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Atlanta Braves Rotation Is Comparing To The Phillies To This Point

Is it any coincidence that the Phillies and Braves are one and two in starter fWAR so far this season? I think not. But is it surprising that the Braves rotation is hanging close with the Phillies rotation to this point? I honestly don't think it should.

Braves Starters: 2.90 ERA, 2.89 FIP, 3.29 xFIP, 2.26 BB/9, 7.09 K/9, 49.8 GB%, 5.3 fWAR

Phillies Starters: 3.09 ERA, 2.38 FIP, 2.65 xFIP, 1.79 BB/9, 9.14 K/9, 47.5 GB%, 7 fWAR

Atlanta's ERA is better, but the fielding independent numbers are obviously in favor of Philly because of an insane 5.09 K/BB. The Braves staff has shown excellent control, limiting the walks to 2.26 per nine, second best in MLB. But that just shows how incredible the Phillies are at limiting walks by sitting at 1.79.

Ben Duronio at Capitol Avenue Club has a post up on Atlanta's staff fWAR. Every starter on the Braves has a fWAR of at least one, from Tim Hudson at 1.3 to Tommy Hanson, Brandon Beachy and Jair Jurrjens at 1. Meanwhile, the Phillies are top heavy, sporting a 2.5 from Roy Halladay, 1.7 from Cliff Lee and 1.3 from Cole Hamels. But Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton are below one.

Yes, I do realize both have been hurt at one time this season, but all this does is show the advantage the Braves have in starter depth. Atlanta is able to throw Mike Minor and Julio Teheran on the mound at any given time, while the Phillies are relegated to Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick. While Worley has been solid and Kendrick shut down the Braves again, it's safe to say most would rather have a combination of Minor and Teheran.

So while the Braves starters are pitching over their heads some and are due for regression, I don't think it should be surprising that they are hanging with the Phillies staff, and I would be surprised if this doesn't continue over the season due to depth. At the very least, I expect these two rotations to remain one and two in MLB throughout the year.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.