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?'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:


PitcherSO/BB2011 Club
Cliff Lee10.28Phillies
Roy Halladay7.30Phillies
Jared Weaver4.31Angels
Dan Haren4.00Angels
Adam Wainwright3.80Cardinals
James Shields3.67Rays
Roy Oswalt3.51Phillies
Cole Hamels3.46Phillies

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.

Read more:

There is a new top dog in major league baseball, and it isn't the Giants or Yankees.