Reviewing the rotations; Nats, Dodgers lead the way

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A couple of months before the season, I used my Rotoworld projections to rank the rotations, based strictly on ERA, from 1-30. Let’s look at that list now and see where each team starters’ measure up about 40 percent of the way through the season.

Projected rank – Team – Current rank

1. Phillies: 3.39 – 10
2. Cardinals: 3.648 – 7
3. Giants: 3.649 – 3
4. Angels: 3.68 – 4
5. Rays: 3.69 – 5
6. Nationals: 3.70 – 1
7. Red Sox: 3.70 – 27
8. Braves: 3.71 – 17
9. Marlins: 3.74 – 8
10. Dodgers: 3.77 – 2
11. Brewers: 3.81 – 14
12. Tigers: 3.83 – 22
13. Yankees: 3.89 – 16
14. Mariners: 3.93 – 23
15. Diamondbacks: 3.93 – 12
16. Reds: 3.94 – 11
17. Padres: 3.97 – 18
18. Rangers: 3.98 – 9
19. White Sox: 4.04 – 19
20. Athletics: 4.07 – 20
21. Cubs: 4.08 – 21
22. Mets: 4.08 – 6
23. Blue Jays: 4.10 – 15
24. Indians: 4.12 – 25
25. Pirates: 4.18 – 13
26. Rockies: 4.24 – 30
27. Astros: 4.24 – 26
28. Twins: 4.28 – 29
29. Royals: 4.32 – 28
30. Orioles: 4.36 – 24

Not too shabby, right? Eight of the teams projected to be in the top 10 are currently in the top 10. The exceptions there are the Braves and Red Sox. I was expecting good things from Mike Minor and Daniel Bard, but both have been major disappointments. The Red Sox, all of the way down at No. 27, don’t have a single starter with a sub-4.00 ERA, though Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett have been much better lately. They won’t get back into the top 10 this year, but they’re sure to keep improving.

Obviously, the Mets have really exceeded expectations, thanks to a healthy Johan Santana and a superb R.A. Dickey. The Rangers have overcome their hitter friendly ballpark so far, but typically, ERAs do rise throughout the summer in the heat of Texas. The Pirates have been another nice surprise, but with Erik Bedard struggling of late and Charlie Morton down, they no longer crack the top 10.

The Dodgers, up at No. 2, are a team I thought would be much better last year (I had them third then behind the Phillies and Giants), but I wasn’t very optimistic about the Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang additions and I was down on Chad Billingsley headed into this season. Indeed, all of the non-Clayton Kershaw starters are outpitching their projections. They’ve even gotten a 1.82 ERA from Nathan Eovaldi with Ted Lilly out the last few weeks.

And then there’s the Nationals in first. Their top four starters have ERAs of 2.45, 2.52, 2.92 and 3.02 at the moment. I was pretty high on that group going in; the weakest of the bunch, Edwin Jackson, was the No. 42 starting pitcher in my fantasy rankings. But the consistent excellence from the rotation has been remarkable. Even Ross Detwiler, who was (wrongly) pulled from the rotation to give Chien-Ming Wang a shot, had a 3.88 ERA in his nine starts. Wang is at 5.02 after three turns.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.