Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rotation Rankings: Week 2

Week two of our Rotation Rankings: the statistical ranking of every rotation in MLB. For a better explanation, check out last week's rankings (also shown as LW). More a fan of offense? Check out our Leadoff Rankings, based on every teams first and second batters. 

G: Games; ERA: Earned Run Average; WHIP: (Walks + Hits)/Innings Pitched; GS: Game Score; K/BB: Strikeout-to-walk ratio; K/9: Strikeouts per nine innings

30. (LW: 29) Boston Red Sox (2-9, 5th AL East)
This Week: 2-3, 5.51 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 48.0 GS, 2.54 K/BB, 9.09 K/9
Season Stats: 2-7, 6.83 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 42.2 GS, 1.80 K/BB, 6.98 K/9
Well, the Red Sox are in last place in just about everything, aren't they?  I guess last night's rainout was a fortunate for them and they're 6.83 rotation ERA.  Daisuke Matsuzaka is the biggest culprit, giving up seven earned runs in two innings Monday night to the Rays.

29. (LW: 30) Houston Astros (3-9, 6th NL Central)
This Week: 2-2, 3.98 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 50.1 GS, 2.23 K/BB, 6.07 K/9
Season Stats: 2-6, 6.02 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 41.8 GS, 1.88 K/BB, 6.02 K/9 
You know, the Astros lineup really isn't that bad. And Brett Myers is trying, he really really is--he's got a nice 1-0 record with a 1.77 ERA in three starts for Houston, including what should have been an opening day home victory over the Phillies before the bullpen blew it. This week was actually not that bad for Houston, but other than Myers and a fairly promising J.A. Happ, there's not much to look forward to in terms of who shows up on the Astros "probable starter" that day.

28. (LW: 17) Chicago Cubs (6-6, 3rd NL Central)
This Week: 3-2, 7.72 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, 37.8 GS, 2.23 K/BB, 8.61 K/9
Season Stats: 4-4, 5.80 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 44.7 GS, 2.65 K/BB, 8.69 K/9
Matt Garza (0-1, 5.68 ERA) has been underwhelming in his first two starts, and in that sense he's paced the Cubbies rotation perfectly. Carlos Zambrano picked up a win yesterday despite giving up 5 runs in 5.2 innings, not exactly a good recipe for success--the Cubs need someone to start acting like an ace, and it needs to happen quickly.

(For number 27 all the way to #1, hit the jump!)

27. (LW: 20) Arizona Diamondbacks (5-6, 5th NL West)
This Week: 2-3, 7.03 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 41.0 GS, 1.85 K/BB, 7.31 K/9
Season Stats: 3-5, 5.85 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 44.8 GS, 1.67 K/BB, 6.43 K/9 
Ian Kennedy put up a lovely game score of 8 against the Cardinals yesterday, giving up nine earned runs in just three innings. That pretty much sums up the week for the Diamondbacks, though it did start off well--a Kennedy victory over the Reds in which he gave up only one run in eight innings.

26. (LW: 24) New York Mets (4-7, 5th NL East)
This Week: 1-3, 5.94 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 45.5 GS, 1.94 K/BB, 8.37 K/9
Season Stats: 3-4, 5.59 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 45.8 GS, 1.76 K/BB, 7.91 K/9 
The Mets have been striking batters out at a good clip this year (7.91 K/9), but they've also been walking them pretty frequently: 4.50 BB/9. Jon Niese had a particularly tough week, giving up 15 hits and 11 runs in 10 innings in losses to the Phillies and Rockies.

25. (LW: 26) Minnesota Twins (4-7, 5th AL Central)
This Week: 1-4, 4.63 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 47.7 GS, 1.58 K/BB, 4.89 K/9
Season Stats: 2-7, 5.52 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 45.1 GS, 1.45 K/BB, 5.52 K/9
Francisco Liriano has been....well, he's been pretty bad. Once the most promising rookie pitcher in baseball, he's now 0-3 with a 9.42 ERA heading up the Twins rotation. At least Carl Pavano (8 IP, 1 ER vs. OAK) showed signs of life after a poor first start against the Blue Jays.

24. (LW: 11) New York Yankees (6-4, 1st AL East)
This Week: 2-1, 6.29 ERA, 1.97 WHIP, 39.8 GS, 1.31 K/BB, 6.29 K/9
Season Stats: 4-2, 5.16 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 46.3 GS, 2.00 K/BB, 6.88 K/9
Only the Orioles and the Cubs had a worse starters' ERA this week than the Yankees, but neither of them had the ugly 1.97 WHIP as well.  Phil Hughes has give up at least five earned runs in both starts so far this season, in only six combined innings, which should be cause for concern in the Bronx.

23. (LW: 28) Detroit Tigers (5-7, 4th AL Central)
This Week: 1-3, 3.83 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 51.7 GS, 1.75 K/BB, 5.64 K/9
Season Stats: 2-5, 5.43 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 47.2 GS, 2.00 K/BB, 7.15 K/9 
Only one start this week for Justin Verlander, who went the distance against the Rangers but took the loss, giving up two runs in the full nine innings. Max Scherzer chipped in two quality starts but the rotation is still held back by his and Brad Penny's awful Week One starts (14 earned runs in 9.1 combined innings).

22. (LW: 22) Kansas City Royals (7-4, 2nd AL Central)
This Week: 3-1, 5.02 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 48.2 GS, 3.13 K/BB, 7.85 K/9
Season Stats: 3-2, 5.04 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 46.1 GS, 2.75 K/BB, 6.16 K/9
Not a good week for Kyle Davies, who went 1-1 despite giving up 10 runs in 8.2 innings, to go along with 22 baserunners in that same span, for a lovely personal WHIP of 2.53. If you take that into consideration, the rest of the Royals rotation didn't really do too poorly, which makes sense given the winning record. Good thing the offseason get of Melky Cabrera is paying off thus far for KC's offense.

21. (LW: 19) Tampa Bay Rays (3-8, 4th AL East)
This Week: 2-3, 4.55 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 45.3 GS, 0.79 K/BB, 2.94 K/9
Season Stats: 2-8, 4.77 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 48.1 GS, 2.00 K/BB, 5.73 K/9  
Most troubling for the Rays this week--and for the whole season, frankly--was their strikeout numbers.  They posted the lowest K/BB ratio in baseball in week two, and only the Rays and the Pirates had a K/BB figure under 1.30.  Don't forget about the 2-8 starters' record, either.

20. (LW: 21) Florida Marlins (6-5, 2nd NL East)
This Week: 1-1, 4.42 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 48.5 GS, 3.71 K/BB, 6.38 K/9
Season Stats: 4-3, 4.41 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 47.6 GS, 2.00 K/BB, 5.97 K/9
Two mediocre weeks have the Marlins stuck near the bottom of a clustered pack of rotations in the middle of the rankings. The low K/BB ratio holds them back, as does the fact that some of the teams ranked above them (Phillies, Dodgers) had clearly better weeks and are trending upwards. Josh Johnson had a nice start yesterday, though he threw too many pitches (109 in 7.1 IP) to have a real shot at a no-hitter.

19. (LW: 8) Seattle Mariners (4-8, 4th AL West)
This Week: 1-3, 6.21 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 41.7 GS, 3.75 K/BB, 8.10 K/9
Season Stats: 2-7, 4.46 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 48.9 GS, 3.73 K/BB, 6.94 K/9
The Mariners are the only AL West team not in the top five of these rankings, so it's probably no coincidence that they're in last place.  Three Mariners starters (Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, and Jason Vargas) gave up at least six runs in the past week, each time effectively taking their team out of the game early.

18. (LW: 25) Philadelphia Phillies (8-3, 1st NL East)
This Week: 4-2, 3.29 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 56.0 GS, 4.13 K/BB, 7.75 K/9
Season Stats: 6-3, 4.62 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 51.6 GS, 5.00 K/BB, 9.09 K/9 
A nice jump up the rankings, though 18th overall is still far below where many thought the Phillies starters would be at any point in the season. Roy Halladay (3-0, 1.23 ERA) is up to his usual tricks, but the other three aces have yet to really dominate any particular game. Cole Hamels has come the closest, shutting down Atlanta for seven innings back on Sunday while striking out eight to get his first of the year.

17. (LW: 10) St. Louis Cardinals (5-7, 5th NL Central)
This Week: 3-1, 4.11 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 47.7 GS, 1.93 K/BB, 6.94 K/9
Season Stats: 4-3, 4.00 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 50.6 GS, 2.44 K/BB, 7.39 K/9
Really bad WHIP for the Cardinals this week also hurts the K/BB ratio, even though the Ks/9 aren't too bad overall. Chris Carpenter was solid in his first two starts, but got hammered on Wednesday against Arizona, giving up eight earned in four innings for a lovely WHIP of 2.75--one of three starts this week where a Cardinal starter had a WHIP of two or higher.

16. (LW: 18) Los Angeles Dodgers (6-6, 2nd NL West)
This Week: 2-2, 3.47 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 51.8 GS, 2.45 K/BB, 6.69 K/9
Season Stats: 5-5, 4.11 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 51.6 GS, 3.28 K/BB, 7.59 K/9
Hiroki Kuroda gave the Dodgers rotation a huge boost last Saturday, coming one out away from a complete-game shutout as he shut down the Padres (a recurring theme this week). Kuroda needed the same number of pitches in 8.2 innings as Clayton Kershaw needed two nights later in two innings fewer--117.

15. (LW: 1) Baltimore Orioles (6-4, 1st AL East)
This Week: 1-3, 7.33 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 40.2 GS, 1.56 K/BB, 5.40 K/9
Season Stats: 4-4, 3.91 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 51.7 GS, 1.80 K/BB, 6.11 K/9 
The Orioles were the clear-cut winners in our first Rotation Rankings, but they've fallen squarely into the middle of the pack.  The 1.21 ERA and 0.83 WHIP of last week is ancient history after posting a 7.33 ERA and 1.63 WHIP this week. Rookie Zach Britton continues to shine, however (7.2 IP, 0 R vs. Texas), and a rainout two days ago cost him a second start this week--which could have really helped the Orioles in this ranking.

14. (LW: 9) Cincinnati Reds (8-4, 1st NL Central)
This Week: 2-1, 4.12 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 52.0 GS, 2.71 K/BB, 8.70 K/9
Season Stats: 6-1, 4.22 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 53.3 GS, 2.91 K/BB, 8.57 K/9
Travis Wood had a tough start back on April 8th, giving up six runs in five innings to the Diamondbacks. He fixed his problem though, giving up one run in 6.2 IP last night against the not-very-good-hitting Padres. Amazingly, and despite some pretty good starts, not one Reds starter has thrown 100 pitches in a game yet this year.

13. (LW: 5) Pittsburgh Pirates (5-6, 4th NL Central)
This Week: 0-2, 5.46 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 43.2 GS, 0.82 K/BB, 2.89 K/9
Season Stats: 3-2, 3.64 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 49.7 GS, 0.93 K/BB, 3.78 K/9
Not a great week two after a solid start from the Buccos, getting just one quality start all week--seven innings from Charlie Morton against the Rockies. To be fair, they played just five games this week, though the "blah"-ness of the pitching this week might have been slightly contagious. The strikeout-to-walk ratio is a huge concern going forward, as is the still-high WHIP. Don't expect to see the Pirates in the top-15 for very much longer.

12. (LW: 13) Washington Nationals (5-6, 3rd NL East)
This Week: 2-2, 4.20 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 50.7 GS, 3.78 K/BB, 8.91 K/9
Season Stats: 3-4, 3.86 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 50.4 GS, 2.50 K/BB, 6.43 K/9 
Washington's managed to stay the 2nd-best rotation in the NL East for another week of the season, getting decent performances from Livan Hernandez (7 IP, 1 ER) and John Lannan (6 IP, 2 ER) against the Phillies to keep the ERA respectable. Good strikeout numbers too, especially against the Mets (20 Ks in 18.2 IP). 

11. (LW: 3) San Francisco Giants (6-6, 3rd NL West)
This Week: 1-2, 4.81 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 47.8 GS, 1.75 K/BB, 7.35 K/9
Season Stats: 2-5, 3.56 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 53.3 GS, 2.37 K/BB, 8.43 K/9 
That's far too low a strikeout-to-walk ratio for a rotation that includes Tim Lincecum (career: 3.2 K/BB), Matt Cain (3.3 K/BB), and Jonathan Sanchez (4.6 K/BB). Probably just a bad week, as Lincecum only went 5.2 against the Dodgers while striking out just four. If the strikeouts go back up, the ERAs will fall back down again.

10. (LW: 14) Colorado Rockies (8-2, 1st NL West)
This Week: 3-0, 3.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 52.7 GS, 1.46 K/BB, 4.75 K/9
Season Stats: 6-0, 3.49 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 52.5 GS, 1.55 K/BB, 4.70 K/9 
The Rockies played a couple of decent lineups in their home ballparks this week in the Pirates and Mets; going without a loss while putting together a pretty good WHIP signifies a good week indeed. No great starts here, but the Rockies rotation is keeping them in the game, and it's working.

9. (LW: 27) Cleveland Indians (8-4, 1st AL Central)
This Week: 4-1, 1.85 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 65.3 GS, 2.38 K/BB, 7.03 K/9
Season Stats: 6-3, 3.64 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 54.8 GS, 2.04 K/BB, 6.46 K/9
Every single Indians starter threw a quality game (defined as a 50 or higher game score), with the "worst" performance being Carlos Carrasco's seven-inning, three-run performance yesterday against the Angels in which he didn't get a decision. If not for that atrocious first start by Fausto Carmona (10 runs in three innings), this rotation would be a few slots higher.

8. (LW: 6) Atlanta Braves (5-7, 4th NL East)
This Week: 2-4, 3.69 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 51.2 GS, 2.14 K/BB, 3.46 K/9
Season Stats: 3-7, 3.39 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 53.0 GS, 2.15 K/BB, 5.40 K/9 
One of two rotations in the NL East that was expected to be top-10 in the majors, the Braves put up a pretty good 3.69 ERA but still managed to lose four games; one of those, for example, was a seven-inning, two-run loss by Derek Lowe against the Phillies.

7. (LW: 16) Toronto Blue Jays (6-6, 3rd AL East)
This Week: 0-2, 2.46 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 55.7 GS, 2.00 K/BB, 7.36 K/9
Season Stats: 3-3, 3.13 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 53.8 GS, 2.42 K/BB, 7.88 K/9
Though they didn't manage to record a win all week, the Blue Jays' rotation held opponents to two runs or fewer in six of seven games.  The lone exception was Brett Cecil's five-run, ten-hit clunker on Saturday in Anaheim. Kyle Drabek (1-0, 1.93 ERA in three starts) looks to be the real deal.

6. (LW: 12) Milwaukee Brewers (6-5, 2nd NL Central)
This Week: 3-1, 2.32 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 55.6 GS, 2.67 K/BB, 6.97 K/9
Season Stats: 5-3, 3.07 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 52.1 GS, 2.09 K/BB, 6.15 K/9
Pitching to a lower ERA but a slightly higher WHIP, the Brewers only played five games this week and managed to avoid any atrocious starts. Chris Narveson had the game of the week for the Brew Crew, going seven strong, scattering six hits without letting in a run against the Cubs.

5. (LW: 15) San Diego Padres (5-6, 4th NL West)
This Week: 1-2, 2.61 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 53.7 GS, 1.64 K/BB, 5.23 K/9
Season Stats: 3-3, 2.97 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 52.5 GS, 1.68 K/BB, 4.75 K/9 
The return of ace Mat Latos wasn't the only good thing to happen to the Friars this week; getting four quality starts in a row against the Dodgers and Reds was nice as well (even though the Padres managed to lose two of them). Still, the overall numbers aren't great here, especially the strikeout numbers: batting average of balls in play could come back to haunt these guys.

4. (LW: 23) Chicago White Sox (7-5, 3rd AL Central)
This Week: 3-0, 1.85 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 65.4 GS, 3.00 K/BB, 7.77 K/9
Season Stats: 5-1, 3.09 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 57.7 GS, 2.67 K/BB, 7.32 K/9
Small sample sizes early in the season can lead to big jumps in the rankings, and the White Sox rotation had an impressive week, going without a loss. They got at least six innings in six out of seven starts, with the big key coming from Mark Buehrle's 8-inning, no-run performance against Oakland (in a game he didn't even get the W).

3. (LW: 2) Los Angeles Angels (7-5, 2nd AL West)
This Week: 2-2, 3.27 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 59.3 GS, 2.71 K/BB, 8.27 K/9
Season Stats: 5-2, 3.04 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 59.3 GS, 2.95 K/BB, 7.95 K/9 
It's hard to believe, but the Angels' rotation was actually slipping this week, with two pitchers (Tyler Chatwood and Matt Palmer) giving up four earned runs in a game.  Dan Haren's one-hitter helped all the numbers a bit, though, and the Angels' rotation is still the envy of 26 other teams.

2. (LW: 7) Oakland Athletics (6-6, 3rd AL West)
This Week: 3-1, 2.37 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 58.1 GS, 4.25 K/BB, 6.70 K/9
Season Stats: 4-2, 2.53 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 56.7 GS, 2.95 K/BB, 6.43 K/9
Their rotation's 2.53 ERA is second-best in baseball, and the 4.25 K/BB ratio this past week is downright filthy.  On the season, A's starters have walked only 19 batters in 78.1 innings, and only twice (Dallas Braden and Trevor Cahill) have they given up more than two earned runs in a game.

1. (LW: 4) Texas Rangers (9-3, 1st AL West)
This Week: 3-1, 2.27 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 58.8 GS, 1.91 K/BB, 5.30 K/9
Season Stats: 8-1, 2.46 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 57.7 GS, 2.27 K/BB, 6.14 K/9
Though the Rangers' offense has started to fall asleep after a fast start, their rotation is as hot as ever.  Three different starters (Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando, and Matt Bush) this week did not allow a run in their outing, and only twice all season has a Rangers starter failed to complete six innings. You think this is a pitcher's division or what??

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