The rising generation of front-office talent is steeped in numbers and percentages. There is a reflexive need to construct all decisions and investments on data bedrock. Maybe players and agents frustrated by the thin free-agent offers this winter shouldn't be surprised because, increasingly, baseball teams weigh contracts like insurance salesmen: They assess risk.
More and more, the overwhelming industry trend is to bet against risk. Which is not a bad thing, by the way. A longtime executive said drolly, "Intelligent decisions are good."
Through this constant risk assessment, some evaluators think, teams are increasingly wary of injury potential and are gravitating toward players who actually get on the field -- pitchers who make their starts and position players commonly available to be in the lineup. This trend is reflected in the lists collected for our ongoing top 10 series, which continues with a ranking of the top 10 rotations.
The New York Mets present a classic example. Pitcher for pitcher, they probably have more pure talent in their rotation than any other team, with Noah Syndergaard's overpowering stuff, Matt Harvey's fastball, etc. "But they need to actually get out there and do it," one executive said. "It's one thing to have a great arm, but you have to show that you can give 180-200 innings."
With that in mind, here are the top 10 rotations, based on input from evaluators.