Let’s continue what we started yesterday by looking at the rest of the contending teams.
- 2010 Red Sox: 7.5 K/9, 4.20 ERA, 104 ERA+, 1.36 WHIP
- 2011 Red Sox: 7.1, 3.98, 103, 1.27
- 2010 Rays: 7.4, 3.78, 103, 1.26
- 2011 Rays: 6.6, 3.61, 100, 1.21
Here’s where ERA+ is such a useful stat. It might appear that both of these teams are pitching better in 2011 than in 2010, but in reality they are just benefiting from a depressed run scoring environment. Runs are down throughout baseball and both of these teams, especially the 2011 Rays, are the definition of league average, despite a lower ERA and WHIP. Relative to the rest of baseball they have seen no improvement. As much as I like both of these teams, this analysis does not bode well for their Championship hopes.
- 2010 Indians: 6.1 K/9, 4.30 ERA, 93 ERA+, 1.43 WHIP
- 2011 Indians: 6.3, 3.97, 97, 1.30
- 2010 Tigers: 6.6, 4.30, 96, 1.37
- 2011 Tigers: 6.9, 4.30, 89, 1.38
- 2010 White Sox: 7.1, 4.09, 105, 1.36
- 2011 White Sox: 7.0, 3.83, 105, 1.28
- 2010 Twins: 6.5, 3.95, 107, 1.29
- 2011 Twins: 6.0, 4.24, 95, 1.36
Only the Indians have seen improvement in this division. Everyone else is down or standing pat. Again, ERA+ is helpful in showing how, relative to the rest of baseball, none of these teams is particularly impressive. The White Sox are the only above average staff in the division. Most surprising, to me at least, is how bad the Tigers are. Verlander is having a season for the ages and they still are one of the worst six pitching staffs in all of baseball. It would behoove them to go get a top of the line starter as rumored here. This division could be decided by one big trade.
- 2009 Rangers: 6.4 K/9, 4.38 ERA, 106 ERA+, 1.37 WHIP
- 2010 Rangers: 7.3, 3.93, 112, 1.31
- 2011 Rangers: 7.0, 3.84, 109, 1.28
First of all, what is incredible about this division is that two of the ten best teams, in terms of pitching, are here (the A’s and the Mariners) and yet, for the most part, they are not in any kind of contention. That’s amazing since the Angels and Rangers are not exactly the Red Sox and Yankees. Second, I included 2009 because the Rangers made it to the World Series last year and I wanted to check out their trajectory. For a team that has a reputation for being great offensively and suspect in terms of pitching they’ve been throwing quite for three years now. They were obviously helped by the addition of Colby Lewis, CJ Wilson, and Cliff Lee in 2010 but they have not suffered as badly as I, or others, would have thought this year. Nonetheless, not the kind of jump that befits a Championship profile.
Bottom line for the AL: The Yankees and Angels are the two teams that have shown the most improvement with their pitching. This is interesting to me because my gut doesn’t agree with this analysis, still thinking the Red Sox (and even the Rays or Rangers) are better suited to come out of the AL. Again, some of this will change with trades, slumps, and hot streaks, but right now I would have to say the Yankees are the AL favorite to go to the World Series with the Angels not far behind them.