Top 5: ‘Ace’ Pitchers in 2015 AL East

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May 26, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher

Clay Buchholz

(11) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Success in baseball, as the saying goes, both begins and ends with pitching. Unless your hitters suck, but we’ll probably blame the pitching anyway. There are always gaps in the pitching; your pitchers are not going to toss a perfect game every single outing, or indeed, in the case of the 2015 Boston Red Sox, ever. The variety of the game, the raw man-on-man nature of it all, means that every at bat is different and in many cases entirely unpredictable (though, sadly, it didn’t take long until we all could predict the outcome of a Pablo Sandoval at-bat)

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You have your number 4 and 5 guys, the back end of the rotation. These guys are average in stats, in delivery, in hairstyles, and in everything else. Throwing good games mixed with implosions, there isn’t much to complain about as they bring team friendly contracts and save space in the payroll for the big guns. Also, they make your quality pitchers even better by comparison and make you start to appreciate the days that they’re not pitching. They just may lead you to increased intake of alcohol or heart pills or Fenway Franks.

Your number 2 and 3 pitchers inspire more confidence. While the back-end often make you wonder if they could even “pitch” a tent, as you get closer to the front the consistency starts to show.

A couple of solid number 2 starters are a far greater asset to the team than they are often given credit for, with around a +2 WAR on the season. They are the unsung heroes, the guys who carry the franchise from the shadows, the Robin to Batman.

Above them lies the ace, that guy who is basically the face of the franchise and is known and beloved for his ability to just get the job done.

Today, we are looking at the ace pitchers for American League East in 2015 and I’ll present a ranking of their performance. The rankings chosen are seemingly arbitrary but are based on sabermetrics with the most importance given to ERA, FIP and WAR. I’ve also taken into consideration innings pitched, winning record, strikeout rates, and the invisible ‘it factor’ which is that essential swag required for being a genuine, bonafide ace.

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