Discussion

Contenders without enough arms

These three clubs could see playoff hopes dashed by a lack of pitching

Updated: February 10, 2014, 3:49 PM ET
By Paul Swydan | ESPN Insider

We all know that depth is important for teams across sports, and with the largest number of games to fill, it is of paramount importance for baseball teams. In a nutshell: Over the course of six months and 162 games, stuff happens. This is especially true when it comes to starting pitchers. It's rare that a team makes it through a season with its intended rotation intact.

Last month, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs wrote that in 2013, on average, each team needed 32 starts from starting pitchers who weren't among the five most frequent starters. In essence, what this means is that teams need to have quality options at the sixth and seventh spots in their rotation. It is in this area that the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics and Atlanta Braves may come up a little short in 2014.

All three supposed contenders face injury concerns with the front five members of their rotation, and it doesn't get much prettier after the front five. Let's take a closer look.


Los Angeles Angels

A lot of teams can at least feel confident about the front five members of the rotation. Not so for the Angels. The Halos are shaping up as a bona fide contender, but if they slip up, it will likely be the rotation's fault, and there are holes to poke in nearly every member of the rotation.

MORE MLB HEADLINES