Fantasy ranking the rotations

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In light of Craig’s response to Buster Olney’s blog, I’ve thrown this together. It’s a ranking 1-30 of how the top six pitchers in each team’s rotation fare in my fantasy projections.
This isn’t meant to be taken very seriously. For one thing, I’ve simply added up the totals, so the No. 6 starter is treated equally with the top five options. That’s a problem for the Mariners, Angels and some other teams that I see as just five deep. Also, I’m not attempting to neutralize for park and league effects. That really hurts the Rockies and Rangers, both of whom would be several spots higher if I were doing this by hand.
1. Red Sox 10.07
2. Yankees 4.77
3. Giants 3.79
4. Mariners 3.65
5. Phillies 3.40
6. Dodgers 1.39
7. Cardinals 0.20
8. Rays -0.38
9. Marlins -0.74
10. Cubs -0.95
11. Braves -3.02
12. Twins -3.08
13. Diamondbacks -3.13
14. White Sox -3.18
15. Mets -3.89
16. Padres -5.14
17. Tigers -5.98
18. Athletics -6.71
19. Rockies -7.35
20. Astros -7.64
21. Angels -7.84
22. Royals -8.19
23. Brewers -10.22
24. Rangers -10.43
25. Reds -11.03
26. Blue Jays -12.62
27. Orioles -12.73
28. Indians -14.21
29. Pirates -18.72
30. Nationals -21.63
– I have the Red Sox starters ranked 9th (Jon Lester), 11th (Josh Beckett), 27th (John Lackey), 40th (Clay Buchholz) and 60th (Daisuke Matsuzaka), making it pretty obvious why they fare well here. Even Tim Wakefield has a substantial edge on most of the No. 6 starters. Boston and Seattle are the two teams that I have receiving significant boosts because of their defenses.
– The Yankees would have narrowed the gap a little had I made Phil Hughes the sixth starter, but I’m projecting him as a reliever. Chad Gaudin took that spot. Likewise, the Cardinals would have been helped had I used Kyle McClellan in place of either Mitchell Boggs or Jaime Garcia.
– Besides the Red Sox, the only other team to place four starters in my top 50 was the Braves. I was pretty surprised just how low they graded out here. However, the fact that Tommy Hanson is the only real strikeout pitcher of the bunch hurt. Also, sixth starter Jo-Jo Reyes weighs them down. They could have moved up had I used Kris Medlen instead.
– The Nationals would have overtaken the Pirates had I used Stephen Strasburg over Scott Olsen or sixth starter Shairon Martis.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.