RLYW: CAIRO Likes Yanks’ Rotation

SG at the Replacement Level Yankees Weblog uses the CAIRO projection system to compare Tampa's, Boston's and New York's current starting rotations for 2009. The Bombers come out on top:

Assuming health out of Burnett, Chamberlain, Wang and Hughes, this
rotation projects to blow away Boston and Tampa, to the tune of 6 wins
above replacement.  Part of that is in a better rate performance (ERA
of 3.72 vs. 4.19 and 4.24), but there’s also an important factor here
that could have a cascade effect.  The Yankee rotation projects to have
four separate pitchers who would average 6.2 to 6.9 innings per start. 
None of the other teams have more than one such pitcher.  That means
fewer bullpen innings, which helps a) rest the pen b) keep the ball
away from the worse pitchers in the back of the pen.

Of course as SG points out, this does not make the Yanks the favorite to win the AL East. There are other facets of the game, including offense, defense, and relief pitching. Currently, the Sox (sans Teixeira) are better than the Yanks in all those categories, except maybe for relief. In any case, it turns out that Cashman and company might have spent a lot of money to some positive effect. When was the last time the Yanks had the best rotation in the AL East or baseball?

12 comments… add one
  • The last time they had the best rotation in the East was in 2003. That rotation (Clemens, Pettitte, Mussina, Wells, Weaver, Contreras) cost about $42.5 million dollars, which is pretty astonishing in 2003 pitching dollars.
    The 1998 rotation was easily the best in the league, but there were several rotations in the 1998 NL that could have given them a run for their money. Of course, none of those teams scored 960 runs on top of that.

    AndrewYF December 21, 2008, 6:39 pm
  • Well, good thing this projection doesn’t seal the deal for NY!
    I mean, if we’re ASSUMING that everyone is healthy all year, we’re assuming a lot.

    brad December 21, 2008, 6:42 pm
  • I agree, Nick. On paper they’re fabulous.
    Get back to me when CC beats Beckett in the playoffs.

    Brad December 21, 2008, 6:43 pm
  • Last I checked Beckett forgot how to pitch in the postseason himself…

    sam-YF December 21, 2008, 8:59 pm
  • I don’t think asking Miguel Cairo who he thinks is the best is all that objective a method.

    SF December 21, 2008, 9:11 pm
  • Last I checked Beckett forgot how to pitch in the postseason himself
    You must have stopped checking before Game 6 of the ALCS…

    Paul SF December 21, 2008, 10:07 pm
  • “You must have stopped checking before Game 6 of the ALCS…”
    5 IP, 2 ER, 3K. It did the job but it was hardly dominant. Regardless, Id love to have a chance to see CC beat Beckett in the post-season….

    sam-YF December 21, 2008, 10:33 pm
  • Well, given he was injured, it was a life-saver for the Sox with their backs to the wall. I remember being tremendously impressed with that performance because he clearly had nothing the previous two times around.

    Paul SF December 21, 2008, 10:40 pm
  • Yeah, Beckett was clearly in pain (grimacing after every pitch) and struggled with his command all game, but still went a solid 5 innings.
    I thought it was obvious that the Yankees had the best rotation in the league; the key is staying healthy, which may be tough for Burnett. We’ll see how the season plays out, but all three (Rays, Sox and Yanks) are looking extremely solid at this point. I’d say the division is a toss up.

    Atheose December 21, 2008, 10:56 pm
  • While I agree that health is going to be critical for the Yankees rotation’s success, I think the same can easily be said for the sox rotation:
    1. Lester had a huge increase in innings last season which can be trouble for young guys like him.
    2. DiceK missed time in 2008 with a shoulder injury which is never a good omen despite the fact it was relatively minor.
    3. Beckett has struggled with injuries throughout last season and most of his career for that matter.
    4. Wakefield is like 60 or something!
    5. Who is their 5th?
    The yankees have 3 pitchers who threw 200+ innings last season while the sox only have 1. I think the yankees have an edge here. Depth will also make a difference as the season progresses and guys go down for short or long stretches. I feel the yankees have a slight advantage here too. But as they say this is why they play the games….

    sam-YF December 21, 2008, 11:40 pm
  • Yeah, I would agree that the Sox have a lot to worry about. I’m 100% optimistic about Daisuke going deeper into games, but I am concerned about Lester and Beckett, especially the latter. Hopefully Beckett will get into shape in the next two months before pitchers/catchers report.
    Like you said though, that’s why you play the games. Sabathia’s never had health issues and might pull a Pavano, and Burnett could be fit as a fiddle for the entirety of his contract. Weirder things have happened.

    Atheose - SF December 22, 2008, 7:25 am
  • Weirder things have happened.
    Like Mike Mussina being the Yankees best pitcher in 2008.

    Juan YF December 22, 2008, 8:30 am

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