Phillies, A’s lead the way in rotations ERAs

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It should come as no surprise, but the Phillies are the one team in baseball with a rotation ERA under 3.00 halfway through the season. Here’s how the starter ERAs rank, 1-30.

1. Phillies – 2.97
2. Athletics – 3.11
3. Mariners – 3.19
4. Braves – 3.30
5. Giants – 3.35
6. Angels – 3.43
7. Padres – 3.616
8. Rays – 3.618
9. Rangers – 3.64
10. Pirates – 3.68
11. Nationals – 3.69
12. Mets – 3.81
13. Yankees – 3.83
14. White Sox – 3.857
15. Cardinals – 3.865
16. Dodgers – 3.91
17. Brewers – 3.96
18. Twins – 4.01
19. Diamondbacks – 4.02
20. Tigers – 4.06
21. Red Sox – 4.07
22. Rockies – 4.12
23. Indians – 4.21
24. Marlins – 4.31
25. Orioles – 4.38
26. Reds – 4.47
27. Blue Jays – 4.48
28. Astros – 4.59
29. Royals – 5.09
30. Cubs – 5.36

Obviously, there’s no accounting for ballpark effects or anything else there.

Those of you with long memories may recall I did an article “ranking the rotations” back in January, going strictly off my fantasy projections.  Rating the pitchers by wins, ERA, WHIP and strikeouts, I came up with the following top 30. I’ll present the list, compared to the current ERA rankings.

1. Phillies – 1
2. Giants – 5
3. Dodgers – 16
4. Red Sox – 21
5. Rays – 8
6. Marlins – 24
7. Brewers – 17
8. Cardinals – 15
9. Braves – 4
10. Tigers – 20
11. Angels – 6
12. Athletics – 2
13. Cubs – 30
14. Yankees – 13
15. Rockies – 22
16. White Sox – 14
17. Twins – 18
18. Reds – 26
19. Padres – 7
20. Rangers – 9
21. Mariners – 3
22. Blue Jays – 27
23. Astros – 28
24. Mets – 12
25. Diamondbacks – 19
26. Nationals – 11
27. Orioles – 25
28. Indians – 23
29. Pirates – 10
30. Royals – 29

Not too bad so far.  Had I been trying to rank them strictly on ERAs, the A’s and Padres certainly would have been higher, though not quite so high in either case.  I didn’t expect the Mariners and Pirates to be nearly as good.  The Dodgers and Red Sox have disappointed, but they were ranked higher for non-ERA reasons (the Dodgers because of their quality WHIPs and strikeout rates, the Red Sox because I expected the starters to win a heck of a lot of games).

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.