As Dave Cameron noted at Fangraphs, the Phillies' new top four of Roy Halladay-Cliff Lee-Roy Oswalt-Cole Hamels may have a case for greatest of all time.
Check out these eye-popping numbers:
The Phillies' 2011 top four starters combined for 21 bWAR and 22.2 fWAR in 2010. That just doesn't happen. As a point of comparison, the World Series-winning San Francisco Giants' big four of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner combined for 13.7 fWAR last season. Now obviously Bumgarner didn't have a full year in the rotation, but even so, that's still a massive gap. 22.2 is just a mind-boggling amount of WAR from not even a full five-man rotation, but a mere four-fifths of one.
For whatever reason SG doesn't have Hamels in his latest CAIRO projection, but the other three project to 13.9 total in 2010; if Hamels is around a 4.0 WAR pitcher again we're talking around 18 WAR from four pitchers. Bill James has Cliff Lee projected as the highest ERA of the four, at 3.50. CAIRO is slightly more bearish, but not by much. All I can say is I'm ecstatic that my team plays in the American League.