Part 4 of my “Predicting the IronPigs Roster” series of futility. Today we look at the candidates for the Starting Rotation:
So I’ve got 10 guys for 5 spots. I don’t want to try to do a “scouting report” on each, but as I make my “bold prediction” below, I’m going to make some assumptions based on what I know of these guys through having seen them or from reading about them. In Philly, we’ve got Halladay, Hamels, Lee, Lannan, and Kendrick. There are only a couple of spots available in the pen, so we may not see a long-man/6th starter on staff as we did with Kendrick the past couple years. If the Phils need a starter, he’ll likely come from the ‘Pigs. Who it is might depend on the time of year (earlier=vet, later=young guy), who’s pitching well at the moment, and whose “turn” it is in the rotation. For this reason, I’ll expect one or two of the above to start in the ‘Pigs’ pen and slide into the rotation when/if a starter needs to go up. If the Phils want a “long-guy/#6” then one of the above could earn that spot. Speculation across the interwebs is that Cook or Pettibone could be that guy. Cloyd has been mentioned as a possible trade piece. Early season, before the pitchers are completely stretched out, and entering the cold northern April, starters may “pair” to cover 9 innings rather than a traditional starter/reliever relationship.
Young guys get the priority: 1. Cloyd (if not traded) 2. Pettibone 3. Martin. Martin has nothing left to prove at AA, and as long as his control doesn’t leave him, he’ll be with us. Morgan will start in Reading; we’ll see him pretty quickly I’d think. Lopez and Cook get my #4 and #5 spots as the veteran guys who need to stay stretched out in order to step in early should the Phillies need them. That gives me a rotation of all RHPs. No matter; I’ll keep Cochran in the pen and Morgan’s on the way at some point during the season. Then, Miner’s a reclamation project and may need to find work in the pen first or may wash out. I always liked Bass, but if everyone’s healthy he may find himself in a numbers game a la Bump and Feirabend last spring.
Kram’s Keys (what to watch for in spring training):
1. Health: It’s always first. Monitor the health of the Phillies’ five starters, as well as the players above
2. Starting/Relieving: Watch for some of the above guys who might get work out of the pen versus starting. In particular here, Cochran and Rosenberg. Don’t read too much, early, though; guys need to get work and innings need to be pitched. Plus, nobody’s stretched out yet.
3. Camp: Watch for guys to get sent from MLB camp to minor league camp. That could be a sign that the player is on the way to LHV rather than having a shot at an MLB job.
Side note: The Phillies signed LHP Corey Young who was released by the Texas organization. He pitched at AA last year. He’s a reliever with a delivery similar to Diekman, except without the speed. If he’s not ready for AAA, and Texas didn’t have room for him at A+ or AA, then that would be why he was released. He’ll likely be in Clearwater or Reading and shouldn’t impact the IronPigs’ roster at all.