With the position players done, we move onto the rotation.
Rangers - Cliff Lee was the ace everyone coveted for the stretch run and if the rumors are true the Yankee's were their biggest competition for him. The scuttlebutt is that the Yankee's offered up Montero but we will never know for sure. What we do know is that the Rangers offered up their top prospect as bait and the Mariners swallowed it whole. Has anyone had a larger impact as a rental player then Cliff Lee in the postseason? Not sure but you can bet when someone says those mid - season trades never pan out, his name will be sure to pop up first in rebuttal.
Giants - Tim Lincecum was the freak of the 2006 draft class. Seemed like no one knew what to make of him, but the Giants shrugged off the concerns of the teams who drafted Hochevar, Reynolds, Lincoln, Morrow, Miller, Stubbs, and Rowell before him and plucked him with 10th pick.
Rangers - CJ Wilson started six games in 2005, since that year he appeared in 234 games as a relief pitcher, doing well enough he was the part time closer from 2007-2009. He lost the closer job in 2009 to Mr. Feliz, and the setup job to Frank Francisco so he said WTF, give me a chance to start. So they did. Viola, the Rangers found their best starter from their own team, in the bullpen (until they traded for Cliff Lee). This just does not happen enough. The 29 year old threw 205 innings in the regular season after having thrown 234 the previous four seasons combined. I figured at best, Wilson would fill out the back end of the rotation. Little did I think he'd be the guy following Cliff Lee in the post season rotation.
Giants - Jonathan Sanchez lost his rotation spot in on June 22nd, 2009 with a 5.54 ERA with most of the damage coming via 44 walks in just 66 innings. Then someone got hurt and Sanchez was thrust back into the rotation on July 10th against the Padres for his date with history. He gave up zero hits, more importantly he walked no one, while striking out 11. From that day on Jonathan Sanchez became an integral part of the formidable Giant rotation. He never walked more then four players in a game the rest of the year while striking out 109 in just 93 innings. It took a while for Sanchez to get to this point, but it also took fellow wild left hander Randy Johnson a while to arrive. Luckily for the Giants they were patient and didn't trade him for a relief pitcher or right handed 1st baseman like Jorge Cantu.
Rangers - Colby Lewis was originally a hot shot prospect for the Rangers, drafted in the 1st round (38th pick) of the 1999 draft. Lewis shot through the minor league system and was in the rotation by 2003, but the ballyhooed prospect was awful. Not just kind of awful, all sorts of awful, giving up 163 hits in only 127 innings, along with 70 walks. He was even worse in 2004 when he walked more then struck out so they finally checked him out and found a torn rotator cuff. He was done for 2005 and the Rangers put him on waivers in 2006 and eventually ended up in Japan. That was where he started his comeback, and two years later was a free agent that anyone could sign. The Rangers came calling and gave him a simple two year five million dollar deal and what they got in return was the prospect they thought they had back in 2003. 201 innings, almost 200 strikeouts (196), a walk rate below three, a K rate above 8.0, a whip of 1.18 in Arlington? What a trip it has been for Colby Lewis, what a steal he was for the Rangers.
Giants - Matt Cain was drafted in the 1st round of the 2002 draft with the 22nd pick. By the age of 20 he was pitching for the Giants. By the age of 21 he was a permanent fixture in their rotation. From the age of 21 - 25 he has never pitched less then 190 innings, he has a career ERA+ of 128, he is a model consistency when you look at his seasons and ignore the ups and downs of the regular season. He is a horse. He is exactly what you'd hope to get with a first round pick.
Rangers - Tommy Hunter was the 1st round pick in 2007 for the Rangers (54th pick). This was not supposed to be his gig, this was supposed to be Rich Hardens. Rich Harden however seemed to have lost the ability to pitch even when he's not on the DL so Tommy Hunter inherited this gig. Or it was supposed to be Scott Feldman. Anyone remember him. In 2009 he was the Rangers best pitcher. Now he's an afterthought. Or it could have been Derek Holland who I think is better then Hunter but they are in the World Series so whatever I think should just be discounted. Hunter also moved fast. All these number one picks moved fast, and just two years after being drafted was in the Ranger rotation. He doesn't strike out anyone though you wouldn't know it by the way he k'd the Rays before they knocked him out. I'm not a big fan, this is a weak link, but they do have Holland the direct opposite of Hunter. Holland was not drafted until the 25th round of 2006. Holland strikes out hitters at almost twice the rate of Hunter. Holland will clean up whatever mess Hunter creates. 25th round draft pick!
Giants - Madison Bumgarner Jiminy Crickets another number one draft pick. Another 10th pick. I don't remember the Giants being so bad they could draft Posey, Lincecum, and Bumgarner. Man, I hope we don't have a run as bad as that. Unless of course it means we end up in a World Series. Bumgarner was considered a Kershaw like talent when he was drafted and was on the fast track until something happened to his velocity in 2009. Whatever it was corrected itself and he pitched himself in to the rotation by June 26th. He had some ups and downs but when Sept rolled around he rolled over the competition. In 32 innings, 31 K's, only 4 walks, 1.13 ERA, an more telling an .590 OPS against. The kid had arrived just in time.
We are only going to see four starters from each team. The Giants have the most expensive bench players in baseball watching these games in Barry Zito. They built their rotation with number one picks. The Rangers built theirs with astute trading Cliff Lee, astute foresight to move CJ Wilson to the rotation, astute free agency signing of Colby Lewis, and a number one pick in Tommy Hunter.