Commentary

A staff for the ages

Vance Worley's emergence has put Phillies' rotation on verge of historic feat

Updated: September 20, 2011, 12:21 PM ET
By Dan Szymborski | Baseball Think Factory
Vance WorleyHoward Smith/US PresswireWith 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings, Worley is showing the league that he's far from a fluke.

In December, the Philadelphia Phillies were revealed to be the notorious "mystery team" in the hunt for Cliff Lee, eventually signing the 2008 AL Cy Young winner to a five-year, $120 million contract. With Philly's rotation already containing Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, the hype surrounding the team's quartet of starting pitchers reached epic proportions. The hypemakers were wrong -- the Phillies' starters went on to exceed expectations.

After the inking of Lee, we took a look at the Philly front four using the ZiPS projection system. For the Fab Four, we came up with a projection of 19.8 WAR (wins above replacement), which would have given the Phillies the 13th-best top four starters in a rotation since the start of the divisional era in 1969.


To see what record the Phillies' rotation is about to break, become an ESPN Insider today.