August 12, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy (32) delivers a pitch during the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Earlier last month, our crystal ball had pegged Oakland’s rotation looking a little something like this: McCarthy, Dallas Braden, Guillermo Moscoso, Josh Outman, and Tom Milone. The Moscoso-Outman trade killed our early season prediction as did the signing of Colon.
Right now, Oakland’s starting rotation is starting to resemble a big piece of swiss cheese; there are so many gaping holes in it that it’ll be interesting to see whether or not Bob Melvin can fill out the rotation. He’s got plenty of options, of course, so his job isn’t technically impossible.
The A’s, in addition to McCarthy and Colon, have Braden (coming back from injury), Tom Milone, Jarrod Parker, Brad Peacock, Graham Godfrey, and Tyson Ross as potential options for the starting rotation. These guys will be responsible for helping the Athletics in their quest to assemble a formidable starting rotation on a shoe-string budget.
With that, let’s try and see if we can help the A’s and Melvin in their quest to reassemble this current mess called a starting rotation. Two-fifths of it is already completed, with McCarthy and Colon taking up the two spots. After that, though, the questions ensue.
Braden, who is battling back from injury, is reportedly not yet ready for spring training. Furthermore, it is expected that Braden, 28, will not be ready for Opening Day.
So, the No.3 spot could go to a guy like Tom Milone, who was acquired in the trade that sent Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals. He was also recently listed as No.6 on my list of Top 10 A’s prospects for 2012, which hasn’t exactly settled well with too many A’s fans. Nothing wrong with a little friendly disagreement, though.
Back to the rotation. Milone is expected to face plenty of competition for a spot in this year’s starting rotation, and his biggest competitor, in my mind anyway, is likely to be the guy he played alongside in Washington: Brad Peacock.
Peacock, another crucial piece in the Gonzalez deal, comes to Oakland after posting encouraging numbers as a Washington prospect. He went 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA over nine starts in Triple-A Syracuse last year. In three appearances with the Nationals last year, Peacock went 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA.
Personally, I think Peacock will eventually edge out Milone, who will likely serve a solid No.4 guy in the rotation this season. I’m awarding Peacock, then, with the No.3 spot in Oakland’s rotation for the time being with Milone following him in the No.4 spot.
That leaves us, then, with the No.5 spot up for grabs. The A’s acquired top-pitching prospect Jarrod Parker in the deal that sent Trevor Cahill to the Diamondbacks and he definitely figures into the starting rotation equation. Parker features a low-90’s fastball, slider, and changeup and many people peg him as being a potential No.2 starter.
Right now, though, Parker will likely be fending off the likes of Tyson Ross and Graham Godfrey for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. Parker definitely has a chance to surpass Cahill’s value if he’s able to stay healthy and continue his development. More time in the minors for Parker certainly couldn’t hurt, though.
As it stands now, I’d probably go with a rotation that looks a little similar to this one:
2011 MLB stats
The numbers for the three guys that follow Colon are very small sample sizes, but as the case with Milone, the three young pitchers Oakland acquired this winter have had plenty of success on the minor league level. Once injured starters like Braden and Brett Anderson return, though, the A’s rotation could undergo yet another makeover. Especially if the young starters like Peacock and Milone struggle early on.
As it stands now, though, this is the rotation I envision seeing out there on the field once the season starts. My only “questionable” starter included above is probably Parker. I think he could use a little more time in the minor leagues, and given his injury history, I don’t think Oakland plans to rush the young starter.
What do you think? Sound off below and tell us who you think makes the starting rotation this year!