It’s all about the pitching
In a piece over at FanGraphs, Marc Hulet writes that, in 2009, “[o]nly about a third of the teams in Major League Baseball had four reliable starters,” and that “[l]ess than 10% of teams could make a claim that they actually had a ‘No. 5 starter’ last season.” Essentially, for most teams, starting pitching is often cobbled together throughout the season, particularly in the back-end of respective rotations. For that reason, those teams with four solid starters, or more, would be at a distinct advantage in a given year. As the adage goes, pitching and defense wins championships – or at least they are fundamental to winning – and the clubs with the more (reliable) pitching are likely to be more successful. Thus, when one looks at the 2010 Yankees, who have four strong starters and will likely have an above average fifth starter in Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes, you can see why they feel comfortable about their chances.
Outside of the Yankees, in the American League, are there any other clubs that are comparable, with four or more strong starting pitchers? I think most of us are aware of the Red Sox rotation, which is definitely right there, but beyond that, is there another team with such a dependable staff? The White Sox, surprisingly, might be third in that regard.
Photo by the AP