When Masahiro Tanaka made his big decision and signed with the pitching-starved New York Yankees on Wednesday, it added some clarity to pitching landscape across Major League Baseball. With the season approaching, ESPN's Dave Schoenfield ranked the league's top 10 starting rotations with the idea that there are still free agent starters out there to be had, just none at the level of Tanaka.
The Rangers cracked the rankings at No. 10 with Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando, Martin Perez, Nick Tepesch and Colby Lewis with the obvious caveat of Holland being out for half of the year, at least, and Ogando still not solidified on what his role will be on the pitching staff.
The Rangers' rotation put up a combined 3.99 ERA with a .256/.317/.411 slash line and a 16.0 WAR (win above replacement) rating.
Schoenfield said the following about the Rangers' rotation:
The Rangers' rotation is always underrated, but Texas hasn't won 90-plus games the past four seasons just because of the offense. These guys have to pitch in a park where the ball flies and the summer heat can be lethal, so they're never going to lead the league in ERA. By WAR, they were the second-best rotation in the majors in 2013. Darvish finished second in the Cy Young voting and may be the favorite this season. Perez showed promise with a strong rookie season. The concern is the depth, especially with Holland out for at least three months after knee surgery.
The big questions: Is Harrison healthy after missing almost all of last year after back surgery? Is Perez ready to handle 30 starts and more innings?
Checking in for the rest of the top 10, in order from 9-1 were: Braves, Reds, Rays, Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Nationals, Tigers.