Back in 2006, Jeff Sackmann wrote an article in the Hardball Times taking a look at what should be expected from each rotation spot. His research was done because people tend to overestimate how good a pitcher should be. Sackmann studied the 2006 season to find the results for each spot in the rotation, using the following method:
For the purposes of this article, it's necessary to define exactly what a #1 starter (or #2, or #3) is. To keep things as simple as possible, I used ERA as a measure of pitching ability. I also figured that each rotation spot accounts for 32 starts. On many teams, the #1 guy isn't the same for the whole season. For example, let's look at the 2006 Twins. Here are all of the pitchers who made more than one start for Minnesota last year:
Starter GS ERA
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