Now that John Lackey is officially in the fold, how does the Sox' rotation match up against the Yankees'?
A good quick-and-dirty projection formula tends to be three times the most recent year, plus two times the previous year, plus the year before that, divided by six. As I understand it, this is basically what the Marcel projection system does.
So if we wanted to take some educated guess at, say, the 2010 ERA+ and WAR for the Sox' and Yanks' rotations as presently constituted, the formula would be: (3*2009 + 2*2008 + 2007)/6. Let's take a look.
Boston Red Sox
- Jon Lester — 134
- Josh Beckett — 124
- John Lackey — 124
- Daisuke Matsuzaka — 112
- Clay Buchholz — 95*
- Tim Wakefield — 105
New York Yankees
- CC Sabathia — 139
- A.J. Burnett — 108
- Andy Pettitte — 103
- Joba Chamberlain — 100*
- Phil Hughes — 85*
- Ben Sheets — 127**
* Career total as a starter **Based on 2006-08 numbers
I added Sheets as a stand-in for whomever the Yankees choose as their fifth/sixth starter.
As the asterisks make clear, this has some limitations. The system doesn't take into account young pitchers without enough playing time and lots of room for growth, like Buchholz, Hughes and Chamberlain, and it doesn't know that Sheets missed all of 2009 and has one full season of innings since 2004. It doesn't know that Daisuke Matsuzaka was injured most of last year, and conversely it doesn't know how good he looked after returning from the DL.
So it gets a little sketchy in the bottom of the rotations, and we knew that already, but for the established veterans, the numbers seem pretty solid. This obviously assumes good health, which is always my (admittedly unrealistic) pre-season assumption unless we're dealing with a reclamation project (a la Smoltz, Penny, Sheets, etc.) Otherwise offered without comment.