Red Sox vs the AL East: starting pitching

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Sep 23, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) pitches during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

1. Tampa Bay Rays

Even after trading David Price to the Tigers at the deadline, Tampa Bay’s tradition of strong young pitching will persist into 2015. After an excellent pair of seasons, the 27-year old Cobb (10-9, 2.87 ERA) is looking like one of the best young pitchers in baseball and 26-year old Archer (10-9, 3.33 ERA) isn’t too far behind. Behind those two, the pair of Smyly (9-10, 3.24 ERA), whom they acquired in the Price deal, and Odorizzi (11-13, 4.13 ERA) gives them an incredibly capable front four in their rotation.

There’s a bit of debate over who will serve as the fifth starter in the rotation until Matt Moore (17-4, 3.29 ERA in 2013) is ready to return from Tommy John Surgery, but Colome (7-6, 3.77 ERA in Triple-A Durham) is likely the top candidate to take the job. Once Moore returns, however, he’ll give Tampa Bay another excellent young option in their deep, talented rotation.

Due to the depth, youth, and overall talent in this pitching staff, the Rays have both the highest floor and the highest ceiling of any rotation in the AL East this season.