The starting pitching depth in the AL East

Given the success of the young starting pitchers on our divisional rivals who have made the Yankees look silly for the last three games, I wanted to take a quick look at how the starting pitchers on all five teams in the AL East have fared this season to see if there were any interesting conclusions to be drawn. I included almost every pitcher who has started a game for the Orioles, Red Sox, Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays, with the exception of starters I assumed aren’t going to figure into their teams’ respective starting mixes after this season (i.e. Dustin Moseley, etc.)

Feel free to click here for a more comprehensive data table.

AL East Starter Team IP ERA FIP xFIP fWAR
Jon Lester BOS 182.0 3.26 3.09 3.26 5.0
CC Sabathia NYY 209.0 3.14 3.63 3.86 4.0
Ricky Romero TOR 187.0 3.51 3.59 3.75 3.7
David Price TBR 178.2 2.87 3.50 4.02 3.7
Brandon Morrow TOR 146.1 4.49 3.19 3.65 3.6
Clay Buchholz BOS 151.2 2.25 3.62 4.19 3.2
John Lackey BOS 183.0 style="border-left: medium none; border-top: medium none;">4.48 4.02 4.48 3.0
Shaun Marcum TOR 170.0 3.55 3.86 3.87 2.8
Brett Cecil TOR 153.0 3.76 3.93 4.21 2.4
Matt Garza TBR 176.2 3.48 4.17 4.42 2.2
Daisuke Matsuzaka BOS 128.1 4.70 4.05 4.64 2.1
Brian Matusz BAL 156.2 4.71 4.24 4.64 2.0
James Shields TBR 175.2 4.95 4.25 3.69 2.0
Phil Hughes NYY 155.2 4.29 5.55 4.36 1.9
Andy Pettitte NYY 115.2 2.88 3.96 4.05 1.8
Jeremy Guthrie BAL 183.0 3.89 4.48 4.93 1.8
Josh Beckett BOS 102.0 5.91 4.17 3.87 1.5
A.J. Burnett NYY 164.1 5.15 4.67 4.64 1.2
Tim Wakefield BOS 126.2 5.49 4.47 5.08 1.2
Kevin Millwood BAL 165.2 5.38 4.92 4.72 0.9
Jeff Niemann TBR 151.1 4.28 4.78 4.41 0.9
Jeremy Hellickson TBR 29.2 2.05 2.76 3.43 0.7
Brad Bergesen BAL 136.2 5.54 5.33 4.96 0.5
Wade Davis TBR 139.1 4.39 5.11 4.94 0.3
Felix Doubront BOS 25.0 4.11 3.37 5.23 0.3
David Hernandez BAL 69.2 5.31 5.49 6.11 0.3
Jake Arrieta BAL 94.1 4.96 4.94 5.48 0.2
Ivan Nova NYY 18.2 3.45 4.25 4.16 0.2
Marc Rzepczynski TOR 35.1 6.82 5.23 4.93 0.1
Javier Vazquez NYY 143.2 5.23 4.24 4.84 -0.1
Chris Tillman BAL 30.1 7.42 5.87 5.35 -0.1

In terms of fWAR, Toronto has four(!) pitchers in the top ten through yesterday’s (September 7, 2010) games, Boston has three, Tampa Bay has two, and the Yankees one. Jon Lester, unsuprisingly, is awesome. So is CC Sabathia. The fact that Brandon Morrow has accumulated 3.6 WAR in less than 150 innings is crazy, and super props have to be given to Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulous for somehow nabbing Morrow for Brandon League, who has posted 0.4 WAR in relief for Seattle this season, and minor leaguer Johermyn Chavez. That right there may have been the most lopsided trade of last offseason.

Brian Matusz has pitched on essentially the same level as Phil Hughes in the same number of innings. Jeremy Hellickson has been a beast in an incredibly short period of time, accumulating 0.7 WAR in a scant 29.2 innings. And Javier Vazquez and Chris Tillman have been terrible.

In any event, I suppose the primary thing this table does is reinforce our recent discussion about Toronto’s impressive starting pitching, but it also underscores the considerable depth of the Yankees’ division rivals’ rotations. And if nothing else, in case anyone had any lingering doubts this data pretty much 100% guarantees that the Yankees will have no choice but to do whatever it takes to sign Cliff Lee this offseason.

One thought on “The starting pitching depth in the AL East

  1. […] certainly headed into battle with worse, and you’d be a fool to expect the AL East — featuring some of the best young starting pitching on the planet – to be anything but perhaps the fiercest dogfight the division has ever […]

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