Posted 05 April 2012 - 05:36 AM
Let me give the caveat that this poll is just 1-2-3 in rotations. So who do you think has the best 1-3 in their rotation and sadly the Twins are not going to make the list so give me your choices and we can have a good discussion.
1. Philadelphia- Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels- I don't think their is any doubt that these 3 lead the pack as any of these three could plausibly win the Cy Young award this year and the reason that Philadelphia always will be in playoff contention. Will Be a huge deal for Philly to resign Cole Hamels who will be a free agent at the end of the year and won't be easy after the Matt Cain signing.
2. San Francisco- Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner- These guys might not have the names that the Philly trio has, but they might have more upside. Everyone knows how good The Freak, and Matt Cain are, but Bumgarner has huge talent and could join them in Cy Young contention this year.
3. Tampa Bay- You actually could go with top 4 with these guys as phenom Matt Moore starts year as 4th starter for Rays and may be the most talented 4th starter in baseball. The top 3 for Tampa are pretty good with James Shields, David Price, and Jeremy Hellickson making a very good trio. Price has the ability to be the best pitcher in baseball if he can learn to get his curveball over consistantly. Shields is the veteran who had a renaissance year in 2011 and is the emotional leader of this staff along with being really good. Hellickson is the guy that could make this unit special if he can build off his first year as a starter where he had a 3.04 era. This group is young and dominant and the sole reason why the small market Rays are in playoff contention every year.
4. Washington- This is a group that is not talked about alot, but I am in love with. Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Edwin Jackson are questionable, but when on there is noone that is going to hit these guys. Strasburg, coming off Tommy John surgery gets the opening day assignment and still throws in the high 90's with dominant breaking pitches. In 2 years Stephen Strasburg is going to be the most dominant pitcher in baseball if you ask me. Then you got Gio Gonzalez who was Oakland's best pitcher with a 3.93 era and at 26 is only getting better. I really think Gonzalez's best years are ahead of him and could have a breakout year this year in Washington. Edwin Jackson signed a one year deal to build up value for a big contract next winter and Jackson is such an enigma as he has no hit stuff, but because of his walks he sometimes struggles. I would compare him to a right handed version of Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano as Jackson when on is unhittable, but he needs to become more consistant to get the big contract he craves. What I love about this trio is how young they are as Strasburg is only 23, Gonzalez 26, and Jackson 28. That is not even talking about Jordan Zimmerman who is in his 2nd season back from Tommy John and is primed to explode. If you talk strictly upside this rotation has the most upside of any in baseball.
5. LA Angels- This group has upside, youth, and solid pitching with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and C.J. Wilson. Weaver is the ace of this staff as he has filthy stuff that is so tough to hit. He had a 2.41 era in 2011 and that could have been the tip of the iceberg and he will win a cy young before he is done. Then you had Dan Haren who finally was healthy last year and put up great numbers going 16-10 with a 3.17 era to revitalize his career. He is such a good pitcher and the Angels got him cheaply when he was struggling with Arizona. My question is why has a guy who has been as good as he has been get traded so much. For a guy with a 3.59 career ERA why has he played for 4 teams and he is only 31. It is just crazy to me and I was begging the Twins to trade for him when Arizona was trying to trade him in 2010 as he is good and his salary is reasonable. Finally you got C. J. Wilson who has turned into one of the tougher lefty's in the game. It was obvious that he is not an ace that the Rangers were asking him to be, but he fits in perfectly in LA as their 3rd starter. Wilson went 16-7 with a 2.94 era last year for the Rangers and to get that from your 3rd starter that just shows you how strong this trio is. They are a big reason why they will be battling Texas for the Western Division title in 2012.
Honorable mentions: New York Yankees Sabathia, Kuroda, Nova, Detroit Tigers, Verlander, Scherzer, Fister, Cleveland- Jimenez, Masterson, Lowe
Those are just a few if you can think of any I missed or disagree just join in the discussion.