Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Aces

Believe it or not, we don't have any more of the position spots set in stone. I don't see Swisher or Nady getting traded but I don't want to do a whole post and then have to start all over again so I`m going to play it safe. In addition, Boston doesn't know who their catcher is yet and I`m still not quite sure what to do with centerfield. So, its on to the rotation for now. First up is the team's aces.

Yankees- C. C. Sabathia- Its nice to not have to fit Wang into this spot anymore. He`s a good pitcher and passable ace but not on the same level as Sabathia, Santana, Halladay, Peavy, and a few others which you need in the AL East. Anyway, in Sabathia we have either the best or second best pitcher in baseball (Roy Halladay is the other guy). I already did a super long post on Sabathia so I`ll condense it here. He`s been worth 4, 5, and 7 wins over the past three years which his RCA going down every year and his IP going up every year. The only concern with him is injury and I`ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that for now.

Red Sox- Josh Beckett- I honestly didn't know who to put as Boston's ace right away. I think Boston is planning on having Beckett as their Opening Day starter though so that's what I`m going with for now. Beckett actually had a pretty poor 2008 with a 4.02 RCA in 169 innings. That's very good but not ace like. I`m not sure why that's so far off from his FIP but it almost exactly matches his ERA. This is a pretty sharp contrast to his 2007 when he had a 2.88 RCA in 200 innings. Then, if you go back another year the see-sawing continues. In his first year in Boston, he had an RCA of 4.26 with 207 innings pitched. Bizarre. The best I can make of this is that Beckett is a good pitcher who had one incredible year that probably won't be replicated.

Tampa Bay- James Shields- After so many years of suffering through Michael Kay telling us that if the Rays could just get some solid pitching behind Kazmir they`d be a contender he was agonizingly proven right. Not only did they get some solid guys behind Kazmir, they found somebody better than him. Shields didn't really become effective until 2006 when he turned 26 (take that Hughes haters) but now he`s one of the better pitchers in baseball. He had a 3.71 RCA last year in 211 innings and the year before he had an RCA of 3.41 in 213 innings. He`s still fairly young and his peak years so theirs no reason to expect him to suddenly stop. The sudden increase in his innings may end up being a problem but if he hasn't gotten hurt yet then I think you need to give him a pass there.

Conclusion- Yankees- Rays- Red Sox- I think the Yanks come out ahead here pretty easily. Sabathia is really in that top top tier of pitchers which Beckett and Shields aren't at. How Beckett does this year should be interesting. If he has another 2006 or 2008 year then it might be time to start calling 2007 an outlier. However, if he has another ace type year then we also need to adjust our opinions of him. Shields also has the potential for a big year though and has already established himself as consistently being a front of the rotation guy. Keep in mind that I`m doing this in the order that the teams seem to be setting up their rotations. Not who is best, otherwise Lester may have been ahead of Beckett. It also means Joba is the #5 guy to limit his innings.