Jayson Stark (ESPN) tried his hand at ranking postseason rotations and placed the Yankees at number 4 on his list. The (1) Red Sox, (2) Cardinals, and (3) Phillies are the three teams that sit above the Yankees in Stark’s piece. Here’s what he had to say about the New York rotation.
Prospective rotation: 1) CC Sabathia, 2) Andy Pettitte, 3) A.J. Burnett, 4) Joba Chamberlain or Chad Gaudin.
This team might have been our toughest call. We polled folks who rated them as the very best rotation out there. We also polled folks who ranked them as the fifth-best rotation out there. But we think, in truth, they’re somewhere in between.
“I like the Yankees because of depth,” said one executive. “Someone in that foursome could very well disappoint, but anyone in that foursome has a decent chance of pitching a dominant game.”
True. And that starts with Sabathia, whose 8.53 ERA over the past two postseasons is a stat most people in the game don’t take real seriously. “The last two years, he was worn completely down by the time he got there [by the Indians in '07 and the Brewers in '08],” said one NL executive. “That’s not who he is.”
But after CC, roll those dice. It’s amazing how little faith Burnett (2-5 since Aug. 1) inspires for a guy with spectacular stuff. (“I’d be very surprised,” said one scout, “if Burnett comes up big.”) The Yankees think Pettitte’s shoulder is OK, but who knows? And then there’s Joba, who has the Yankees so exasperated that they’ve told him he’ll have to outpitch Gaudin down the stretch if he even wants to get a postseason start.
So this is a very iffy group — but one with gigantic win-the-World-Series upside.
For once, I actually agree with what Stark and co. have to say (amazingly).
The rotation is a bit “iffy” given Pettitte’s shoulder and the inconsistencies we’ve seen from Burnett and Joba/Gaudin this season. However, the ability to dominate is definitely there. In fact, I would argue that the Yankees have the best rotation in terms of inherent talent, which certainly goes a long way in the playoffs.
What do you think about Stark’s list? Should the Yankees be higher (or lower, even)? What about the Sox, should they be lower?