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 /
5 of 5

1. New York Yankees – Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Jordan Montgomery, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Sonny Gray, Jamie Garcia
The only thing that went wrong for the Yankees was the options they acquired for the postseason push. Gray was 4-7 in pinstripes with a 3.72 ERA. Garcia was 0-3 in eight starts, with a 4.82 ERA. Otherwise, it was a pretty good year.

Severino was fantastic, pitching to a 2.98 ERA and a 14-6 record. Tanaka struggled a good deal, with a 13-12 record, a 4.74 ERA and 35 home runs allowed.

But Montgomery might have been what held it all together. As the team’s fifth starter out of Spring Training, and thrust into a big role when Michael Pineda got hurt, he went 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA as a 24-year-old rookie left-hander.

The possibly ageless Sabathia was 14-5 at 36-years-old, with a 3.69 ERA. Pineda was having his issues through 17 starts, but was 8-4 at the same time. A little offense helps mask issues, doesn’t it?

The other interesting part here is that Severino, Montgomery, Pineda and Gray return, and Sabathia may want to too. Yankees’ starters allowed 4.07 runs per game, second-best in the AL and fourth-best in baseball.

Their starters picked up 62 wins, which was fourth-best in the AL, while only losing 47 games, third-best in the American League. Forty-six percent of their starts were of the quality variety, fourth-best in the American League. As mentioned earlier, their average game score was 53, tied with Boston for second-best in the American League.

New York only left 215 runners on base when their starters exited, fourth-best in the American League.

Next: Orioles Sign Handful of Free Agents to Minor League Deals

As with many things in the AL East, it appears the Red Sox and Yankees will be battling for top rotation for years to come. The one caveat is the Red Sox have a strong track record of that success, while the Yankees will need to rely on younger pitchers and also veterans.