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Comparing Yanks and Sox Rotation

By Mike Silva ~ January 11th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, Statistical Analysis.

I said yesterday the Yankees and Sox have moved more to a pitching and defense philosophy. I am assuming we won’t see more of these types of games, which should make the scoreboard operator in Fenway resemble the “Maytag repairman”. As of today, the starting five for both would be:

Sabathia (5.6)
Burnett (3.3)
Vazquez (4.8)
Pettitte (2.9)
Hughes or Joba (2.8)

Red Sox
Beckett (4.7)
Lester (5.6)
Lackey (3.8)
Matsuzaka (1.9)
Buchholz or Wakefield (1.9)

Just using a quick look this are both great rotations. Both have aces, depth, and young fifth starters with top of the rotation upside. Hard to tell if there is an advantage for either.

You probably are asking what the number in parenthesis is. This is the projected 2010 WAR for each pitcher. The fifth spots are a blended average for the two candidates. I am not a big fan of WAR, but let’s use it to compare, since it’s the quick and easiest way to break down everything statistically.

For those that may be unfamiliar, WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is the expected wins that each player gives you above a “league average replacement” or Triple A player.

Yankees Projected 2010 Rotation Total WAR: 19.4

Red Sox Projected 2010 Rotation Total WAR: 17.9

The stats prove my theory that both rotations are pretty close, with the Yankees getting an edge. This is due to better projections for Sabathia, Hughes, and Chamberlain. I believe the Sox rotation has a tremendous amount of potential.

First, Buchholz should beat out Wakefield for that fifth spot. He has, just like Hughes and Chamberlain, has top of the rotation potential. A breakout season for that fifth spot and the AL East should watch out. Two other reasons why the Sox rotation could be dominant are Beckett and Matsuzaka. Beckett is on a walk year and, if healthy, could easily return to his 2007 level (over 6 WAR). If Matsuzaka is healthy, he could return to his 08′ season (over 3 WAR).

A combination of Beckett/Lester, Lackey at number 3, along with “top of the rotation talent” in the backend, should scare the daylights out of the Yankees. Once I factor in Pettitte’s age, Burnett’s implosions, and my skepticism about Chamberlain, the Yankees pale in comparison. As a matter of fact, Javier Vazquez becomes so important or this comparison wouldn’t be a contest.

I don’t like the Sox offensive moves (Beltre/Cameron), but it might not take a ton of runs to win games in Boston.

As I said yesterday, the AL East is moving away from slugfests and more towards, dare I say, National League style of baseball.

Here me talk about this, and other Yankees topics during the first half of Sunday’s NYBD Hot Stove.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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4 Responses to Comparing Yanks and Sox Rotation

  1. Lou

    So in saying, “Once I factor in Pettitte’s age, Burnett’s implosions, and my skepticism about Chamberlain, the Yankees pale in comparison. As a matter of fact, Javier Vazquez becomes so important or this comparison wouldn’t be a contest” aren’t you realy saying, once I factor in all of the possible neagtive things that could haveppen to the yankees (which are already included in their projection for 2010) and ignore all of the negative things that could happen to the Sox (injury to Lackey, implosion by Dice K, “skepticism” about Buchlotz, and inconsistency from Beckett) an analysis that originally had the Yankees at 8% more WAR over the Sox reverts to putting the sox as favorites.

    I think you will find that if everything goes right for KC and everything goes wrong for the Twins, White Sox, and Tigers the Royals have a good chance of winning the AL Central.

  2. Paul Catalano

    Nice article, Mike. And yes, injuries, and recovery therfrom, are the big factors. if Dice-K comes back in good form, that could change everything. In 2007, when he was healthy, he was a beast, and he could tip the balance into the favor of the Sox.

    Surprised Burnett’s WAR is so low.

  3. Bryan

    Lou’s a moron.

  4. hh

    hey mitre is the fifth starter

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