Do the Diamondbacks Have a Strong Enough Rotation to Win the NL West?

Wednesday January 11th, 2012

Sam Evans: Last year, the Diamondbacks came out of nowhere and won 94 games.  This was thanks mostly in part to their offense. But having three pitchers throw over two hundred innings each didn’t hurt. This offseason, the Dbacks gave up some of their premium minor league talent to acquire Trevor Cahill, who should prove to be another solid pitcher in their rotation.

Last year, Arizona’s best pitcher was Ian Kennedy. He had a breakout year, finishing fourth in the NL Cy Young voting. Kennedy had a 3.22 FIP, 2.88 ERA, and was worth a 5.0 WAR. Kennedy has turned into an ace ever since coming over from the Yankees in 2010. If Kennedy can turn in another workhorse season, the Diamondbacks will have their first All-Star pitcher since Dan Haren in 2009.

Daniel Hudson deserves almost as much credit as Kennedy for the Dbacks success. Hudson was worth a 4.9 WAR in 2011, and was better than his 3.49 ERA suggested. Another Dbacks pitcher who has less than two years of throwing two hundred innings is going to be heavily relied upon in 2012.

On December 9th, Arizona traded top prospect Jarrod Parker, outfielder Collin Cowgill, and reliever Ryan Cook for Trevor Cahill, Craig Breslow, and cash considerations. The Dbacks will probably come out on top in this trade. Jarrod Parker is going to be a stud for the A’s, but he still has some developing to do. Arizona acquired a front of the line starter, who brings much-needed consistency to the Diamondbacks rotation.

If the Diamonbacks have an area to improve in 2012, it’s their league worst GB% ( 41.9%). Cahill will already be a big boost to that, as he brings his 55.9 GB% from 2011.

After Josh Collmenter had pitched only 36.1 innings last season, he had garnered a following of non-believers. They said that once Collmenter faced the team for a second time, his effectiveness would disappear. Part of this opinion was probably formed because Collmenter was never a top prospect, yet was making the prospect experts look silly. Collmenter proved the haters wrong, finishing with a 3.38 ERA in 154 innings. This just goes to show that we can’t be right about prospects all the time.

In 2012, Collmenter will have a bigger workload and higher expectations. But if he proved anything last year, it’s that he’s up for a challenge.

The fifth starting spot for the Diamondbacks is still unknown. The Dbacks could bring in a free agent like Hiroki Kuroda or Jeff Francis. They also have some organizational options such as Wade Miley, who started seven games last year, or even 2011 first-rounder Trevor Bauer, who seems to be major league ready.

All of the Dbacks top three starters have come in through trades. With pitchers like Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer on their way to the majors, it looks like the Dbacks are starting to find homegrown talent as well.

I would say that the Dbacks rotation is second in the N.L. West only to the Giants. With a far superior offense than the Giants, it looks like Arizona has a pretty good chance of being able to win their division again in 2012.

**Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter***

 

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About samevans87

I love writing, talking, watching, and playing baseball. I am a baseball writer for MLB Reports and Fish Stripes. "No game in the world is as tidy and dramatically neat as baseball, with cause and effect, crime and punishment, motive and result, so cleanly defined." -Paul Gallic

Posted on January 10, 2012, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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