How Were They Built?

As I sit here crapping my pants over the Royals' total lack of legitimate pitching options for 2012 and beyond, I thought that it might be instructive/helpful/soothing to take a look at some other teams to see how they have built their pitching rotations.

I wanted to focus on contenders and/or teams that are in a similar market situation to the Royals...teams like the Yankees really don't have much of a bearing on what we can do here in KC, so I picked the following teams to take a look at:

  • Atl
  • Fla
  • stl
  • Mil
  • Cin
  • Ari
  • Col
  • TB
  • Tor
  • Bal
  • Cle
  • Min
  • CHW
  • Tex
  • Oak
  • Sea

This pretty much covers over half of the teams in MLB, most of which are at least nominally in contention or at least competitive. My hypothesis before looking at any data is that on average, half of a team's starters are coming from outside the organization. For my purposes, "outside of the organization" means anything other than a draft or international signing.

I have broken the data into three segments: Free Agents (FA), Trade (T), or homegrown (HG). Also provided  are the averages for the whole data set, plus the three different "tiers", which I pretty much just arbitrarily assigned.


NO. 1 NO. 2 NO. 3 NO. 4 NO. 5 HG FA T
Atl FA T FA HG FA        1        3        1
CHW HG T FA T T        1        2        3
Tex FA HG HG HG T        3        1        1
stl FA T FA HG FA        1        3        1
Cin FA HG HG HG HG        4        1      -  
Ari T T T HG FA        1        1        3
Col HG T HG T        2      -          2
Tor HG T T T HG        2      -          3
Bal FA HG HG HG HG        4        1      -  
Sea HG T HG HG T        3      -          2
Fla T T HG FA HG        2        1        2
Mil HG T FA T T        1        1        3
TB HG HG HG HG HG        5      -        -  
Cle T HG HG T T        2      -          3
Min FA HG HG HG T        3        1        1
Oak HG T T T HG        2      -          3
KC HG FA HG FA FA        2        3      -  
 AVG.    2.29   1.06   1.65
 BIG    1.67   2.00   1.67
 MID    2.43   0.86   1.57
 SMALL    2.43   0.86   1.71


So, what does this tell us? On average, teams are getting 2-3 starters from their own system, 1 from free-agency, and 1-2 from trades. It also tells us that teams have been successful in a number of ways in building their rotations.

What does this mean for KC? Chances are, DM is going to have to make at least one trade and one FA signing to supplement what we've got in the system. On one hand, this makes me feel somewhat better that our farm system is not really that much out of the ordinary as far as how it produces pitching prospects. On the other hand, DM's track record with trades and FA signings has been mixed.

Right now, the Royals have 2 homegrown pitchers...getting a third (Monty, Lamb, Odirizzi, Dwyer) would put us above average, even for a small-market team. However, with limited resources, getting that third homegrown pitcher is imperative if we want to put out a legitimately competitive rotation.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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