Philadelphia Phillies v San Francisco Giants, Game 5

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.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.