Grand Cards: If 06 was 09: Starting Pitchers

Monday, April 6, 2009

If 06 was 09: Starting Pitchers

Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2006 Opening Day Pitching Rotation:



(Robertson, Verlander, Rogers, Bonderman, Maroth)

Here's what I see:
Grizzled Veteran looking to extend his career (Rogers)
Highly Touted Rookie with high upside but little professional experience (Verlander)
Young fireballer who hasn't quite lived up to Potential (Bonderman)
Mid-level Pitchers who are serviceable but generally unimpressive (Robertson, Maroth)

It is important to note that a mid-year injury to Maroth pushed Zach Miner into the rotation.

The 2009 Opening Day Rotation:



(Verlander, Miner, Jackson, Porcello, Galarraga)

Or,
Highly Touted Rookie with high upside but little professional experience (Porcello)
Not Mine (*Sigh*) From Los Gatos at the Detroit Sports Collectors Forum

Young fireballer who hasn't quite lived up to potential (Jackson)
Mid-level Pitchers who are serviceable but generally unimpressive (Miner)

and, some new categories:
Legitimate Ace looking to rebound after an off-year (Verlander)
Surprising diamond in the rough looking to follow up on a tremendous Rookie Campaign (Galarraga).

Hmm.

That 2006 rotation should not have been as good as it was. It required a decline-free year from Kenny Rogers an apparent breakout year from Nate Robertson and playoff Heroics from both of them. In 2006, every pitcher in the rotation had the best year of their respective careers. In 2008, every pitcher had their worst. Robertson currently finds himself in the bullpen and has been awful. Maroth is out of baseball. Bonderman is recovering from injury, and has been replaced by Miner.

2006 featured 1 new acquisition and 1 rookie sensation
2009 stands to do the same, with Jackson and Porcello in place of Rogers and Verlander.

Here's the upside: There is more talent in the 2009 rotation than there was on the 2006 rotation. The downside, is that so much of that potential hasn't been tapped yet. If Galarraga can live up to 2008, Porcello can break out Verlander-style and Jackson can be Bonderman-esque, then this team will be good. Really good. However, if Galarraga's 2008 was an anomaly (as many suspect), Porcello pitches like a rookie--good, but not great--and Jackson pitches like Jackson has in the past, then the team will be mediocre. Verlander will be fine.

Question marks abound. But you know what? Looking at that 2006 rotation, there was no reason to expect that team to be as good as it was. With the revamped defense, I don't see how this rotation can be as bad as they were last year, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a mid-season pick up for a Lefty if they're in the hunt. Wait and be surprised people, there are some good arms on this club.

Maybe its just me, but I thing that starting rotation will be All Right (! Credit to my lovely wife for that one)

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