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The Myth that the AL East is Tough on Pitchers


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#1 nittanychris

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 06:07 PM

A few years ago it was a widely acceptable view that one should be very careful when selecting Starting Pitchers on your fantasy team that reside in the AL East. That division was just stacked with powerful offenses that placed these starters at a disadvantage. Well, the truth today is very different and here is why:
1. Tampa Bay- The Rays ranked ELEVENTH in runs scored in the AL in 2012. While it's true that Longoria is returning, they have never had a prolific offense, even with Longo, instead relying on their awesome pitching depth to get Ws.

2. Baltimore- The Birds ranked NINTH in the AL in runs scored in '12. Their DH is Wilson Betemit, who is far from an established hitter. Their first basemen, Davis, is a prime candidate for a massive regression in batting average this year. And while they do have some young studs still improving in Jones and Wieters, they still also have a dud like Nate McLouth starting in their OF.

3. New York- So now they have lost Grandy and Teixeira for a long time. Gone are Swisher's pop from last season and ARod is toast. Jeter and Ichiro are well past their prime and Jeter is coming off a huge injury. Cano cannot do it all himself. This offense will take a MAJOR step back this season, and I don't think that is a bold prediction at all.

4. Boston- Their biggest slugger, Papi, is really struggling with those achilles, and this could be the year he starts to decline after an amazing career. They brought in some nice guys in Victorino and Napoli and Middlebrooks emergence should help. I think this offense will be slightly above league average.

5. Toronto- Nothing bad really to report here. This will be a powerhouse offense in '13. Minor qualms are Lawrie's injury proneness, Encarnacion not having a long track record yet and Lind being an absolute zero in the middle of the lineup.

So, to summarize, this division has THREE subpar offenses in TB, Balt and NY. One slightly above average in Boston and one monster offense in Toronto.
So, despite some small ballparks, feel free to take starters from the AL East. ESPECIALLY if they are Toronto starters that throw a lot of ground balls.

#2 My Dinner With Andre

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 06:11 PM

The Rays have the 3rd lowest team ERA in baseball over the past three years

#3 baltimore_boy

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 07:37 PM

It's the ballpark factor that makes me shy away. Yankee Stadium and Fenway are very small parks, and Camden Yards is hitter friendly too. then Toronto's offense is supposed to be great. There aren't many obvious play matchups that come from a pitcher in the AL East.

Edited by baltimore_boy, 10 March 2013 - 07:37 PM.

Bring back Ray!

#4 CM52

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 07:47 PM

Toronto, Boston and New York will all finish top 10 in MLB in runs scored. And Tampa and Baltimore will be around 15; no lower than 20. Still the toughest division to pitch in, and it isn't really close.

#5 RotoRaysfan

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:04 PM

The Rays have the 3rd lowest team ERA in baseball over the past three years

It's the ballpark factor that makes me shy away. Yankee Stadium and Fenway are very small parks, and Camden Yards is hitter friendly too. then Toronto's offense is supposed to be great. There aren't many obvious play matchups that come from a pitcher in the AL East.


And not surprisingly, the Trop is one of the most run & HR-suppressing parks around. TB's ERA is a combination of their talented rotation, above-average team D (which actually took a hit last year with their brutal SS situation and Longo out, his D is really top-level, and the 3B guys they put out were abysmal glove-wise) and the home park.

Sure, the Sox & Yankees are in decline this year - and that's fine for a redraft league. But the AL East deserves its past reputation for being the hardest place for SP's to thrive - it just may be a little easier this year - but likely only on the road.

Much like I red-flag games in COL/ARI/CIN in the NL, and the Cell/Arlington for the AL non-East, I still red-flag games in Fenway/Yankee Stadium (and in actual fact, Camden is a huge crapshoot - it used to be the BAL O could be exploited based on meagre skills to offset the friendly park, but that's no longer the case). For Rogers Center, it's all about whether the roof is open or not - open, the ball just carries, and the run/HR's go up.

If you've got an ace, it won't matter - you run them out all the time. But, the practice of avoiding some parks still holds to Fenway/Yankee Stadium (which makes 7 in total - NYY, BOS, COL, ARI, CIN, CHW, TEX). Of course, if you know the lineup is pitiful (like BOS's September lineups - you'd have Mauro Gomez, Darnell McDonald, Daniel Nava & Pedro Ciriaco every day, you'd be taking your chances too), it mitigates the effect. But really, until the parks become a lot less pitcher friendly, it's a still a poor SP matchup, barring elite skills or absolutely brutal lineups (which for daily leagues, is worth speculating on, but caution is still warranted). And as the Sox are on the right course to rebuild, 2013 might be a little easier - but given the Sox & Yankees large payrolls, this downturn won't last for that long.

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#6 nittanychris

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:38 PM

The point is that the reputation of the AL East being tough on pitchers was earned. IN THE PAST. For the reasons I mentioned that is not the case this year. As for being top 10 or 15 in MLB, it useless to include the NL because it doesn't have the DH. The rankings I mentioned were in the AL only, as is most relevant.
Did anyone really think that TB scored less runs than Minnesota or Oakland?
THIS year, the AL East will not be particularly tough on starters. Not at all.

#7 RotoRaysfan

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:42 PM

The point is that the reputation of the AL East being tough on pitchers was earned. IN THE PAST. For the reasons I mentioned that is not the case this year. As for being top 10 or 15 in MLB, it useless to include the NL because it doesn't have the DH. The rankings I mentioned were in the AL only, as is most relevant.
Did anyone really think that TB scored less runs than Minnesota or Oakland?
THIS year, the AL East will not be particularly tough on starters. Not at all.


Maybe if BOS/NYY play on the road - but if it's at Fenway/Yankee Stadium, the point still applies. To be clear - NYY/BOS/CHW/TEX home games are still red-flags barring aces (and really, if BAL is back, Camden is another of the top 10 parks in all of baseball - and top 5 in the AL) because of the run/HR promotion in park factors. Again, if it's an ace, it's irrelevant. But playing @ Fenway, Yankee Stadium, Camden, and when Rogers Center has the roof open (very useful info for the daily leaguers), caution is still more than warranted. I agree their struggles makes BOS/NYY a more palatable matchup away from their home parks, but the home park is just as much a factor to stay away from teams who face the AL East...

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Been a blast everyone - take care, and remember to abide by the CoC, and to help your fellow community out - it's what's made the Forum community great!

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#8 CM52

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:43 PM

The point is that the reputation of the AL East being tough on pitchers was earned. IN THE PAST. For the reasons I mentioned that is not the case this year. As for being top 10 or 15 in MLB, it useless to include the NL because it doesn't have the DH. The rankings I mentioned were in the AL only, as is most relevant.
Did anyone really think that TB scored less runs than Minnesota or Oakland?
THIS year, the AL East will not be particularly tough on starters. Not at all.


If you play in an AL only league, then NL teams aren't relevant. But if you play in a mixed league, then they are because you can play NL starters. It's not "fair" from a talent point of view, but neither are the park factors. Your pitching stats aren't adjusted to take into account that they were playing in a bandbox, and they aren't adjusted to take into account that they had to face a DH. Those hits and runs hurt you just the same. And I guarantee you the 5 teams in the AL East score more runs cumulatively than the 5 teams in any other division.

Edited by CM52, 10 March 2013 - 08:44 PM.


#9 Slatykamora

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:12 PM

problem is, new York, Boston, Baltimore are still all pitcher friendly. Just because none of those lineups scare you. Does not mean they still won't do damage to your ratios. That and while Toronto plays a bit more neutral.. that lineup still has pop to it. Not sure if you can look at total runs alone here. You have to consider ball park factors.

#10 CM52

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:21 PM

problem is, new York, Boston, Baltimore are still all pitcher friendly. Just because none of those lineups scare you. Does not mean they still won't do damage to your ratios. That and while Toronto plays a bit more neutral.. that lineup still has pop to it. Not sure if you can look at total runs alone here. You have to consider ball park factors.


The runs (and hits and walks, which are very positively correlated with runs) are what hurts your pitcher when you play them, so of course that's what I'm looking at. I will say that park factors affect my run projections. I project the Yankees to be top 10 in runs because they play in YS. If they were in Safeco, I certainly wouldn't. But all that matters for your matchups are that the AL East will once again score more runs than any other division.

#11 nittanychris

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 12:55 AM

Point taken about mixed leagues. I DO play in an AL Only league so that is why I'm only looking at AL stats. The larger point is that, there are some park factors that are still relevant, but the lineups, with the exception of Toronto, don't scare me at all this year. Even for a pitcher who is not an ace. IE, I will not be shy about getting an Alex Cobb this year because he has to face NY and BOS.

#12 CM52

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 06:52 AM

Point taken about mixed leagues. I DO play in an AL Only league so that is why I'm only looking at AL stats. The larger point is that, there are some park factors that are still relevant, but the lineups, with the exception of Toronto, don't scare me at all this year. Even for a pitcher who is not an ace. IE, I will not be shy about getting an Alex Cobb this year because he has to face NY and BOS.


No, the larger point is that the AL East will score more runs than any other division. I don't care who you start against them and who you don't. It will be the toughest division to pitch in still.

#13 nittanychris

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 07:38 AM

Disagree. If you are in an AL only league it's important to know that the AL Central will score more runs than the AL East this year. Mark it down.

#14 An Old Hippie

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 08:02 AM


problem is, new York, Boston, Baltimore are still all pitcher friendly. Just because none of those lineups scare you. Does not mean they still won't do damage to your ratios. That and while Toronto plays a bit more neutral.. that lineup still has pop to it. Not sure if you can look at total runs alone here. You have to consider ball park factors.


The runs (and hits and walks, which are very positively correlated with runs) are what hurts your pitcher when you play them, so of course that's what I'm looking at. I will say that park factors affect my run projections. I project the Yankees to be top 10 in runs because they play in YS. If they were in Safeco, I certainly wouldn't. But all that matters for your matchups are that the AL East will once again score more runs than any other division.


Curious about why you think the Yankees will be in the top ten if you are talking about mixed formats. The starting projected line up to start the season is pretty laughable (in my opinion).

If you are talking AL only top 10 could still be less then 50% of the teams.

I agree with the original poster that the AL East isn't the strongest division from top to bottom.

#15 Slatykamora

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 08:04 AM

Point taken about mixed leagues. I DO play in an AL Only league so that is why I'm only looking at AL stats. The larger point is that, there are some park factors that are still relevant, but the lineups, with the exception of Toronto, don't scare me at all this year. Even for a pitcher who is not an ace. IE, I will not be shy about getting an Alex Cobb this year because he has to face NY and BOS.


Well, last year 6 pitchers in the AL east had the Qualifying IP and an ERA under 4. 4 of those 6 were Tampa Bay Rays. (Kuroda, and CC were the other 2)

#16 Slatykamora

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 08:14 AM



problem is, new York, Boston, Baltimore are still all pitcher friendly. Just because none of those lineups scare you. Does not mean they still won't do damage to your ratios. That and while Toronto plays a bit more neutral.. that lineup still has pop to it. Not sure if you can look at total runs alone here. You have to consider ball park factors.


The runs (and hits and walks, which are very positively correlated with runs) are what hurts your pitcher when you play them, so of course that's what I'm looking at. I will say that park factors affect my run projections. I project the Yankees to be top 10 in runs because they play in YS. If they were in Safeco, I certainly wouldn't. But all that matters for your matchups are that the AL East will once again score more runs than any other division.


Curious about why you think the Yankees will be in the top ten if you are talking about mixed formats. The starting projected line up to start the season is pretty laughable (in my opinion).

If you are talking AL only top 10 could still be less then 50% of the teams.

I agree with the original poster that the AL East isn't the strongest division from top to bottom.


Thats the Key, Opening day. Tex and Grandy are not going to be out all year. They will both be back.. When couple that with playing half the games at Yankee stadium and with a little Helping from facing the Orioles and Red Sox. Its not unpromising for them to finish in the top 10. Even if they don;'t have a top 10 lineup right now...

and I agree its not a strong as it has been..

#17 And Won

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:07 AM

Yeah its a different league now, AL East is nothing special. Yankee Stadium is still a wind tunnel but that's 1 field where you are wary about pitching.

#18 Zumayaaaa

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:27 AM

Park factors are real gentlemen. Do you remember the crap lineups that Boston and Colorado threw out there last season? Well they still finished 6th and 8th in runs scored. 1st and 4th @ home respectively. No matter how crappy you think the Yankees lineup will be they will still be a terror to play @ Yankee Stadium.

As for your AL East v AL Central prediction.

Pecota has the following projections:

AL East - 3842 runs scored
AL Central - 3689 runs scored
AL West - 3627 runs scored

#19 CM52

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 10:23 AM



problem is, new York, Boston, Baltimore are still all pitcher friendly. Just because none of those lineups scare you. Does not mean they still won't do damage to your ratios. That and while Toronto plays a bit more neutral.. that lineup still has pop to it. Not sure if you can look at total runs alone here. You have to consider ball park factors.


The runs (and hits and walks, which are very positively correlated with runs) are what hurts your pitcher when you play them, so of course that's what I'm looking at. I will say that park factors affect my run projections. I project the Yankees to be top 10 in runs because they play in YS. If they were in Safeco, I certainly wouldn't. But all that matters for your matchups are that the AL East will once again score more runs than any other division.


Curious about why you think the Yankees will be in the top ten if you are talking about mixed formats. The starting projected line up to start the season is pretty laughable (in my opinion).

If you are talking AL only top 10 could still be less then 50% of the teams.

I agree with the original poster that the AL East isn't the strongest division from top to bottom.


Been hearing this about the Yankees for years. They scored the 2nd most runs in baseball last year. "This year will be different." Uh huh, I'm sure it will. :rolleyes: Top 10 in baseball easily. Possibly top 5.

Disagree. If you are in an AL only league it's important to know that the AL Central will score more runs than the AL East this year. Mark it down.


LOL no. AL Central is the Tigers and a bunch of trash.

Edited by CM52, 11 March 2013 - 10:24 AM.


#20 An Old Hippie

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 10:44 AM

So to but it bluntly the reason the Yankees will be a top offense is that they were in the past. Losing Swisher, Ibanez, ARod, Martin, Granderson, and Tex won't make any difference. Replacing them with the likes of Youkillas, Rivera, Cervelli, and Nunez the Yankees won't miss a beat.

You maybe right.