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All 30 Starting Rotations, Slots 1 Through 5

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We've linked to a couple studies recently on determining what to expect from each slot of the rotation.  David (spurdynasty over at Lone Star Ball) decided to take a more applied route and analyzed each team's rotation on the 1-5 scale.

It's a pretty basic methodology, but does a solid job of painting a representative picture of what each team had going for it.  All pitchers with at least 100 IP (to remove the relievers) were sorted in order of tRA* (thanks, StatCorner.com).  The first thirty were called #1s, the next thirty #2s, and so on.  There were only 130 pitchers with 100 IP, so only ten pitchers were labeled #5s.  To fill out rotations, empty spots were called #5.5s.  Then David averaged the five ratings to put all thirty teams in order.  Take a look:

Team #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 Avg
D'backs 1 1 1 2 3 1.6
WhiteSox 1 1 2 2 3 1.8
BlueJays 1 1 2 3 3 2
Dodgers 1 1 1 2 5.5 2.1
Angels 1 2 2 2 4 2.2
Brewers 1 1 2 3 4 2.2
Rays 1 2 2 3 4 2.4
Rockies 1 1 2 3 5.5 2.5
Braves 1 2 2 3 5.5 2.7
Cubs 1 2 2 3 5.5 2.7
Indians 1 1 3 4 5 2.8
Royals 1 2 3 4 4 2.8
RedSox 1 1 3 4 5.5 2.9
Mets 1 3 3 4 4 3
Cardinals 2 3 3 3 4 3
Reds  1 2 3 4 5.5 3.1
Astros 1 2 3 4 5.5 3.1
Padres 1 2 3 4 5.5 3.1
Twins 2 2 3 4 5 3.2
Phillies 1 2 4 4 5 3.2
Giants 1 2 3 5 5 3.2
Marlins 1 3 4 4 5.5 3.5
A's 2 3 4 4 5.5 3.7
Pirates 1 3 4 5 5.5 3.7
Nat's 2 3 4 4 5.5 3.7
Yankees 2 2 4 5.5 5.5 3.8
Tigers 3 3 3 5 5.5 3.9
Mariners 2 4 4 5.5 5.5 4.2
Orioles 3 4 5 5 5.5 4.5
Rangers 4 4 4 5.5 5.5 4.6

Some observations:

  • Evidently the Rangers' defensive problems can't just be explained by fielding and home park.
  • There were three teams without a #1 or #2 starter: the Tigers, Orioles, and Rangers.
  • There were three teams without a #4 or #5 starter: the Diamondbacks, White Sox, and Blue Jays.  Two of those teams missed the playoffs.
  • Eight teams had two or more #1 starters.  The Diamondbacks and Dodgers had three.
  • The Cardinals were the only team without a #1 or #5 starter.
  • CC Sabathia counted as a #1 for both the Indians and Brewers, with his stints ranking ninth and first respectively.
  • The Phillies had the lowest-ranking rotation of any playoff team.  Yay, defense.
  • The Reds, Astros, and Padres all had rotations that went 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.5.  The Indians, Twins, Phillies, and Giants were all a single point away from 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 rotations.
  • There weren't any teams with three #1s or #2s and two #4s or #5s, which would be the ideal rotation to leverage for the playoffs.  The Indians had the best rotation to include two pitchers no better than a #4

If anyone's interested in building on David's work and accounting for things like innings pitched, go right ahead