2012 Starting Rotation

While all of us Pirate fans are waiting on whether or not A.J. Burnett will become a Pirates I thought this would be a good time to look at what the Pirates rotation would look like with him in it.

Here is a quick comparison to the rest of the league. The Pitchers are sorted according to their xFIP from last season. My criteria was 100 IP as a starter because that translates to roughly half a season as a starting pitcher. I have the Pirates current starting 5 (Bedard, Karstens, Morton, Correia and McDonald) and Burnett bolded.

1.) Zack Greinke: 2.56

2.) Cliff Lee: 2.68

3.) Roy Halladay: 2.71

4.) Clayton Kershaw: 2.84


15.) Anibal Sanchez: 3.25 (average #1 starter)


30.) Rick Nolasco: 3.55 (borderline #1/#2 starter)


32.) Erik Bedard: 3.56


45.) Max Scherzer: 3.70 (average #2 starter)


60.) Jordan Zimmerman: 3.78 (borderline #2/#3 starter)


67.) A.J. Burnett: 3.86


75.) Jhoulys Chacin: 3.95 (average #3 starter)


78.) Jeff Karstens: 4.01


90.) Charlie Morton: 4.08 (borderline #3/#4 starter)


105.) Jeff Francis: 4.29


111.) Kevin Correia: 4.37


117. James McDonald: 4.46


120.) Brett Cecil: 4.47 (borderline #4/#5 starter)


135.) Tim Wakefield: 4.85

136.) Tyler Chatwood: 4.95

137.) Guillermo Moscoso: 5.04

Just as an additional resources here is the average xFIP results for the starting pitchers (based on games started) with less than 100 IP.

1+ starts: 4.69

3+ starts: 4.64

5+ starts: 4.61

8+ starts: 4.58

10+ starts: 4.60

12+ starts: 4.61

15+ starts: 4.49

As you can see the part time starters basically were no better than 5th starters. As you would expect the more starts the average pitcher got the better his xFIP. One would assume that to be the case because if his xFIP was poor he wouldn’t get additional starts.

So using just those numbers the Pirates (assuming they acquiring Burnett) have a high end #2 starter, a high end #3 starter, two low end #3 starters and two low end #4 starters. Obviously that is nothing great but it also isn’t terrible either. I am expecting McDonald to make a step forward this season so if that happens, the Pirates acquire Burnett and none of the pitchers suffer a serious regression the Pirates should be sending out a near league average starting pitcher everyday.


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