My Pitching Rotation Rankings post (published on January 7th 2013) ended up with poor Houston ranked as the 30th best rotation heading into the 2013 season. They’re heading into the 2013 season with this rotation of guys:
|1||Bud Norris||28||(MLB Hou) 7-13, 4.65 ERA, 1.37 whip, 86 ERA+, 4.23 fip|
|2||Lucas Harrell||28||(MLB Hou) 11-11, 3.76 ERA, 1.36 whip, 106 ERA+, 3.75 fip|
|3||Philip Humbel||30||(MLB CWS) 5-5 6.44 ERA, 1.54 whip, 68 ERA+, 5.77 fip|
|4||Erik Bedard||34||(MLB Pit) 7-14, 5.01 ERA, 1.47 whip, 74 ERA+, 4.07 fip|
|5||Brad Peacock||25||(AAA Sac) 12-9, 6.01 ERA, 1.58 whip, 4.26 fip|
There’s a couple of decent possibilities here: Norris looked pretty good opening day and Harrell’s numbers last year weren’t bad. The other three though? Phew. Even Nats favorite Brad Peacock isn’t that convincing right now as a starter, based on his numbers in the PCL last year.
Now, here’s Tampa Bay AAA affiliate Durham Bull’s opening day 2013 rotation:
|1||Chris Archer||24||(AAA Dur): 7-9, 3.66 era, 1.258 whip, 3.25 fip|
|2||Jake Odorizzi||23||(AAA Oma): 11-3, 2.93 era, 1.35 whip, 4.19 fip|
|3||Alex Colome||25||(AA Birm) 8-3, 3.48 ERA, 1.37 whip, 2.91 fip|
|4||Mike Montgomery||23||(AAA Oma): 3-6, 5.89 ERA, 1.67 whip, 4.95 fip|
|5||Alex Torres||25||(AAA Dur): 3-7, 7-30 era, 1.93 whip, 4.56 fip|
Tampa’s AAA rotation includes Keith Law‘s #53, #68 and #81 top prospects for 2013 in Archer, Odorizzi and Colome respectively. Montgomery was Kansas City’s #1 prospect for quite a while and has struggled in AAA, but he reached AAA as a 21 year old in 2011. Torres may switch places with a 6-year ML FA signing (the Bulls do have former Nat favorite J.D. Martin on their roster among other candidates) but the strength of this group is the first four guys.
Given that Tampa is notoriously slow in bringing along its starting pitcher prospects, its safe to assume that most of these guys would have already matriculated to lesser team’s rotations (of them only Archer has MLB service time; he got 4 starts and 30 innings late last year). As it stands now, none of them can crack Tampa’s MLB rotation of David Price, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, Alex Cobb and Roberto Hernandez. And this is all AFTER the big Tampa-KC trade which sent two other starters (James Shields and Wade Davis) to Kansas City. And this doesn’t include former rotation stalwart Jeff Niemann, who just had season ending shoulder surgery. Man that’s a lot of starting pitching depth.
(Side note: Roberto Hernandez is officially “Roberto (Heredia) Hernandez,” the artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona. He is also the first Free Agent to start a game for Tampa Bay since 2005! Just an amazing statistic frankly, and an amazing tribute to Tampa’s pitching development staff).
So, honestly, which of these starting 5 would you want right now? Not on potential, but on the ability to get major league hitters out in 2013?