Must-click link: What does a "No. X starter" mean, exactly?


When talking about pitchers and rotations people throw around terms like “No. 1 starter” or “No. 3 starter” constantly because it serves as a sort of common understanding about ability and upside.
However, one of the problems with using that terminology comes when not everyone has the same definition of how great a pitcher has to be to qualify as a “No. 1 starter” or how low the threshold is for a pitcher to fit the bill as a “No. 5 starter.”
Bryan Smith at Fan Graphs crunched the numbers and put together a very interesting, detailed look at exactly how each spot in the rotation tends to perform.
Bryan Smith: Numbers for the Numbered Starters
Many of the results surprised me quite a bit and my main takeaway from the analysis is that people tend to dramatically overstate how good third, fourth, and fifth starters are on most MLB teams.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.