After the Fogg signing I started wondering just how our top 4 starters compared purely in ERA to the rest of the NL in 2007. Even though all 4 pitched at least 1/2 of all of their starts in very hitters friendly parks (GABP or Denver) here is where they ranked.
13th - Aaron Harang 231.2 ip 3.73 ERA
23rd - Bronson Arroyo 210.2 ip 4.23 ERA
35th - Josh Fogg 165.2ip 4.94 ERA
41st - Matt Belisle 177.2 ip 5.32 ERA
Ok so there are 16 teams in the NL. That would mean being a league average #1 you should rank between 8-9th. #2 between 24th-25th. #3 between 40-41th and #4 between 56-57th. This is using zero peripherals and I realize that there is alot that goes into stats but ERA is a good indication of a pitchers ability to impact games. The less runs you give up the easier it is for your team to win. So look at this
Aaron Harang - below average #1 but still a #1
Arroyo - very slightly better than league average #2
Josh Fogg - low #2 but better than #3
Matt Belisle - exactly a #3
If those 4 starters pitch the exact same # of innings and give up the exact same number of earned runs then they'll have an era of 4.47 in 785.2 ip out of about 1450 innings in a season or slightly more than 1/2 of all innings. NL average team starting ERA was 4.65 in 2007. NL average innings for starters was 928 per team in 2007. The Reds would need 142.2 innings with an ERA of 5.63 in those innings to be league average for starting pitchers. If those 4 above equal last years numbers combined (Very possible and potentially better) and if 1 of our young guys turns in a 4.5-4.9 ERA type of season then we could have one of the better staffs in the NL. Our problems last year with starting pitching was #5 starter and the guy replacing Lohse after he was traded.
Our other problem was relief last year. We finished dead last in the NL at 5.10 ERA and next to last was Pittsburgh with a 4.77 ERA. NL average is 4.06. Francisco Cordero brings a 2.98 ERA in 63.1 ip. Weathers pitched at 3.59 in 77.2 innings. Affeldt threw a 3.51 in 59 innings. Burton threw at 2.51 in 43 innings The average NL team uses it's relievers for 524 innings per year. Those Reds threw for 243 innings of 3.22 ERA. We still need to find 281 innings with an average of 4.79 ERA from relievers if those 4 pitch identical seasons. Burton will get more innings this year as he will be playing a full season and Affeldt will probably pitch in long relief. Even with that were looking at about 225 innings with other relievers. Maybe Coffey will be better or Bray or someone else. Statistics, however, speak for themselves. Starting pitching is not a reason to worry in 08. How good our 5th - 10th best relievers are, is.
All stats from ESPN.com