Ranking AL East Starting Pitchers

Our week long series of ranking every position in the AL East with the starting pitchers continues.

Starting Pitcher #1

1. C.C. Sabathia, NYY

2. Jon Lester, BOS

3. David Price, TB

4. Ricky Romero, TOR

5. Zach Britton, BAL

Sabathia gets the edge over Lester due to being an absolute workhorse. Sabathia has averaged 226 innings per year compared to 211 for Lester over a much longer career. Sabathia has also outperformed Lester the last two years, with Lester being a big reason for Boston’s collapse last season. Last season, Sabathia had a 7.1 WAR and Lester had a 3.7 WAR. Price had a bit of a down year last year going 12-13, with a 3.49 ERA, and a 1.13 WHIP. However, with his outstanding fastball and slider he should bounce back fine. Romero had a fabulous season last year going 15-11, with a 2.92 ERA, and a 1.13 WHIP. Despite having a lesser year I will take Price in the long run over Romero. Britton came out firing for the O’s but fell off drastically. The Orioles at #5 on these pitching lists will be a pattern. 

Starting Pitcher # 2

1. James Shields, TB

2. Josh Beckett, BOS

3. Michael Pineda, NYY

4. Brandon Morrow, TOR

5. Jason Hammel, BAL

It was a close call for 1st, but Shields gets the nod due to how Beckett ended the year and the bad shape Beckett was in. Shields had an absolute breakout season last year going 16-12, with a 2.89 ERA, 225 strikeouts, and a 1.04 WHIP. Shields is not overpowering, but he has perhaps the best changeup in baseball. Pineda will look to build on his great rookie year in pinstripes. His fastball averaged 94.7 MPH, which was one of the fastest in MLB, but he needs to work on his changeup and get more groundballs. Morrow has great stuff, strikes out a ton of people, but has not lived up to his potential. Hammel put up a 4.76 ERA in the NL West last year.

Starting Pitcher #3

1. Jeremy Hellickson, TB

2. Clay Buchholz, BOS

3. Ivan Nova, NYY

4. Brett Cecil, TOR

5. Jake Arrieta, BAL

It was another close call for the top spot between Hellickson, Buchholz, and Nova. Hellickson won rookie of the year last year going 13-10, with a 2.95 ERA, and a 1.15 WHIP. He is a similar pitcher to Buchholz, not overpowering but both feature great changeups and control. Hellickson might want to improve his 45 % fly ball percentage. Buchholz needs to stay on the mound as 2 out of the last 3 years he has missed significant time. Nova is not far off from being 1st either it was very close. Nova improved dramatically at the end of the year due to the development of his slider as an out pitch. I also liked his ground ball rate of 52.7 % and his mental toughness. Cecil fell off dramatically coming off a 2010 season in which he won 15 games. Arrieta had an ok rookie season and does have good potential.

Starting Pitcher #4

1. Matt Moore, TB

2. Hiroki Kuroda, NYY

3. Daniel Bard, BOS

4. Henderson Alvarez, TOR

5. Tommy Hunter, BAL

Moore flashed onto the scene at the end of the last year and was outstanding in the postseason against the Rangers.Moorethrows extremely hard and has a chance to be one of the best pitchers in baseball eventually. Kuroda will be able to give the Yankees solid innings this year. It will be a tough transition to the AL East from the NL West, but Kuroda knows how to pitch. His career 48.6 % ground ball percentage will play well at Yankee Stadium. Bard has all the stuff to succeed, a fastball approaching 100 mph and a devastating slider. However, you never know how a transition from the pen to the rotation will play out and he will not be able to give the Red Sox a ton of innings. Alvarez had a nice 10 starts last year going 1-2, with a 3.53 ERA, and a 1.13 WHIP. Hunter has shown flashes before inTexas.

Starting Pitcher # 5

1. Phil Hughes/ Freddy Garcia/ A.J. Burnett, NYY

2. Wade Davis, TAM

3. Alfredo Aceves, BOS

4. Dustin McGowan, TOR

5. Brian Matusz, BAL

Whoever ends up the #5 starter between Hughes, Garcia, or even Burnett would be the best in the division. Garcia had a great year last year going 12-8, with a 3.62 ERA, and a 1.343 WHIP. Hughes still has the potential to pitch like he did in 2010 if healthy.Davis had an off year last year, but was a highly touted prospect and has potential. Aceves and McGowan will be hard pressed to give their teams a lot of innings. Matusz might not even be in the rotation next year after his awful year last year. The Orioles rotation is so bad it is really hard to forecast who will even be in it at this point. It is pretty amazing that they managed to be last in every starting rotation slot.

About Matthew B

I am a student at William Paterson University and studying to become a sportswriter. I have a huge passion for the Yankees and love sharing my opinions on them. I can analyze every aspect of the Yankees very well. I am very active on Twitter so feel free to contact me there Twitter: @RAYROBERT9

Posted on February 16, 2012, in Personal Opinion, Player Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I would say CC, Lester, Sheilds, Romero, Price, and Pineda.

  2. Moore is going to shock alot of people this year. Not many people know who he is yet.

  3. Well if they watched the playoffs last year they do lol

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