|1998 New York Yankees|
|2001 Seattle Mariners|
|2018 Boston Red Sox|
The 1998 Yankees, much like their lineup, featured a very balanced rotation. Orlando Hernandez and Ramiro Mendoza posted the best lines, but in far fewer starts than their counterparts at the top of the rotation. Of the pitchers actually taking the ball every fifth day throughout the year, none were otherworldy but all had strong seasons. These Yankees lacked a true ace but their duo of Davids racked up 38 wins while keeping their ERAs about 25% better than league average. Not too shabby all in all.
Without Joel Pineiro’s 11 starts, I’d feel pretty comfortable labeling the Mariner’s rotation as the weakest unit of this group. Freddy Garcia was better than any of the ’98 Yankees starters and Aaron Sele and Jamie Moyer were both very good. However, the bottom two spots in their rotation were occupied by two pitchers that weren’t very good. Neither Paul Abbott or John Halama could strike out two batters per walk or maintain a respectable WHIP and ERA despite pitching in one of the pitcher’s parks in all of baseball.
Pineiro gave them 11 Cy Young quality starts which were a solid boost. If we combine Piniero’s and Halama’s performances and treat that as their fifth starter, which makes sense because they combine for 185.2 innings, we get a 3.64 ERA and 1.23 WHIP for their last slot. Now that rotation looks pretty comparable to New York’s one.
But what about Boston?
Currently, Pomeranz still gets some starts, but when E-Rod returns he should be going by the wayside. That removes their one weak spot in their rotation and gives them six above-average starters.
One of those starters is Chris Sale who is in the middle of the best season for any Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 2000. This group leads the ’98 Yankees and ’01 Mariners in ERA, WHIP, K/BB, and ERA+.
With Pomeranz in the fifth spot, I’d probably give Boston’s unit a slight edge over these two teams, but with Eovaldi in the place of Pomeranz, they are significantly better than the starting rotations of both of these clubs.