Friday, February 4, 2011

MLB Network's Top 10: Pitchers

The MLB Network, also known as God's gift to man during the off-season, recently ranked the Top 10 at each position in the league. The Phillies fared well, ranking in all by two positions, right field and relief pitcher. Let the analysing begin.

Starting Pitcher: The Phillies are the only team to boast two starters in the top ten, with Roy Halladay ranking first and Cliff Lee coming in at number seven. Some may consider that a low ranking for Lee, but it seems fair in comparison to the names ahead of him. Here's the list:

10- Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins
9- Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
8- Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
7- Cliff Lee, PHILLIES
6- David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
5- Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox
4- CC Sabathia, New York Yankees
3- Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
2- Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
1- Roy Halladay, PHILLIES

Remember, with the exception of his Cy Young season in 2008, Lee has not been an outstanding regular season pitcher. The post-season is certainly where he's done his real damage. But the top five on that list are absolutely the most dominant pitchers in the league at all times.

It's a little surprising to see Wainwright fall so far. Not that eighth is anything to sneeze at, but in his last two seasons, he went 19-8 with a 2.63 ERA and 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA respectively with more than 200 strikeouts and less than seventy walks in each season. He's just about as dominant a pitcher there is and could easily be placed in the top five. I'd certainly take him just ahead of David Price.

It's very impressive to see that the Phillies, as we all know, truly do have two aces. Most teams would be happy to have Wainwright, Verlander or Johnson as their top pitcher. The Phillies have two ranked higher. It's absolutely unreal.

The list of the top ten relief pitchers is:

10- Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
9- Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers
8- Rafael Soriano, New York Yankees
7- Andrew Bailey, Oakland Athletics
6- Heath Bell, San Diego Padres
5- Carlos Marmol, Chicago Cubs
4- Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers
3- Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals
2- Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants
1- Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees

Pretty remarkable for the Yankees to have two pitchers from this list at the back-end of their bullpen. It's been a disastrous off-season for them, but acquiring one of the game's best closers in Soriano and making him the set-up man is a strong move. Sometimes closers have a difficult time transitioning into other roles though. Watching Soriano attempt to switch to the eighth inning, and if New York's talent as the back-end of the bullpen has many leads to save will be an interesting storyline in 2011.

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