Prevention is better than cure
Bad apples affecting the pure
You'll gather your senses I'm sure
1. Baltimore 24-13 .649 (7-6 2WK) 2. Boston 22-15 .595 2.0 GB (9-4 2WK) 3. Toronto 20-18 .526 4.5 GB (6-6 2WK) 4. New York 19-19 .500 5.5 GB (9-4 2WK) 5. Tampa Bay 14-25 .359 11.0 GB (6-6 2WK)Instead of beating the tar out of each other, the teams of the AL East beat the tar out of teams in other divisions, which made it possible for every team in the division to post a .500 or better record since the last report.
In this report, we'll look at the pitching staffs of the 5 teams in the AL East. The designations (#1 starter, closer) have been provided by MLB.com. The Value of Replacement Player (VORP) statistics have been provided by Baseball Prospectus.
On with the ratings!
#1 STARTER TEAM G IP VORP Roy Halladay TOR AL 9 69.0 20.8 Matt Clement BOS AL 8 50.0 13.5 Randy Johnson NYA AL 8 57.3 10.3 Rodrigo Lopez BAL AL 8 48.3 3.4 Scott Kazmir TBA AL 8 45.0 3.2Halladay has gone back to being the class of the American League East. The Red Sox are hurt under this comparison since both Schilling and Wells are injured, but still pick up the #2 spot thanks to the strong pitching of Matt Clement. I expect that RJ will finish higher than third by the time the season is over.
#2 STARTER TEAM G IP VORP Mike Mussina NYA AL 8 52.0 10.8 Tim Wakefield BOS AL 8 52.3 10.0 Mark Hendrickson TBA AL 6 38.3 3.9 Daniel Cabrera BAL AL 7 42.0 3.3 Ted Lilly TOR AL 7 27.7 -14.0Ouch! Ted Lilly has been almost 25 runs worse than Mike Mussina so far this season, which is why he no longer has the #2 spot in the rotation.
#3 STARTER TEAM G IP VORP Erik Bedard BAL AL 8 53.7 18.9 Bronson Arroyo BOS AL 7 46.3 14.1 David Bush TOR AL 7 37.7 2.5 Hideo Nomo TBA AL 8 41.7 -1.9 Carl Pavano NYA AL 8 45.0 -5.8A lot of Jays fans have been disappointed by the performance of Dave Bush this season, but things could be a whole lot worse. Despite having the #3 label Eric Bedard has been by far the best starter for the Orioles this season.
#4 STARTER TEAM G IP VORP Josh Towers TOR AL 7 43.3 11.2 Sidney Ponson BAL AL 7 45.7 2.7 Wade Miller BOS AL 2 10.7 1.9 Doug Waechter TBA AL 7 33.3 0.6 Kevin Brown NYA AL 6 37.0 -3.0Here's where the Jays really shine. Who thought that Kevin Brown would be the worst #4 starter in the American League East?
#5 STARTER TEAM G IP VORP Gustavo Chacin TOR AL 8 48.3 13.4 Bruce Chen BAL AL 7 45.3 9.5 Casey Fossum TBA AL 11 20.7 4.3 Chien-Ming Wang NYA AL 3 20.3 3.2 Jeremi Gonzalez BOS AL 3 14.0 -3.9The #4 and #5 starters for the Jays have a higher combined VORP than the number 1 through 3 starters. Mind you, a lot of that is due to Ted Lilly, but if you take him out of the equation, Chacin and Towers have still be collectively better than Halladay and Bush.
CLOSER TEAM G IP VORP B.J. Ryan BAL AL 21 21.7 10.0 Miguel Batista TOR AL 17 17.0 5.0 Danny Baez TBA AL 14 17.0 4.0 Mariano Rivera NYA AL 12 12.7 -0.8 Keith Foulke BOS AL 18 19.0 -2.7B.J. Ryan has been excellent for the Orioles all season, but Miguel Batista isn't too far behind. The Red Sox and Yankees will climb in the standings once Rivera and Foulke return to form.
RIGHTY SET-UP TEAM G IP VORP Mike Timlin BOS AL 18 18.0 9.6 Vinny Chulk TOR AL 14 18.7 6.0 Todd Williams BAL AL 16 17.0 2.0 Lance Carter TBA AL 13 20.7 1.3 Felix Rodriguez NYA AL 11 11.7 0.5Vinne Chulk has very quietly put up some pretty good numbers for the Jays. Less surprising is the terrific performance by Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin. Most of the Yankees relievers are interchangable, so it's really hard to slot a particular person into a particular role.
LONG RELIEF TEAM G IP VORP Pete Walker TOR AL 9 19.3 8.5 Tanyon Sturtze NYA AL 10 15.7 3.1 John Halama BOS AL 13 18.0 -1.4 Rick Bauer BAL AL 5 8.3 -3.6 Seth McClung TBA AL 10 11.3 -7.7Not surprisingly, long relievers tend to be right around replacement level. It's kind of scary (but I guess in a good way) how much the Yankees lean on Tanyon Sturtze.
RIGHTY RELIEVER #1 TEAM G IP VORP Jorge Julio BAL AL 18 19.0 7.3 Matt Mantei BOS AL 17 14.0 4.0 Paul Quantrill NYA AL 12 17.0 4.0 Jason Frasor TOR AL 14 16.0 2.3 Travis Harper TBA AL 14 21.7 -3.0Some pretty good relievers here, with the sophmore Frasor holding his own.
LEFTY RELIEVER #1 TEAM G IP VORP John Parrish BAL AL 6 7.3 3.7 Buddy Groom NYA AL 9 8.7 2.6 Alan Embree BOS AL 18 17.7 2.4 Trever Miller TBA AL 15 9.7 0.2 Scott Schoeneweis TOR AL 19 12.7 -2.8As much as I love "I told you so"s I really hope that Schoeneweis improves. I honestly thought that former Blue Jay Trever Miller was doing better than that this year. But the numbers don't lie. Well, the honest ones, at least.
RIGHTY RELIVER #2 TEAM G IP VORP Tom Gordon NYA AL 19 18.0 3.6 Justin Speier TOR AL 14 11.7 -0.5 Steve Reed BAL AL 11 12.3 -1.0 Jesus Colome TBA AL 7 6.7 -1.7 Cla Meredith BOS AL 3 2.3 -5.5Some pretty decent names here along with some pretty subpar performances. The Yankees lead this category, but you could put Gordon, Quantrill, and Rodriguez in a hat and shuffle them. It wouldn't make any difference. I've been very disappointed by the performance of Justin Speier this season. I was quite certain he'd have an excellent season.
LEFTY RELIEVER #2 TEAM G IP VORP Mike Myers BOS AL 11 4.7 3.0 Scott Downs TOR AL 1 2.0 0.3 Mike Stanton NYA AL 14 9.7 0.2 John Switzer TBD AL 0 0.0 0.0 Steve Kline BAL AL 16 12.3 -1.0John Switzer avoids last place in these rankings by the simple feat of not pitching at all this season. As you can tell from the numbers, some teams rely a lot heavier on bullpen lefties than others. The Orioles not only have two lefty middle relievers they use extensively, but their closer B.J. Ryan is also a lefty.
Questions of the Day:
1. Which pitchers do you expect will improve over the season? Which are playing over their heads?
2. Is the Orioles pitching staff for real?