Join us in reading our MLB consultant’s intriguing article on American League pitchers who he deems to be a weak link for contending teams starting rotation.
AL Weak Starting Pitching Links
I’m going to be focusing on one American League starting pitcher for each of the nine teams that I deem to be serious playoff contenders at this juncture. These pitchers are what I consider to be the weak link in their team’s starting rotation.
Baltimore Orioles: Chris Tillman
Despite going a very good 29-13 with a 3.52 ERA in 67 starts during the 2013 and 2014 seasons for Baltimore, I’ve never been enthralled with Chris Tillman. He’s been less than impressive in 2015, going 6-7 in seventeen starts, posting a lofty 5.40 ERA, and 1.56 WHIP.
Boston Red Sox: Rick Porcello
The Red Sox had high expectations for former Detroit hurler Rick Porcello after acquiring him this past offseason. However, he’s been a huge disappointment thus far. Porcello has gone 5-9 in seventeen starts with a large 5.90 ERA, and has allowed 16 home runs in just 100 2/3 innings pitched.
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Houston Astros: Brett Oberholtzer
The southpaw hurler has struggled since returning to the starting rotation from the disabled list. In eight starts he’s posted a lofty 4.46 ERA. He’s also displayed terrible form during his three starts prior to the all-star break, posting a sizable 8.25 ERA and 1.92 WHIP. Oberholtzer was a terrible 5-13 in twenty-four starts during the 2014 MLB campaign, and he’s allowing an average of 10.6 hits per 9.0 innings pitched the last two years.
Kansas City Royals: Jeremy Guthrie
It’s tough to name a pitcher as being a weak link in the starting rotation after going a combined 28-13 during the past two seasons. When examining his numbers the last two years, he was far from dominant, posting a less than stellar 4.07 ERA. This year, Guthrie is 7-5 in seventeen starts, and has a less than impressive 5.36 ERA.
Los Angeles: Jered Weaver
The long time ace of the Angels organization has endured a gradual decline since 2013. He’s no longer the power pitcher he once was, and has struggled to make an adjustment in that regard. Case in point, during the first nine years of his career, Weaver averaged 7.5 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched, and that number has sunk to 4.6 this season. Weaver is 4-8 this year in fifteen starts with a lofty 4.75 ERA. He’s also allowed 16 home runs in 96 2/3 innings, and is on pace to surpass his career worst of 27 long balls surrendered which came last season.
Minnesota Twins: Mike Pelfrey
Pelfrey’s home and away splits this season have been night and day for lack of a better phrase. Pelfrey has posted a very good 2.22 ERA in eight starts at pitcher friendly Target Field. It’s been a different story on the road where he has a large 6.02 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in nine starts. The Twins right-hander is 1-4 in his last seven starts overall with a 6.08 ERA and 1.78 WHIP.
New York Yankees: C.C. Sabathia
I’ve included another long time ace of a pitching staff as a weak link. In seventeen starts, Sabathia is 4-8 with an unimpressive 5.47 ERA. He’s especially struggled at Yankee Stadium this season, posting a huge 7.71 ERA, and allowed 8 home runs in 35.0 innings pitched during seven starts. The 34 year old veteran hurler has certainly shown signs of a decline in recent seasons. Since 2013, he’s gone a combined 21-25 with a less than respectable 5.04 ERA, so keep these numbers in mind when placing your MLB picks.
Tampa Bay Rays: Alex Colome
This is a Rays team that was a first half surprise, and the majority of their success was a result of superb pitching. Although Colome hasn’t been terrible by any stretch, he does appear to be the most vulnerable starting pitcher in the rotation. He’s 3-4 in 13 starts with a 4.85 ERA.
Toronto Blue Jays: Drew Hutchinson
Hutchinson is similar to Mike Pelfrey of the Twins who I discussed earlier in this article. He’s been very good at home but quite the opposite on the road. Hutchinson has posted a mammoth 8.81 ERA and 1.98 WHIP in ten road starts, compared to an excellent 2.12 ERA in eight outings at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.