Thursday, February 21, 2008
Baseball is just around the corner and thus it's time for my brain to be occupied by over analysis. Today I present you with a top to bottom ranking of the rotations of the National League.
16. Washington Nationals: Shawn Hill (R) John Patterson (R) Jason Bergmann (R) John Lannan (L) Matt Chico (L)
No surprise the Washington Nationals have the worst rotation in all of baseball. They currently have no front line pitchers. Hell the only name pitcher they have is Odalis Perez who was a bust for the Royals last season. Them being competitive this season means that once again their manager, Manny Acta, is a miracle worker.
15. St. Louis Cardinals: Adam Wainwright (R) Braden Looper (R) Joel Pineiro (R) Anthony Reyes (R) Matt Clement (R)
The Cardinals won the World Series two years ago right? I just wanted to clarify that because their rotation is absolutely dreadful. Adam Wainwright was a disappointment last season. Braden Looper showed his true colors towards the end of the season. Piniero has been released by teams. Reyes was a bust last year. And Clement is the Red Sox version of Pavano. Their rotation sucks.
14. Florida Marlins: Scott Olsen (L) Sergio Mitre (R) Andrew Miller (L) Mark Hendrickson (L) Ricky Nolasco (R)
At the very least the Marlins have a good lefty righty mix. If they can keep Scott Olsen from getting a DWI or getting taised by the police he should have a good season. Additionally Andrew Miller should have a good year in his first full season in the pros. The rest of the rotation is nothing to brag about.
13. Houston Astros: Roy Oswalt (R) Woody Williams (R) Wandy Rodriguez (L) Brandon Backe (R) Felipe Paulino (R)
One top pitcher does not make an entire rotation. Roy Oswalt is a terrific pitcher but he can't every day. Woody is ancient. Wandy is inconsistent. Backe is ok but coming off injury. Paulino is amongst the Astros top remaining prospects but so far he's had limited success during the cup of coffee he's had in MLB.
12. Pittsburgh Pirates: Tom Gorzelanny (L) Ian Snell (R) Paul Maholm (L) Matt Morris (R) Zach Duke (L)
Two years ago I had to protect Zach Duke, that's how piss poor the team I inherited was in the pitching category. 2 seasons later it wouldn't be surprising if the Pirates started to rethink if he is worthy of a spot in the rotation. The other 4 pitchers are nothing to brag about either.
11. Colorado Rockies: Jeff Francis (L) Aaron Cook (R) Ubaldo Jimenez (R) Franklin Morales (L) Jason Hirsh (R)
The defending NL champs come back with much of the same rotation that brought them to the World Series. Which begs the question, how did they get to the World Series again? The Rockies are reliant on the development of youngsters Jimenez, Morales and Hirsh in their quest to out perform their 2007 squad.
10. Philadelphia Phillies: Cole Hamels (L) Brett Myers (R) Kyle Kendrick (R) Jamie Moyer (L) Adam Eaton (R)
Now that Kyle Kendrick has not been traded to Japan for a hot dog eater, he can concentrate on filling in the Phillies rotation in his sophomore campaign. I agree with the Phillies move to pick up Lidge in the hopes of keeping Myers in the rotation but just wonder if he will slip back into the funk he started 07 in. Additionally Moyer and Eaton have seen better years.
9. Cincinnati Reds: Aaron Harang (R) Bronson Arroyo (R) Matt Belisle (R) Homer Bailey (R) Edinson Volquez (R)
Aaron Harang has been a beast for the past few seasons but is continuously overlooked because he pitches in a home run hitters park for a bad team. Much of the Reds season relies on which Bronson Arroyo they get. Do they get the typical run of the mill Arroyo. Or do they get the 2006 stud Arroyo. Additional all Red executives eyes will be focused on Homer Bailey to see if he starts living up to that top prospect hype.
8. Atlanta Braves: John Smoltz (R) Tim Hudson (R) Tom Glavine (L) Chuck James (L) Mike Hampton (L)
Jair Jurjjens (or however you spell it) may figure into the equation in Atlanta, given he was traded for Edgar Renteria. But as assigned now the Braves have a strong top of the rotation and three soft throwing lefties at the back end of the rotation. Perhaps it's just me but I'm not a big fan of throwing out ridiculously similar pitchers three straight games in a series.
7. Chicago Cubs: Carlos Zambrano (R) Ted Lilly (L) Rich Hill (L) Jason Marquis (R) Jon Lieber (R)
Big Z guaranteed the Cy Young last season. He did not deliver. Meanwhile Ted Lilly and Rich Hill got off to terrific starts but both slowed considerably near the end of the season. After those 3 the Cubs have some decent question marks on whether Marquis or Lieber can be productive enough to stabalize the back end of the rotation.
6. Milwaukee Brewers: Ben Sheets (R) Dave Bush (R) Jeff Suppan (R) Yovani Gallardo (R) Chris Capuano (L)
The Brewers have a very talented rotation that hasn't quite lived up to their hype. Sheets is amongst the most frustratingly always injured major league pitchers. Chris Capuano morphed from superb to useless last year. Dave Bush was supposed to have a break out 2007. It didn't happen. And the Mexican phenom Gallardo showed up to camp and immediately got injured. The Brewers have the talent to be in the top few rotations in MLB but will the talent actually take form?
5. Los Angeles Dodgers: Brad Penny (R) Derek Lowe (R) Chad Billingsley (R) Hiroki Kuroda (R) Jason Schmidt (R)
Remember when Jason Schmidt was amongst the best pitchers in major league baseball? Now coming off surgery ESPN had him ranked as the Dodgers #5 starter. If Joe Torre has him at #5 and Hiroki Kuroda is more Hideo Nomo and less Kei Igawa than he may have inherited a rotation better than the one he left in the Bronx.
4. San Francisco Giants: Barry Zito (L) Matt Cain (R) Tim Lincecum (R) Noah Lowry (L) Kevin Correia (R)
At the end of this season it won't be surprising if most of these pitchers wind up below .500 and yet I have them as the 5th best rotation in the NL. The problem for the 2008 Giants is that they may have the worst offense in the history of major league baseball.
3. San Diego Padres: Jake Peavy (R) Chris Young (R) Greg Maddux (R) Randy Wolf (L) Mark Prior (R)
The Padres have two dominant starters, a future hall of famer, a solid middle of the rotation pitcher and one certain DL bound talent. But imagine what the possibilities could be for the Padres if somehow Mark Prior doesn't break down mid-season and regains the potential he once showed.
2. New York Mets: Johan Santana (L) Pedro Martinez (R) John Maine (R) Oliver Perez (L) Orlando Hernandez (R)
It really is amazing what picking up the best pitcher in baseball does to your rotation. Last year the Mets were middle of the pack. This year they have amongst the best rotations in the National League. It really is that simple, just trade for the best pitcher in baseball and you have a good rotation. It's a wonder why teams don't do this more often.
1. Arizona Diamondbacks: Brandon Webb (R) Dan Haren (R) Randy Johnson (L) Doug Davis (L) Micah Owings (R)
The Diamondbacks won their division last season on the strength of their pitching. So in the offseason they decide to add another ace to their rotation. If Randy Johnson can somehow stay healthy this year the Diamondbacks have assembled a lethal set of arms.