Baltimore Orioles Renewed Starting Rotation Gives O’s Hope In AL East

SARASOTA, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Pitcher Andrew Cashner
SARASOTA, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Pitcher Andrew Cashner /
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1. New York Yankees

Starting pitchers: Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Jordan Montgomery, Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia, Adam Warren, Luis Cessa

The Yankees are somewhat similar to the Baltimore Orioles in that they have two young pitchers and three veterans in their rotation. The difference is that the veterans have each been among the best in the game during their career, and the young guns have shown their abilities, particularly in 2017.

Severino will start on Opening Day, and his 2017 was similar to the glimpse he showed in 2015. He went 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA in 193.1 innings in 2017, was an All-Star and finished third in the Cy Young race. Severino had 230 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.040. He was excellent.

Now, will that hold into 2018? Most seem to think so. But, most thought he wouldn’t go 3-8 with a 5.83 ERA in 2016 either, so we will see.

Tanaka, meanwhile, struggled in 2017 to a 13-12 record with a 4.74 ERA. Tanaka’s strikeouts per nine innings were the highest it has ever been, but it was also the worst season for the Yankees’ prized pitcher.

Montgomery finished sixth in the Rookie of the Year race, behind several hitters in the AL East, among others. He finished 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA in 29 starts in his first experience in the major leagues. Now, some would argue that Montgomery may not ever get much better than that, but in the AL East, that ERA will work. The WHIP of 1.230 isn’t bad, and his WAR of 2.9 was just what the Yankees needed from Montgomery in his first year in the major leagues.

Sonny Gray was traded to the Yankees around the trade deadline and went 4-7 for New York with a 3.72 ERA. Gray’s peripherals for New York were some of the worst of his career. His strikeouts per walks ratio were the worst in his career, and his WHIP was also much different from his career numbers.

Gray’s 2016 was affected by injury, but his 2017 was not what we have seen from his in the past. Now, the 2017 Gray is better than the Orioles’ young pitchers, and a lot of the pitchers in the game, but it will be interesting to watch his effectiveness in 2018 in the American League East.

Sabathia is no stranger to the division and continues to soldier on. I wrote last year that I didn’t think he would pitch the whole season for the Yankees, that his career was winding down.

Next: AL East Outfield Rankings 2018

Then he went 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA, very similar to his career numbers. His WHIP was slightly higher, but that is to be expected from a pitcher who no longer throws the way he used to. Will 2018 be the year Sabathia’s career winds down? At this point, I’d be leery of betting against him.

However, that’s what the Yankees did in giving the 17-year veteran a one-year deal.