Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
STARTING PITCHER #1
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I will be the first to admit that I believed Tanaka’s arm was going to fall off after it was announced that he had a partial tear of his UCL. He wound up pitching 154 innings of sub 1.00 Whip and won exactly half of his starts. As miraculous as that was, it doesn’t come close to Stroman’s rise to the playoffs after he tore his ACL and returned to action within the same season. That’s why I have him ahead of the others, he’s all heart and talent.
And that’s why whenever the Jays had trade talks, despite the injury every single team asked for Stroman first. Cobb’s a great ace for the Rays while Tillman is more than capable of shutting down any opposing team. Only Buchholz stands out like a sore thumb on this list. He’s the outlier and there’s no way he remains their top option going into the 2016 season.
Side Note: It’s doubtful that David Price goes to Boston since he isn’t likely to be effective in the A.L. long-term when his fastball velocity diminishes. Therefore, I’m thinking they’re likely to target either Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, or Jordan Zimmermann on the FA Market. Expect one of those 3 in Boston soon, in which case they’d likely slot 1st or 2nd on this list.
Ranking: 1. Stroman, 2. Tanaka, 3. Cobb, 4. Tillman, 5. Buchholz
Next: Ranking the AL East #2 Starters