Building A New Team Efficiently Part Two: The Rotation

Building A New Team Efficiently, Part Two

I’m continuing my series on building a new team for an expansion city on a 90 million dollar budget. Here’s part one if you haven’t seen it already. Today I’ll cover the rotation.

“Mr. Mozeliak, here is the second email, containing the starting rotation I’d use in 2015.

I’ve arranged it in the typical order.

Position Name Salary Status
Starting Pitcher #1 Julio Teheran 1,000,000 Veteran
Starting Pitcher #2 Alex Cobb 4,000,000 Projected 1st Year Arb
Starting Pitcher #3 Drew Smyly 3,000,000 Projected 1st Year Arb
Starting Pitcher #4 Jake Arrieta 4,100,000 Projected 1st Year Arb
Starting Pitcher #5 Dallas Keuchel 508,700 Pre-Arb


Their Stats:

Name ERA Innings Pitched FIP WHIP
Teheran 2.89 221 3.49 1.081
Cobb 2.87 166.1 3.23 1.136
Smyly 3.24 153 3.77 1.163
Arrieta 2.53 156.2 2.26 0.989
Keuchel 2.93 200 3.21 1.175


Teheran, who is Atlanta’s ace, has had two straight stellar seasons with ERA’s of 3.20 or less in both. He’s also pitched more than 185 innings in both, tossing 221 innings last year. All of this for 1 million dollars, easily the best value on the staff.

Cobb has also had two good seasons. He actually had better ERA’s than Teheran in both, but his innings count was lower, with his 166 innings last year being his career high, which makes me more comfortable slotting him second than first.

Smyly is coming off a solid season where he struggled a bit with Detroit but finished strong with the Rays. He had a career high in innings pitched with 153, which is a concern.

Arrieta and Keuchel are the wild cards. Neither of them had produced a season like last year before, or anything close to it.

Arrieta pitched decently for the Cubs once they acquired him from Baltimore in 2013, with a 3.66 ERA, but nothing close to what he did in 2014. His FIP was higher in his Cubs stint, though his WHIP was lower. However, last year he had his most games started in his five years in the majors with 25, along with a career high of 156 innings.

Keuchel also made a big leap, posting career highs in everything. Plus, in contrast to Arrieta, he achieved 200 innings in only his second full-time season as a starter and third season overall. Those 200 innings were roughly 50 more than the previous year, which was his first as a full time starter. He also had a league leading five complete games. If that trend of increased innings continues, he’ll be a workhorse at the back end of the rotation.

Of the two, Arrieta is younger at 24, while Keuchel is 27. This indicates Arrieta may still have room to grow, while Keuchel is entering his peak years, though he could be a late bloomer. Plus, as mentioned, 2014 was only his second year as a full time starter.

There’s no way to guarantee either one won’t regress next year, so to hedge my bets, I included a swing man in the bullpen, as you’ll see later.

Overall that’s 11,608,700 dollars spent on the rotation, or mych less than Clayton Kershaw makes in a year. Not too bad, don’t you think?”

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