AL East 2017 Positional Rankings: The Need for Strong Starters in the Division

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 29: Pitcher Wade Miley
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 29: Pitcher Wade Miley /
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3. Tampa Bay Rays – Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi, Blake Snell, Matt Andriese, Jake Faria, Austin Pruitt, Erasmo Ramirez

These eight pitchers all started eight or more games, and were the only starters the Rays used in 2017.

Archer’s numbers reflect that he may not be the ace many have anointed him, with a 4.07 ERA and a 10-12 record. Cobb was 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA, and is now a sought-after free agent. Odorizzi started 28 games and allowed 30 home runs, with a 4.14 ERA and 10-8 record.

Snell was 5-7 with a 4.04 ERA and Faria was 5-4 with a 3.43 ERA, the next two young pitchers who will be solid, if not spectacular pitchers moving forward. Andriese started 17 games with a 4.50 ERA. Pruitt and Ramirez both struggled in their eight starts, and in all honesty are probably both suited better for a bullpen role.

Tampa was better than the MLB-average for most pitching statistics. At runs per game, they allowed 4.35 compared to the 4.65 MLB-average. That number is fifth-best in the AL, 11th-best overall.

Tampa starters won 52 games, just below the league average of 55, although this is only so much dictated by what the starters do. Only 51 of their losses were by the starters, third-best in the American League and ninth-best overall, and above the MLB-average of 57.

Tampa was one of three teams without a complete game on the season, but had 73 quality starts, above the league average of 71, good enough for a 45 percent clip.

Their average game score for their starters was 52, above average and also fourth-best in baseball (third-best in the AL East). Tampa allowed 236 runners on base when the starters exited, 7th-best in the AL.

The Rays will return all of these pitchers except Cobb, and they will expect Faria and Snell to take the next steps in their development moving forward to help push this pitching-rich team closer to the playoffs.