Where Do Brewers Rank With Greinke?

July 31, 2010 - Kansas City, Missouri, United States of America - 31 July 2010: Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Zack Greinke.

The addition of Zack Greinke rightfully has Brewers fans excited — the 1-2 punch of Greinke and Yovani Gallardo could potentially be better than the Sabathia-Sheets duo of late 2008, and the rotation as a whole could end up being one of the best in team history.

Of course, the Brewers won’t be the only team in the National League with an impressive starting rotation. The Phillies are still the favorites to win the pennant after signing Cliff Lee, the Giants won the World Series thanks to their pitching, and the Cardinals still have a dominating trio of their own.

So where does the Brewers’ rotation rank? For a quick-and-dirty estimation, let’s use the 2010 FanGraphs WAR numbers see how they stack up against the best rotations in the Central, as well as the Giants and Phillies.

Brewers
Greinke – 5.2
Gallardo – 4.6
Marcum – 3.5
Wolf – 0.7
Narveson – 1.7
Total – 15.7 WAR

Cardinals
Carpenter – 3.7
Wainwright – 6.1
Garcia – 3.2
Westbrook – 2.3
Lohse – 0.7
Total – 16.0 WAR

Reds
Arroyo – 1.7
Cueto – 2.8
Volquez – 0.9 (partial season)
Bailey – 1.9
Wood – 2.2
Total – 9.5 WAR

Cubs
Dempster – 3.5
Zambrano – 2.4
Gorzelanny – 2.3
Wells – 3.3
Silva – 2.1
Total – 13.6 WAR

Giants
Lincecum – 5.1
Cain – 4.0
Bumgarner – 2.0
Sanchez – 2.6
Zito – 2.1
Total – 15.8 WAR

Phillies
Halladay – 6.6
Lee – 7.1
Oswalt – 4.7
Hamels – 3.8
Blanton – 1.9
Total – 24.1 WAR

Obviously, Philly still blows everyone out of the water over the course of a full season, but anything could happen in a short playoff series. The Reds will likely see an improvement thanks to a full year of Edinson Volquez, but still likely won’t approach the effectiveness of the Brewers’ rotation. Compared to St. Louis and San Francisco, Milwaukee is surprisingly similar. If Randy Wolf can avoid pitching like total garbage (like he did in the first half of 2010), it’s not a stretch to say that the Brewers could outproduce both.

It definitely looks like we have good reason to be excited, doesn’t it? It’s not too often a pitching staff can go from second-worst to possibly second-best in just one offseason.

UPDATE: When I did this the first time, I had a feeling I might be overlooking someone. The excellent Dodgers blog Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness pointed out on Twitter that LA’s not looking too shabby, either:

Dodgers
Kershaw – 4.8
Billingsley – 4.6
Kuroda – 4.2
Lilly – 2.3
Garland – 0.8
Total – 16.7 WAR

There’s going to be some great pitching in the NL this year. I still feel like I screwed something up. Are there any others that I’m forgetting?

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