In light of the imminent arrival of pitchers and catchers to Florida and Arizona I decided to write about pitching, and more specifically, starting pitching. As I alluded to in my previous post, every starter in a rotation has the ability to contribute as much as his fellow starters. The designation of #1 starter or #5 starter usually tells us something about a pitcher's value, but both the #1 and #5 starter in every rotation have equal opportunities to contribute.
This off-season a number of high quality starting pitchers changed teams including C.J Wilson (Rangers to Angels), Mark Buehrle (White Sox to Marlins), Edwin Jackson (Cardinals to Nationals), Gio Gonzalez (A's to Nats), and Matt Latos (Padres to Reds). Recently the trend in Major League Baseball has been to compile an elite set of starters in order to achieve success. Examples include the Phillies, Giants, Braves, and Rays. No matter how a general manager accomplishes this goal, putting together a great rotation instead of a star studded lineup has become the norm.
No division compiled more starting pitching in the last 3 years than the National League East. Whether by trade, free agency, or through the draft, the NL East is chock-full or great starters.
F-strike%) the Phillies decided to allow the now older and more injury prone Roy Oswalt to test the free agent waters. This makes their rotation younger and less expensive, especially since both Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels will be making considerably more money in 2012 than in 2011. Rounding out the rotation is Joe Blanton. Blanton spent almost the entire 2011 season on the disabled list, but was integral to the Phillies' World Series runs in 2008 and 2009 and, like Worley, should provide the Phillies with 5 strike-throwing starting pitchers. Last season the Phillies 5 starting pitchers compiled a WAR of 28.8 utilizing Fangraphs' version of WAR. In comparison the 2011 Marlins starters compiled a measly 15.5 total WAR. The Phillies should be pleased with their rotation going into the 2012 season as it, along with the Giants rotation, is one of the top 2 rotations in the NL.
|If the Nats are to win Strasburg is the key|
|Maybe Mr. Met should pitch|
Overall, the NL East could be one of if not the best pitching divisions in Major League Baseball, but nothing is certain until they play the games. Ranking these rotations isn't easy but I'm up for a challenge. #1 Phillies #2 Nationals #3 Braves #4 Marlins #5 Mets. The Marlins have the most potential to move up this list while the Braves and Nats have the most potential to move down. One fact is certain, the battle for NL East supremacy will be a fight to the finish.