Showing posts with label James Shields. Show all posts
Showing posts with label James Shields. Show all posts

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thinking About 2015: The Conclusion, I’m Greedy


For the past few days I have been thinking about the 2015 season and the team the New York Yankees will put out on the field and I have come to the conclusion that I am absolutely greedy. I haven’t lived up to the Greedy Pinstripes moniker as much in recent years as I did before the 2009 season when this blog was unofficially formed. This season I decided I have gone all out when I started constructing this All Star roster. If you remember correctly I added James Shields to the starting rotation, Nelson Cruz to a rotational DH spot, Asdrubal Cabrera to the shortstop position, and Grady Sizemore to the outfield rotation as well and I think I may have too many good players and not enough spots to give everyone playing time without gutting the roster.

Using the players added above the roster would look something like this:

SP1: CC Sabathia
SP2: Masahiro Tanaka
SP3: Michael Pineda
SP4: James Shields
SP5: Shane Greene
SP6: David Phelps
SP7: Ivan Nova

CL: David Robertson
SU: Dellin Betances
MR: Adam Warren
MR: Shawn Kelley
LR: Chase Whitley
LOOGY: Jacob Lindgren
LR: Manny Banuelos

C: Brian McCann
1B: Mark Teixiera
2B: Robert Refsnyder
SS: Asdrubal Cabrera
3B: Chase Headley

OF: Brett Gardner
OF: Jacoby Ellsbury
OF: Carlos Beltran

BN: Grady Sizemore
BN: Brendan Ryan
BN: Martin Prado
BN: Francisco Cervelli

BN/DH: Alex Rodriguez
BN/DH: Nelson Cruz


Obviously one or two of the pitchers would need to go, and that is before you consider Bryan Mitchell and others for a spot. We also have far too many options with the bats but hey, those problems are for the GM and the manager to figure out. Just bring me the best players to do the job and get me to the Promised Land. Get Greedy, get them all. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Pineda Throws Gem, But Offensive Problems Doom Yankees in Opening Loss to Royals

Michael Pineda gave up no earned runs in 7 innings and the Dellin Betances/David Robertson duo followed him with a pair of scoreless at-bats, but since the offense simply didn't show up again the Yankees uglily lost to the Royals tonight, 1-0, in the series opener in the Bronx. 

For the Yanks, in spite of the fact that yesterday's game ended with a walk-off homer, the contest was the second consecutive one in which they didn't give Pineda any support, something especially frustrating considering the way Kansas City scored in the top of the third.

Facing Pineda with one out and nobody on in that frame, Alcides Escobar hit a hard grounder right at Chase Headley, a play the latter usually makes in his sleep.

Nonetheless, for some reason Headley let the ball skip over his glove, an error that put Escobar at second to eventually set up a go-ahead single by Nori Aoki.

In other words, the guy who was the hero yesterday suddenly became the villain this evening, a misfortune that definitely helped out Royals' Starter James Shields, who impressively shutout the Yanks for 8 1/3 innings before Wade Davis closed things out in the ninth.

Thinking About 2015: The Starting Rotation


It is looking more and more likely that the New York Yankees will miss the postseason for the second consecutive season even after spending in excess of $500 million in free agent contracts in the offseason. When the Yankees fall out of contention I tend to start thinking about the next season just a little and try and plan out how the team can avoid this kind of disappointment in 2015. The Yankees starting rotation is going to be littered with question marks heading into the 2015 season with health questions for CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, and Masahiro Tanaka specifically.

Keeping the health questions in mind New York will need to have as much depth as they can stashed away in Triple-A and in the bullpen for next season. Taking into consideration all the options New York currently has at their disposal mixed in with the question marks the Yankees may be stacked at pitching next season.

The starting rotation looks to consist of CC Sabathia at the top followed by, in no particular order, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, and Shane Greene. It is extremely likely that New York brings back Brandon McCarthy to essentially replace the retiring and/or free agent Hiroki Kuroda in the rotation as well. New York also has Chase Whitley, Manny Banuelos, Bryan Mitchell, David Phelps and others already on the roster to potentially fight for a roster spot or work out of the bullpen.


As much as this is going to shock many I think New York should go with what they currently have in 2015 and avoid the free agency trap that is Jon Lester or Max Scherzer. If New York could get James Shields on a smaller termed deal, three years or less, than I would be more than willing to make room in the rotation for him by either trading a Shane Greene or not bringing back a Brandon McCarthy. Other than that I think the Yankees starting rotation is pretty much written in pen, hole punched, and placed in the 2015 version of Joe Girardi’s binder already. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Too Much Pitching is a Good Problem to Have


The New York Yankees face a very massive problem in 2015, and it’s a good problem to have, as they are looking at having too many starting pitchers and not enough starting rotation spots to fill them all. Even if the Yankees go with a six man rotation in 2015, which has been speculated upon and brought up by pitching coach Larry Rothschild, New York may have a crowded pitcher’s mound next season.

The Yankees already have CC Sabathia, Shane Greene, David Phelps, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, and Ivan Nova under contract for next season for a total of six starting pitchers. New York is also likely to have top prospects Manny Banuelos and Luis Severino knocking on the door in Spring Training as well as the Bryan Mitchell’s and equivalents of the world vying for a spot as well. This is all before the Yankees go out and presumably attempt to bring back Brandon McCarthy or try and lure a big named free agent like Jon Lester, James Shields, or Max Scherzer to the Bronx.


Honestly I am a fan, a greedy fan at that if you couldn’t tell by the blog name, and I couldn’t care less about the potential log jam that is being created in the Bronx right now. That’s what people like Joe Girardi, Larry Rothschild, Gary Tuck, and others are paid big bucks to worry about. I am a fan, not an insider, and this is a fan site, not necessarily a news outlet. There will be injuries, there will be struggles, and there should be options. Bring me McCarthy, bring me Lester, bring me Shields, bring me Banuelos, and bring me whoever else is left. Too much pitching is a GOOD problem to have. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Offense Stays Hot in 8-1 Win Over Royals

Michael Pineda tossed 6 1/3 innings of fun-to-watch one-run ball and the Jacoby Ellsbury/Derek Jeter duo combined for five RBIs tonight as the Yankees won a huge make-up contest, 8-1, over the AL Central-leading Royals. 

After Jeter knocked in this one's first run with a weak groundout in the top of the third, unfortunetaly, Pineda made his one mistake, surrendering a game-tying solo shot to Kansas City Third Baseman Mike Moustakas that easily cleared the right field wall.

Nonetheless, from that point on the Yanks' recently activated right-hander bounced back to make his overall performance likable, finishing up with just five total hits while striking out five, walking zero, and escaping a man-on-second jam in the home team's half of the sixth. 

No, those impressive numbers, Pineda's third consecutive ones since coming off the DL, weren't necessarily perfect, but since the usually-nonexistent-offensively Stephen Drew and the red-hot Martin Prado surprisingly took James Shields (6 2/3 IP, 6 ER) deep in the fourth and seventh and the Jeter/Ellsbury/McCann trio added three more late they did eventually prove good enough to get the W, with Ellsbury also collecting a two-run homer in the top of the ninth.

The Daily Dozen - August 25, 2014

The Daily Dozen - August 25th, 2014 - The Pine Tar Squared Edition
(Twelve Takeaways from Tonight's Makeup Game vs. the Royals)

1. First off...We Don't Want to be Royals...Thanks Lorde.

Tigers on a Gold Leash?? Sounds kind of cool...

The last time the Royals made the playoffs was in 1985...oh...and they won it.

2. Before the game, the Kansas City organization was all class.  They handed Derek Jeter a check for $10,000 to his Turn 2 Foundation.  I bet this was one of his favorite retirement gifts!
(Photo Credit: Associated Press, Colin E. Braley)

3. Derek Jeter then got the Yankees on the board first.  So it was a ground out, which Big Game James is used to inducing.  But it was an RBI ground out!

4. Moustakas responds with a solo HR off of Pineda in the bottom of the 3rd.  Why doesn't he just change his name to Moustache already...it would just be easier on everyone.  The Yankees have been hounded by .200 hitters this year, especially in the solo HR department.  Mike Moustakas' line for the year sits at .208 average, 15 home runs, and 49 RBI...remind you of any Yankees hitters?

5. ESPN is obligated to show the George Brett Pine Tar incident anytime the Yankees play the Royals.  And now that Michael Pineda got caught with pine tar on his neck against the Red Sox it must be shown EVERY game he pitches.  Thanks ESPN for the nostalgia!
(Photo Credit: BleacherReport.com)

(Photo Credit: SBNation.com)

6. James Shields aka Big Game James.  He was 3-0 this August and 28-12 in his career in my birth month.  But not tonight, however, as he gave up 6 runs and 4 of those in the 7th after he stopped getting groundball outs.

7. Stephen Drew mashes a 3-2 pitch from Shields in the 4th.  The count started out at 0-2 and he fought back resisting swinging at 3 inside pitches.  This was the turning point in the game.

8. Ichiro and Sisler.  The announcers (which include Aaron Boone) mentioned how when Ichiro was in St. Louis for the 2009 All-Star Game, he visited George Sisler's gravesite to pay the former hits leader in a single season respect.  In 2004, Ichiro Suzuki broke the all-time single season hits record of 257 hits while a member of the Seattle Mariners.  Pretty cool stuff.  Ichiro will likely join Sisler in the Hall of Fame one day.

9. The Yankees finally start to score runs in the 7th.  Prado hit yet another big home run, Jeter got his 2nd RBI of the game, and Ellsbury was SAFE at home on a close play at the plate.

10. New York is 19 for 24 in challenges this season.  Gotta love replay...at least as a Yankees fan, right?  It really doesn't take that long and most of the time the managers are getting it right.  Technology...
(Photo Credit: Ed Zurga, Getty Images)

11. Salvador Perez.  He's pretty damn good...not gonna lie.  He's the reigning Gold Glove winner at the catcher position in the AL and he's sports a decent bat with a .262 average, 15 home runs, and 55 RBI.  Basically McCann in his prime.

12. With the 8-1 win, the Yankees are now 3 games out of the 2nd Wild Card spot currently held by the Seattle Canos.  They have the ability to leapfrog the Tigers in the next series as they are 2 games ahead of the Yanks.  It obviously can be done as the Yankees continue to win (and I continue to predict them losing...thank me later).  Five wins in a row and counting!

Teixeira & Gardner Out w/ Injuries


The New York Yankees are facing a tough pitcher in James Shields tonight in Kauffman Stadium as the Yankees and Royals make up a previously rained out game from June. New York will not have Mark Teixeira and Brett Gardner in the lineup tonight as both are battling "nagging" injuries.

Teixeira has terrible numbers against James Shields in his career, who doesn't, and has been battling a nagging hamstring injury over the past couple of days. No word on whether he would be available in Detroit this coming week but if history is any indicator I would say Teix would at least miss the Tuesday night game just to be sure.

Gardner has been battling a sore ankle and will get at least one more day to rest it. This one I agree with as Gardner's biggest asset is his legs. He can't hit without his legs, he can't run without his legs, and he can't field without his legs. Not that I think Teixeira should play through a hamstring injury, I'm just saying.

Will a Six Man Rotation Effect The Yankees Free Agency?


I myself wrote just last week about the possibility of a six man rotation for the rest of the season in the Bronx and Joel Sherman reiterated my thoughts later in the day. What Sherman did that I didn't was he looked at the Yankees wanting to attempt the six man rotation in 2015 as well, something that pitching coach Larry Rothschild is behind and agrees with. Then this weekend my friend Bryan Van Dusen took the same approach as Sherman but looked deeper into the numbers and came to the conclusion that it made even more sense for the Yankees, and not necessarily other teams, to go ahead with the idea next season. My initial response was "great" but my initial question is how will this affect our approach heading into free agency?

It is no question that the Yankees will at least be interested in the likes on Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, and James Shields to replace Hiroki Kuroda and to improve the team but will a six man rotation keep them out of the discussion for these key free agents? The problem is your guess is as good as mine, this is truly uncharted territory for us all. Will getting five days rest and messing with a pitchers schedule keep free agent starting pitchers from wanting to come to New York?

While some pitchers have actually benefited from the extra rest others will tell you that they feel a little bit of rust while pitching with five days of rest. Another question is if it would even matter this season? Would the Yankees be willing to take on a third contract worth $20 million a season or more joining Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia?

New York will presumably have CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Shane Greene, Masahiro Tanaka, and Michael Pineda already in the fold for next season before you consider the possibilities of David Phelps being in the rotation or Brandon McCarthy returning to the club. I honestly don't think a six man rotation effects the Yankees free agency plan because I don't believe the team has room for one or two of the big three. Not that the Yankees couldn't or shouldn't make room for a Jon Lester or equivalent in the rotation but I don't believe they will have to unfortunately.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Offense Struggles in Second Straight Loss to Royals

After scoring 4 runs each of the last two games, it appeared the Yankees' offense was finally getting things together.

The expensive bats, 31-30 going into today, had gotten some big hits over the last few contests, putting themselves in a pretty good position with Hiroki Kuroda due to start.

That confidence, unfortunately, ended up proving misguided this afternoon, with the Yanks falling in ugly fashion to the Royals, 2-1.

Kuroda wasn't terrible in the loss, tossing 7 innings of two-run ball (both coming with two outs in the second), but due to recurring offensive struggles he and the team came up short.

To start off the day of dissapointment, the Yanks stranded the bases loaded in the top of the second, not scoring due to a pair of strikeouts of Derek Jeter and Kelly Johnson.

In between those K's was a grounder to first from Brett Gardner, causing Yangervis Solarte to be thrown out at the plate.

Later on in the third and fourth, the Yanks would also leave runners in scoring position, allowing James Shields to get the win with a six-inning, one-run start.

In the seventh and ninth, the Bombers got men to third off KC's bullpen, but again didn't score after a pair of inning-ending strikeouts of Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury.

Basically, the visiting team could never get a hit when it mattered, going just 1-for-17 with RISP. 

To add insult to injury, the team's power hitting duo of Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann struggled to just make contact in the ballgame, going a combined 0-for-7 with 4 K's.

On the bright side of things, Ellsbury did single in the contest's first inning, extending his current hitting streak to 13 games. It didn't necessarily help out the confident Yangervis Solarte and Ichiro Suzuki (RBI Groundout in sixth), who both had two knocks, but did show that at least one of this team's superstars was mentally at the game, something you could definitely argue against.

Game Thread: Yankees @ Royals 6/8


The New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals will play the third of their four game set this weekend at Kauffman Stadium this afternoon. The Yankees are in the middle of a 17 games in 17 days stretch and with a day game after a night game I wouldn't expect to see many regulars out there today. The Yankees will send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound to face off with James Shields, big game James no more. The game will be played at 2:10 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB TV, and WFAN.

Follow @GreedyStripes on Twitter to keep the conversation going during the game and all weekend long. We're always on and always talking Yankees baseball. If you would rather see the team live be sure to grab your Yankees tickets RIGHT HERE through our blog and with our friends at Ticket Monster. Drop us a line in the comments section as well, we had a few guys join recently and it has really revamped the conversation in there as well.

Enjoy the game Yankees family and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Big Game James Shields No More... Meme


Hasn't started a big game since being traded to the Kansas City Royals. I bet he is ready to get the hell out of there huh?

Preview: New York Yankees @ Kansas City Royals 6/8


The New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals will play in the third of a four game set this weekend at Kauffman Stadium this afternoon. The Yankees will send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound to face off with Big Game James Shields for the Royals. The game will be played at 2:10 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Kuroda is coming off what was probably his best start of the season last time out against one of the best teams in the American League in the Oakland A's. Kuroda allowed one run and two hits in 6.2 IP in his second longest start of the season. Kuroda's command has returned as he has averaged only one walk in his last three starts.

Shields has given up 17 runs in three straight no decisions so it's time for him to come in and dominate the Yankees, isn't that how it always works? The good news for the Royals is they have won all three of those games. Shields had won six of his seven starts prior to this streak and saw his ERA jump from 2.67 to 3.68 while allowing the 17 runs, 15 of them earned.

You can get your Yankees tickets for this game and every Yankees game home or away right here on the blog through our friends at Ticket Monster. TM offers no fee's on their purchases and has free same day shipping with Fed Ex express on every single order. Order your tickets now, Go Yankees!!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Quick Hit: Royals Just What The Doctor Ordered?


The New York Yankees are set to start 10 game West Coast road trip tonight first with a four game set with the Kansas City Royals followed by three game sets with the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics. Could the Kansas City Royals be just what the doctor ordered for a scuffling Yankees team?

The Royals are in last place in the American League Central division and have the fewest home runs of any team in the league. The Royals offense is last in the American League in home runs, OBP, SLG %, and total bases. The Royals are also at the bottom of the AL in walks, hit by pitches, OBP, and runs. The Royals offense has struggled mightily.

The Yankees will be facing Jeremy Guthrie, Danny Duffy, a James Shields that has allowed 17 runs in his last three starts, and Jason Vargas. The Yankees offense should blast at least three of these guys and could blow out the Royals all four games. The Royals are towards the bottom of the AL in wins by starting pitchers, complete games, home runs allowed, and strike outs. The pitching has been terrible this season.

The Royals may just be what the Yankees need to really get going this season.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Game Thread: Royals @ Yankees 7/9


The Yankees and the Royals play their second game of their four game series at Yankees Stadium tonight on YES, MLB Network, and MLB TV. CC Sabathia is fresh off winning his 200th game of his career last time out and looks for win #201 tonight. James Shields has a 6.48 ERA with a win and two no decisions in his last three starts so we may be seeing him at just the right time. Go Yankees!

Here is the Yankees lineup

1. Gardner CF
2. Suzuki RF
3. Cano 2B
4. Hafner DH
5. Almonte LF
6. Overbay 1B
7. Nunez SS
8. Cruz 3B
9. Stewart C


Follow us on twitter by following @GreedyStripes

Monday, December 10, 2012

James Shields & Wade Davis Leaving The AL East


The Tampa Bay Rays have traded the "old man" of their rotation today, Big Game James Shields, along with Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals for uber prospect Will Myers. The Rays will add a player to be named later and the Royals are also sending three prospects, Mike Montgomery, Jake Odorizzo, and Patrick Leonard. The Royals look like they could be tough this year with James Shields at the top, Jeremy Guthrie as a veteran presence somewhere near the middle, Ervin Santana, and Wade Davis could make things interesting in what is not the greatest of divisions in the AL Central. The Rays have to take a step back here one would think after losing these two big pieces so that is always good news for Yankees fans. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Best 1-2 Punch in the AL East

Going by ERA+ from last season, this is how they stack up in the AL East...

Red Sox - Beckett (147) & Lester (122)
Yankees - Sabathia (147) & Pineda (103)
Rays - Shields (132) & Price (107)
Blue Jays - Romero (146) & Morrow (90)
Orioles - LOL!

When it comes to the Rays I expect Price's ERA+ to rise to around 125 (it was 144 in 2010, and he'd already thrown 142.1 innings in MLB), but at the same time I expect Shields' ERA+ to drop. James' career high ERA+ before last season was 124 in 2008, and he turned 30 last December, so I wouldn't bet on him repeating his 2011 season. Looking closer I see that Shields can attribute his success to a much lower LD% (21% in 2009, 22% in 2010, 17% in 2011), and his ground ball rate went down a bit too (43.8% for his career, to 46.2% last season).

I see no way Beckett repeats his 2011 season either. A 2.89 ERA (career 3.84), 1.026 WHIP (career 1.220), while his K-rate and BB-rate were pretty much the same as his career averages. Basically, I think Josh got lucky last year. Lester, on the other hand, has seen his ERA+ drop in each of the last 4 years. His K-rate has dropped in each of the last 3 years as well.

Over the last 4 years CC has had an ERA+ of 157, 137, 136, and 147. His K-rate rose by about 1 K per 9 from his career average, which would lead one to think he'll regress a bit. However, he gave up more hits than he normally had in his first two seasons in pinstripes. His walks dropped a bit, but not so much that it makes warning bells go off. It's hard to judge what Pineda will do, as he's only had the one year in MLB. But he was giving up less hits per 9 innings than he did in the minors, and was striking out about the same. Working with MLB coaches should do nothing but help, and his potential is an ace in MLB, so I have to think he'll get better no matter what the numbers may say (keeping in mind I'm using minor league numbers as well as MLB numbers, so not a perfect sample by any means).

I'm not going to bother with the other two teams, because it's just not worth it. So this is how I expect the AL East 1-2 punches to pan out this coming season...

Yankees - Sabathia (135) & Pineda (115)
Rays - Shields (115) & Price (125)
Red Sox - Beckett (120) & Lester (120)
Blue Jays - Romero should have a pretty good year, but after that who knows?
Orioles - I don't see one pitcher worth mentioning here

Although the total ERA+ for the Rays and Sox are the same, I put the Rays in front due to the big drop from Shields (which I'm not 100% sure about), and the potential of David Price.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Best Rotation in the AL East?

Leading the charge in 2012

I read an article from Yahoo! Sports stating that, going into the 2012 season, the Tampa Bay Rays have the best rotation in the AL East. At first I wasn't really surprised to see that, but after reading the article and seeing that they only went over the top 3 in the Rays rotation, and then saw the rest of it almost as an afterthought, I decided to see how the Rays rotation stacked up against the Yankees rotation.

I chose Baseball Reference's version of WAR to compare all the pitchers. I'll admit that I don't quite understand how either B-R or Fangraphs do their WAR calculations, but I know they're different. So I took a shot and choose B-R. Hey, I had a 50/50 shot at which is better.

Here is the proposed 2012 rotation for the Rays, with their 2011 bWAR as well as some notes afterwards on whether we can expect an increase or decrease in that stat -

James Shields - 6.1 His career average bWAR in a season is 2.95, and being 30 years old I really don't think he can keep up that career high bWAR from last season. So I expect to see a drop.
Jeremy Hellickson - 4.2 Hellickson had a pretty low strikeout rate of 5.6, and coming into his 3rd season in MLB, I fully expect is bWAR to drop. I really think a bWAR of around 3.0 sounds about right.
David Price - 3.7 David's bWAR in 2010 was a 5.3, and generally a rookie pitcher does very well due to the "surprise factor". I mean, it's hard to prepare for a pitcher you've never seen before. But even though I don't see him being a 5.3 pitcher again, I think getting up to around 4.5 is reasonable.
Jeff Niemann - 1.1 After 3+ seasons in MLB I believe we've seen him strikeout as many as he ever will, even though his strikeout rate has gone up in each of the last three years. Coupling that with the fact he had the same bWAR in 2011, I don't see any change happening here.
Wade Davis - .2 Wade had a bWAR of 1.8 in 2010, and in 2011 his strikeout rate dropped for the 3rd straight season. Although I'm not totally convinced he'll have a higher bWAR in 2012, I'll go ahead and assume he will to be on the safe side.

Let me point out that there's a good chance that Matt Moore could be in the rotation for the majority of the season for the Rays. He did throw 164.1 innings last year (combined majors + minors), so theoretically he could throw around 200. However, I read the chat transcript over at MLBTR where Tim Dierkes implied that Matt wouldn't have a full workload for Tampa Bay. Seeing his innings go up from 123 in 2009 to 144 in 2010, I can see where the Rays may limit him a bit.

So what about the New York Yankees projected rotation in 2012?

CC Sabathia - 6.9 CC has had an average bWAR of 5.4 with the Yankees, and that 6.9 is his career high. So a reduction is to be expected. Although judging by his three-year average I don't see it going down by much.
Hiroki Kuroda - 3.7 Hiro's bWAR in 2010 was 2.5, and coupled with the fact he's moving to a much tougher league/division, I don't think I'm alone in expecting his bWAR to go down a bit in 2012.
Ivan Nova - 3.6 So far in MLB Ivan's strikeout rate has been 5.4, and that bothers me a bit. Not to the point that I'd like to see the Yankees shop him in a trade or something, but I don't see how he continues where he left off from last season.
Michael Pineda - 2.8 Although Robinson Cano's friend is moving to a tougher division, he was still in the American League, his strikeout rate is pretty high, and it's hard not to see a 23 year-old improving.
Phil Hughes/Freddy Garcia - 0.0/3.4 I'm going to go ahead and use their average bWAR as a guess as to what either one will do in 2012, because I see Freddy's going down while Phil's would go up. So a 1.7 sounds about right.

Notice that I'm assuming AJ Burnett is not going to be on the team, and therefore would not affect things. Call it wishful thinking or what-have-you, but I'm leaving AJ out of it.

Above I lined up the pitchers based on their 2011 bWARs, and I'm going to keep it that way in the head-to-head part here. The winner of each battle is in bold.

CC Sabathia vs. James Shields
Hiroki Kuroda vs. James Hellickson
Ivan Nova vs. David Price
Michael Pineda vs. Jeff Niemann
Phil Hughes/Freddy Garcia vs. Wade Davis

The second match-up was no mistake, as I can see both men being equal to one another. So at this point it looks like the New York Yankees have the better rotation going into 2012. However, we have to remember that Matt Moore could be around for 175 or so innings, and if we use him instead of Wade Davis I'd have to give the edge to the Rays pitcher.

So in conclusion, I believe that the Rays and Yankees 2012 projected pitching rotations are even. Perhaps that's not the conclusion Yankee fans were looking for but keep this in mind... the Bombers scored 160 more runs than the Rays last season, and I don't see that changing.