If Baseball is 90% pitching and starting pitching represents about 70% of the hurling, then it must be so that the AL East, the best Division in MLB, will be won by the guys who take the mound in the first inning.
But which AL East team has the clear edge after the first 2 weeks of play? And which starters represent the best of the best?
Surely Cobb, Tillman, Tanaka, Kuroda, Pineda, Lester, Lackey and Peavey are presenting their teams with the most quality starts and/or dominating performances.
Those are the contenders for top AL East starter of 2014 so far.
If the season ended today and Boston & New York went to the postseason it is a certainty that Kuroda-Tanaka-Pineda and Lester-Lackey-Peavey would present formidable playoff rotations.
Don’t underestimate Tampa Bay’s 3 best starters, Cobb-Archer-Price,. They are clearly 3rd best but Price and Archer are capable of delivering more and probably will.
The tasty question is who is the top starter in the Division. Tasty, because the answer is Tanaka. He is distancing himself from the pack in a delightful way if you are a Yankee fan, and at an alarming rate if you are everyone else.
Tanaka leads the Division in K’s, IP, and fewest walks. His ERA is a sparkling 2.05. His strikeout rate per 9 innings is 11.45. That works out to 254 K’s if he throws 200 innings. If you have watched him pitch you know that of not for 1 or 2 mistakes he would have allowed no runs at all.
Pretty damn good start to a career, no?
Wait a second. There are 2 A-listers who have an even better ERA than Tanaka. Pineda sits at 1.00 this morning. And Chris Tillman is at a breathtaking 0.84.
What madness. They say that pitchers begin the season more ready than position players but these guys are hotter than hot.
Overall, the eight hurlers mentioned here are racking up innings, limiting hits, registering K’s and providing quality starts. They are definitely the best of the AL East so far.
Unless you consider Toronto’s Mark Buehrle, who is 3 – 0, 0.86 ERA and a WHIP of 0.90.