:

    HOLY SHIT, IT’S MAC!!!!!!!

  21. pat says:


  22. belg says:

    Scary lineup.


  23. belg says:

    Rodriguez, Teix and everyone else.


    • Tom Zig says:

      use the reply button

    • pete says:

      Position by position offensive breakdown:

      C: Posada >>>> Navarro
      1B: Teixeira >> Pena
      2B: Cano > Zobrist (longer track record)
      SS: Jeter >>> Zobrist
      3B: A-Rod > Longoria
      LF: Crawford >>> Yanks’ combo
      CF: Granderson > Upton (upton’s got crazy potential, but has yet to really put it all together)
      RF: Swisher > Jennings (offensively, quite possibly not for long)
      DH: Johnson >> Burrell


    • bexarama says:

      Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson, Nick Swisher = suck, obvs.

  24. bexarama says:

    What’s the best advanced defensive stats available from prior to 2002, when UZR got introduced?

  25. Manimal says:

    Vazquez with a 4.7 WAR is a joke… he was NOT the second best pitcher of all of those put into the charts.

    • pete says:

      well his numbers were probably a tad inflated due to the league switch. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he turns out to be the Yanks’ 2nd best pitcher next year. I don’t expect him to be much better than Burnett, if at all, but he’ll definitely be better than Andy at this point, and there’s no guarantee that Joba will pitch better than Javy does in 2010.

  26. Big Juan says:

    Fantasy baseball — 5×5 roto league: what would you use?

    I don’t want the regular stats this year. I’m most likely subbing quality starts for wins and OPS for AVG.

  27. Matt says:

    No Seattle?

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