Rating the AL Playoff Rotations

Joe UnderhillCorrespondent IIIOctober 6, 2012

Rating the AL Playoff Rotations

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    The playoffs are upon us.

    It was an exciting end to the regular season in the American League, and the playoffs promise to be just as intense.

    As we prepare for the postseason, now is a great time to take a closer look at the rotations of the playoff teams. 

    To come up with these rankings I rated the teams on major statistical categories: ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, walks and opponents batting average.*

    I chose to leave out wins and losses because I don't think wins and losses are a great barometer for the quality of a pitcher. I used the depth charts on the teams' websites to select the top four starters for each team.  


    *Opponents batting average was calculated using the following formula: [hits / (batters faced - walks - hit batters)]. This calculation provides a slightly different OBA then MLB.com, but I believe it serves the intended purpose. 

5. Texas Rangers

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    ERA: 3.91 (5)

    WHIP: 1.34 (5)

    OBA: .245 (3 tie)

    Strikeouts: 569 (3)

    Walks: 225 (5)


    Despite strong years from Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish (who had a great rookie campaign), the Rangers pitching staff struggled down the stretch. The struggles of Ryan Dempster and Derek Holland doomed the Rangers, as they eventually lost the AL West to the Athletics.

4. Oakland Athletics

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    ERA: 3.45 (2)

    WHIP: 1.23 (4)

    OBA: .253 (5)

    Strikeouts: 366 (5)

    Walks: 125 (1)


    Youth dominated the Athletics rotation this year with rookies Tommy Milone and Jarrod Parker leading the team in wins and innings pitched. The question for the A's will be whether or not the rookie pitchers can withstand the playoff pressure and continue to excel. Only time will tell, but they handled the pressure well while sweeping the Rangers in the final days of the regular season to win the AL West.

2. New York Yankees (tie)

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    ERA: 3.54 (4)

    WHIP: 1.18 (1 tie)

    OBA: .245 (3 tie)

    Strikeouts: 598 (2)

    Walks: 162 (3)


    The Yankees have received excellent performances from C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda this season. While not spectacular, Phil Hughes has been solid. As long as Sabathia and Andy Pettitte remain healthy, the Yanks will be in good shape.  

2. Baltimore Orioles (tie)

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    ERA: 3.53 (2)

    WHIP: 1.21 (3)

    OBA: .233 (1)

    Strikeouts: 410 (4)

    Walks: 158 (2)


    Whenever there is a surprise team in the playoffs, it's usually because they have excellent pitching. This is the case for the Orioles. While the pitching staff is quite young, they have been solid in helping lead the Orioles to the ALDS.

1. Detroit Tigers

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    ERA: 3.26 (1)

    WHIP: 1.18 (1 tie)

    OBA: .239 (2)

    Strikeouts: 664 (1)

    Walks: 172 (4)


    Despite a disappointing season (from a win-loss perspective), the Tigers have one of the best rotations in baseball and are the best among the AL playoff teams. Solid seasons from Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer made the difference.