There's no question the league's top starting pitchers --- Clayton Kershaw, Jon Lester, Corey Kluber and many others -- deserve to be at the top of the Major League Baseball pay scale. However, that next level of starting pitchers, the Nos. 3-5 starters, has become the most overvalued commodity in the sport.
That's about to change, as there likely will be a "market correction" coming over the next few years.
As I sat in the dugout with Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman earlier this postseason, we talked about how dramatically the game has changed in recent years, specifically with regard to defensive positioning, increased usage of relievers and subsequent shorter outings of starting pitchers. In fact, it's a true testament to Friedman and his front-office team that the Dodgers reached the playoffs and are still alive despite having to use 15 different starting pitchers this season.
Of course, they also had a solid offense and the majors' best bullpen ERA. They're also good at positioning their players, which means more efficiency (and success) for all their pitchers. But the point here is the Dodgers' bullpen, defense and run support had as much to do with them winning during the regular season as their starting pitchers. They went 91-71 despite Kershaw missing six weeks and midseason acquisition Rich Hill making just six starts for them.
So what has changed? Let's take a closer look: