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.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.