AL rotation rankings (cont.)
Posted: Friday December 21, 2007 1:27PM; Updated: Friday December 21, 2007 1:27PM
Seattle Mariners (12 points)
Above-average (3): Felix Hernandez
Comment: After a blazing freshman year, a sophomore slump and a junior-year recovery, Hernandez hopes to firmly establish himself as the above-average pitcher everyone expects him to be. Washburn, Batista, Baek and Ramirez might struggle to keep the Mariners afloat, at least until Feierabend and/or Morrow lock down spots. The signing of the veteran Silva will keep a less-talented, less-experienced arm out of the rotation.
New York Yankees (11 points)
Above-average (6): Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte
Comment: Even if they don't trade for Santana, the Yankees are poised to have an above-average rotation -- if not a superb one -- thanks to the infusion led by Hughes, Chamberlain and Kennedy. They could use another effective year from the 35-year-old Pettitte, because the 39-year-old Mussina has been subpar three of the past four seasons.
Baltimore Orioles (10 points)
Elite (4): Erik Bedard
Comment: Bedard is another trade candidate, and without him, Baltimore could end up with the worst rotation in the league. In any case, the Orioles need the kids to step up fast if they want to avoid a long season.
Detroit Tigers (9 points)
Above-average (3): Justin Verlander
Comment: Oh, there could be a lot of runs in Motown this year -- for both sides. Several Tigers pitchers, young and old, slumped from 2006 to '07. Some bounce back may be in order, but above their high-powered offense, wispy clouds of doubt hang over the staff, which gave up rising youngsters Andrew Miller and Jair Jurrjens in trades.
Oakland A's (9 points)
Average to above-average (2): Joe Blanton
Comment: Firmly in rebuilding mode with the trade of Danny Haren -- not to mention the potential disembarkment of Blanton -- the A's will keep things interesting by leading the league in mystery pitchers.
Chicago White Sox (8 points)
Above-average (3 points): Mark Buehrle
Comment: Not a deep staff. If Danks and Gonzalez don't come on strong, the White Sox could really be in trouble.
Kansas City Royals (7 points)
Above-average (3): Brian Bannister
Comment: Meche's signing last off-season was much-criticized, and his 9-13 record failed to silence the critics or provide the ace Kansas City needs. Overall, the Royals figure to be overmatched by the other team's starting pitcher most of the time in 2008. I've left A-ball pitchers off the ratings, but could Daniel Cortes, who turns 21 in March, make the leap?
Texas Rangers (6 points)
Mystery (2 points): Robinson Tejeda, Jamey Wright
Comment: Every third year --- 1999, 2002, 2005 --- Millwood shines. The Rangers sure would like that trend to continue.
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