Best Rotation Ever?
Cliff Lee signs with the Phildelphia Phillies, making a solid pitching staff incredible. On paper, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels make up the best pitching rotation in baseball. How does it rank against the best ever? SI.com's Tom Verducci examines the subject.
The Phillies' Fab Four haven't gone one time through the rotation yet, but there's already reason to begin speculating about their place in history as far as great rotations. Here's my take: it's the rotation with the best pure stuff and proven track record since the 1966 Dodgers of Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Don Sutton and Claude Osteen. (The '66 Dodgers won the pennant but lost the World Series to Baltimore.)
Here's why. Here are the top strikeout-to-walk rates in 2010 among all major league pitchers with at least 200 innings:
Pitcher SO/BB 2011 Club Cliff Lee 10.28 Phillies Roy Halladay 7.30 Phillies Jared Weaver 4.31 Angels Dan Haren 4.00 Angels Adam Wainwright 3.80 Cardinals James Shields 3.67 Rays Roy Oswalt 3.51 Phillies Cole Hamels 3.46 Phillies
That's four of the eight best starters in all of baseball according to strikeout-to-walk rate now on the same staff. Amazing.
In 1966, Koufax, Sutton and Drysdale finished 4-5-6 in strikeout-to-walk rate and Osteen was 29th.
There is a new top dog in major league baseball, and it isn't the Giants or Yankees.