Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
The Oakland A’s enter spring training with a few battles going on. As always, the rotation will have competition going on. One is for the last two spots of the rotation, and the other involves all of the pitchers. That one would be what the order of the rotation will be. Here is the projection I have for the starting rotation.
5. Dan Straily
Dan Straily is an excellent pitcher who is inconsistent. He has showed flashes of greatness, flashes of an ace even, but he had too many bad starts and not enough great ones to be considered for a top spot in the rotation this upcoming season. He will edge out Tommy Milone for the last spot in the rotation and will have the season to prove himself and potentially move up a couple of spots.
4. A.J. Griffin
Despite allowing a lot of homeruns this past season, Griffin will earn his spot on the rotation in the no. 4 slot. He may have allowed a lot of homeruns, but he was still an effective pitcher. Remember his shutout of the Cincinnati Reds? He may allow homeruns, but those are usually just solo shots and he keeps his team in the game. Griffin also has a wicked curveball that freezes up pitchers. He will allow a lot of home runs again, but he will still have more wins than losses and still be a great pitcher regardless.
3. Scott Kazmir
Kazmir may be the highest paid pitcher on the roster, but he won’t be the ace. He is fresh off a bounce back season, but it won’t be enough to edge Sonny Gray or Jarrod Parker. Kazmir will have good stuff in spring training and he will do above average with the rest of the rotation, but I don’t see Kazmir pitching like an ace. And even if he did, Gray and Parker will be even better. Kazmir will end being an overpriced 3rd spot rotation starter.
2. Sonny Gray
Sonny Gray is phenomenal. Outstanding. Marvelous. I love the guy. He is a stud that Oakland would be wise to keep for as long as he is a part of the big leagues. Gray is fresh off a hot rookie season and will have a full season this time around to impress us all. He won’t be the ace for one reason. He is still young and has to prove he can be an ace. He needs to prove that he can be counted for the entire season and that he can sustain success. 2014 will be his year to prove it.
1. Jarrod Parker
If you told me last year in mid April that Parker was going to be the ace in 2014 I wouldn’t have believed it. Parker was having a horrible start to the season. Now, he will be the pitcher on opening night. He is an outstanding pitcher that proved he can be successful for an entire season. He had 19 straight undefeated starts. That is what proved that he can be an ace for Oakland. Parker is taking the reigns as the ace of this pitching staff, and he earned it.