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.

Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

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The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.

Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.

The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.

The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.