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How Good is the Giants Starting Pitching?

January 31, 2009

I recently projected the Giants pitching staff on my own, and this is what I got expressed in Wins Above Replacement (which I explained a few days ago):

Tim Lincecum – 6.71
Matt Cain – 4.22
Randy Johnson – 2.68
Jonathan Sanchez – 2.21
Barry Zito – 1.83

Total: 17.65 WAR, which is 7.5 wins above the NL average.

Now I wanted to know how we stacked up against the game’s best staffs.

So I ran the calculations for the Rays, Red Sox, Yankees,  Cubs, Angels and Braves.

Yankees=21.92 (but I have Burnett pitching 187, Wang 150, and Joba 120  innings)

Rays=16.5 (This is without David Price, but rather Edwin Jackson in a full season. Replace Jackson with Price in the same innings pitched and they improve by 1.13 wins.)

Red Sox=18.11 (This is expecting significant time from Clay Buchholz along with effectiveness, and about 100 innings from Smoltz)

Angels=16.52 (Perhaps a bit lacking in the IP department, with Escobar being hurt, and slightly pessimistic projections for Lackey because of his injured 08. I wouldn’t be surprised at a one win improvement over this number.)

Cubs=15.29 (Not entirely sure about their 5th starter, but I plugged in a few pitchers for that role, Hill, Gallagher, etc.)

Braves=17.38 (CHONE FIP projections were extremely optimistic for Vazquez, so I averaged them with Marcel.)

So of the best rotations that I predicted naturally, this is how they stack up:

New York Yankees

Boston Red Sox

San Francisco Giants

Atlanta Braves

Los Angeles Angels

Tampa Bay Rays

Chicago Cubs

So it looks as though the Giants definitely have a good shot at being a top 5 rotation, and even the best when you factor in Burnett, Wang, Smoltz and Beckett injury risks.

Just for kicks, we’ll compare the salary of our rotation compared to the Yankees and Red Sox:


C.C. Sabathia – $14 million

A.J. Burnett – $16.5

Andy Pettitte – $5.5

Chien-Ming Wang – $5

Joba Chamberlain – $400 K

Red Sox

Josh Beckett – $10.5

Daisuke Matsuzaka – $8

John Smoltz – $5.5

Tim Wakefield – $4

Jon Lester – $421.5 K


Barry Zito – $18.5

Randy Johnson – $8

Matt Cain – $2.65

Tim Lincecum – $405 K

Jonathan Sanchez – $395 K


Yankees=$81 million

Red Sox=$28.4215


I think this continues to show how smart the Red Sox Front Office is, and how well off we are in the future. The Yankees payroll will increase as C.C.’s contract increases by about $9 million after this year.

But in the long-run, these teams (especially Boston and the Giants) have their rotations set up very efficiently, in both performance and financially.

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