Rays don't have a top five starting rotation.
That is according to David Schoenfield of ESPN's SweetSpot blog.
In full, he said under the "I can't believe I'm leaving these guys off" section:
Such a weak argument to leave the Rays out of the Top 5. Let's break this down.
So? I don't see you disqualifying other teams for this. The Angels which you, David, included at #2 also play in a pitcher friendly ballpark, according to this article. Yet you still ranked them. This argument is too weak to be given any credence.
Again, so what? A few of the teams you listed have great defensive players but you sill listed them. It's a crime to discount the talent of a group of pitchers because the defense behind them is one of the best. This just screams sour grapes to me.
You may have a point here, Hellboy will no doubt have another remarkable season in 2012 but it will be near impossible to repeat that BIABP. However, to discount his ability let alone the rest of the rotation based on this is again ridiculous.
Yes, Shields put on a performance in 2011 that will be extremely difficult to repeat. But it's not impossible, especially if he's figured out his stuff. Shields could conceivably repeat his performance, but it's gonna take a lot of work. As for the second half of what you said, why is that relevant especially if he's figured things out? Grasping at straws.
As I said this is a weak argument to continue the typical ESPN hate. But in the end, the season will tell all.