Revisiting AL East Position Rankings: Pitching - Page 2 of 4 -

Paul Folkemer

Revisiting AL East Position Rankings: Pitching


Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon


April rankings:

  1. Blue Jays
  2. Red Sox
  3. Rays
  4. Yankees
  5. Orioles

Let’s get the most obvious ranking out of the way first — the Orioles’ starting rotation was unequivocally the worst, not just in the division but in all of baseball. The starters’ 5.70 ERA was dead last in MLB and the worst in franchise history.

It’s funny to think that in April, I thought it would be a two-team race between the Orioles and the Yankees for the worst rotation in the division. So, I was half right! And half incredibly wrong. The Yankees finished 2017 with the best rotation ERA in the AL East at 3.98.

To further prove that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I wrote in April that the only reason the Yankees were better than the Orioles was that they had “a bona fide ace, the stellar Masahiro Tanaka.” So, of course, Tanaka ended up as the worst starter in the Yankees’ regular rotation (4.74 ERA). Their true ace (pictured above) was Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98), while veteran CC Sabathia and rookie Jordan Montgomery also contributed ERAs below 4.00.

You could make an argument for the Red Sox as the best rotation in the division, thanks to the Cy Young-caliber efforts of Chris Sale (17-8, 2.90 ERA and MLB-leading 308 strikeouts) and a strong season from lefty Drew Pomeranz (17-6, 3.32). But Boston didn’t have as much success elsewhere in the rotation, with 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello regressing to a 4.65 ERA.

The Rays always seem to have a solid rotation, regardless of whether the rest of their team is any good, and 2017 was no exception. Their four most-used starters — Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi and Blake Snell — all had better than league-average ERAs, and rookie Jacob Faria posted a 3.43 ERA in 16 games.

My April ranking of the Blue Jays as No. 1 ended up being a massive overestimate. On paper, they entered the season with five strong starters, but only Marcus Stroman stayed healthy and effective all year. J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez missed time with injuries — with Sanchez’s blistered finger limiting him to eight starts — while Marco Estrada and especially Francisco Liriano struggled.

End-of-season rankings:

  1. Yankees
  2. Red Sox
  3. Rays
  4. Blue Jays
  5. Orioles




    October 19, 2017 at 9:18 am

    I would have been tempted to rank the Orioles starting pitching ninth in a five-team division.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 19, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      As high as ninth?

  2. Bancells Moustache

    October 19, 2017 at 10:33 am

    No fools being made here Paul, its ultimately guesswork, and it’s not like you said Gausman would be a Cy Young finalist or anything… (sad trombone)

    I feel redeemed about something today. There were several incidences this season where Showalter would come out and argue the dread “non-reviewable” call and come up empty handed. In every one of these instances, there was an enormous video screen installed somewhere in the outfield that everyone in the stadium, including the umpires, could see in high definition. And never once did Buck simply point to the replay being shown in living color 50 feet high and say “Look!”. Last night, the well spectacled and stubbled Joe Maddon did exactly this, proving that , while his reputation for being the smartest guy in the room may be overblown, he at least has more common sense than your typical baseball manager.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 20, 2017 at 9:03 am

      I’m definitely a fan of Maddon and how he runs a team. But there are some within the game that get rankled by that mad genius persona.

  3. willmiranda

    October 20, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Just like to say I enjoyed this littles series. Nice mix of fact, feeling, and fun about a topic we can all relate to but don’t take the time to think out for ourselves. The before and after was a good context and the reasoning gave good points for agreement or disagreement.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 21, 2017 at 12:01 am

      Appreciate you reading, WM. Paul does a nice job with these. And all he does for us.

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