With the latest hot stove news coming out of Milwaukee, it’s tempting to make snap judgments about the degree to which the Brewers have improved their starting pitching. The Phillies, Giants, and Cardinals already boast rotations with 4 proven starters, so has Milwaukee done enough to join the conversation with its top 4? Well, I’ll provide a few numbers, and you can make the call.
Team A’s starters’ career ERAs: 3.32, 3.85, 3.18, 3.53
Team A’s starter’s 2010 ERAs: 2.44, 3.98, 2.76, 3.06
Team B’s starter’s career ERAs: 3.67, 3.82, 3.85, 4.13
Team B’s starter’s 2010 ERAs: 3.84, 4.17, 3.64, 4.17
Team C’s starter’s career ERAs: 3.04, 3.45, 2.90, 4.26
Team C’s starter’s 2010 ERAs: 3.43, 3.14, 3.00, 3.07
Team D’s starter’s career ERAs: 2.97, 3.80, 2.96, 4.29
Team D’s starter’s 2010 ERAs: 2.42, 3.22, 2.70, 3.48
Of course, ERA is not an ideal metric for comparison, because it does not account for innings pitched, park factors and league factors. As such, I would expect ERA to really favor the Giants, both because they play in a pitcher-friendly stadium and none of their “big 4″ have played for an AL team. The same cannot be said for the other 3 teams, because each has 2 pitchers who have spent most or all of their careers in the AL. Set that aside for a moment, though. Based on career ERAs, which team would you pick? Based on 2010 ERAs, who would you pick?
Based on a blind choice, I’d go with “Team A” for career ERA, and “Team D” for 2010 ERA.
So, what does this mean? Based on raw career ERAs, I’d rank the “Big 4″ pitching staffs in the following order: Giants, Phillies, Cardinals, Brewers. After considering league factor and park factors, I’d switch the top two and go with Phillies, Giants, Cardinals, Brewers. Based on raw 2010 ERAs, I’d go with Cardinals, Phillies, Giants, and Brewers. After compensating for league and park factors, I’d probably slide the Phillies rotation ahead of the Cardinals and leave the Giants and Brewers unchanged at 3rd and 4th. Then again, that’s just me. What’s your take on the 4×4?