Ranking the rotations: 1-30

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Now that my projections for the upcoming Rotoworld fantasy annual are complete, I’ll be having some occasional fun with them in here over the following few weeks. To start with, let’s look at how the rotations shape up, according to my fantasy rankings.

As part of my projections, each player gets a score. All I’ve done here is add up the scores for the top five starters on every team. There’s no adjustment to give an ace more credit than a No. 5, so some teams are probably getting weighed down a bit too much by the dreck at the bottom of their rotations. Consider it the Sergio Mitre effect.

1. Phillies: 25.35
2. Giants: 15.20
3. Dodgers: 12.90
4. Red Sox: 12.07
5. Rays: 9.63
6. Marlins: 8.84
7. Brewers: 8.74
8. Cardinals: 8.68
9. Braves: 7.10
10. Tigers: 5.39
11. Angels: 4.70
12. Athletics: 4.34
13. Cubs: 3.03
14. Yankees: 2.30
15. Rockies: 1.59
16. White Sox: 1.58
17. Twins: 1.21
18. Reds: 0.96
19. Padres: 0.49
20. Rangers: (1.01)
21. Mariners: (2.14)
22. Blue Jays: (2.70)
23. Astros: (3.08)
24. Mets: (4.21)
25. D-backs: (5.58)
26. Nationals: (8.81)
27. Orioles: (9.73)
28. Indians: (12.31)
29. Pirates: (12.67)
30. Royals: (17.34)

Again, I’ve made no adjustments here. That’s why NL teams fare better than their AL counterparts. Also, the Rockies and Rangers are getting penalized for their ballparks, whereas the Padres and Rays are getting lifts.

Some points of interest:

– 75 SPs in my rankings came out with positive scores. No team has five, though the Phillies were close (Joe Blanton is my No. 84 starter). The Giants, Dodgers, Red Sox, Rays and Marlins also had four starters in the top 75.

The Indians, Pirates and Royals, on the other hand, have no starters in the top 75. The Indians do have a decent top three in Fausto Carmona, Carlos Carrasco and Justin Masterson, but I don’t expect much from Mitch Talbot and their fifth spot in a black hole.

– The Tigers placed 10th despite having just two starters in the top 75. Phil Coke and Rick Porcello were close, though, and Brad Penny looks like a better fifth starter than most.

– The Twins would have moved up three or four spots from No. 17 had I gone with Brian Duensing, rather than Nick Blackburn, as their fifth starter.

– Of the 150 pitchers used to make the list above, only Kyle Davies had a worse score than Mitre. Replace Mitre with Andy Pettitte or Justin Duchscherer and the Yankees would climb from No. 14 to No. 12.

– The Padres are the other team that could really move up with a signing. I have Dustin Moseley as their fifth starter right now. Plug in Kevin Millwood instead and they’d pass four teams on the list.

– The A’s are getting dinged here because I’m not projecting Brett Anderson to make 32 starts and because there’s no clear fifth starter right now. I do like their group better than the ranking suggests.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.