1. LH CC?Sabathia
» 2010: 21-7, 3.18 ERA, 197 SO, 1.19 WHIP
» The scoop: There are no worries here with their ace, since Sabathia is the model of consistency with 40 wins in pinstripes. After losing some weight, figure on more of the same unless any of the knee problems that caused his surgery resurface.
» Boston has: Jon Lester (19-9, 3.25)
» Tampa Bay has: David Price (19-6, 2.72)
» Philadelphia has: Roy Halladay (21-10, 2.44)
2. RH A.J. Burnett
» 2010: 10-15, 5.26 ERA, 145 SO, 1.51 WHIP
» The scoop: The classic coin flip. He can no-hit a team or completely implode. A new pitching coach in Larry Rothschild and a new mechanical adjustment might get Burnett back to resembling something close to the 2009 version.
» Boston has: John Lackey (14-11, 4.40)
» Tampa has: James Shields (13-15, 5.18)
» Philadelphia has: Cliff Lee (12-9, 3.18)
3. RH Phil Hughes
» 2010: 18-8, 4.19 ERA, 146 SO, 1.25 WHIP
» The scoop: The young righty Hughes has adjusted the grip for his cutter, a pitch that appears to be the reason for diminished velocity, according to scouts. He made the All-Star team last season but was bailed out time and time again by the bats in tough spots. Let’s see how he adjusts to a permanent innings boost and the pressure of being a No. 3.
» Boston has: Clay Buchholz (17-7, 2.33)
» Tampa has: Wade Davis (12-10, 4.07)
» Philadelphia has: Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.76)
4. RH Ivan Nova
» 2010: 2-1, 4.50 ERA, 7 GS
» The scoop: The 24-year-old’s brief look in the rotation consisted of three or four strong innings followed by some form of major fatigue.
5. RH Freddy Garcia
» 2010: 12-6, 4.64 ERA, 89 SO
» The scoop: This spot in the rotation is hardly locked in and figures to remain that way all year. The 34-year-old has played just one full season in four years and no longer has a signature fastball. If he can’t secure the job, look for Bartolo Colon.
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