Roch is posing this question, but I think it will get more quality responses here at Camden Chat. I will put my 2 cents worth on it and see how everyone else puts their rotation out there.
- Jeremy Guthrie - He is our ace and he is pitching like it. Guts may be the only lock for the rotation for 2009 if you base it on performance alone. Prediction: 15-6, 3.50 ERA, 150K
- Daniel Cabrera - There is speculation he could be traded, but the O's front office likes his potential (there's that word again) to get rid of him. While I don't believe he is a #2 by any means, he does eat innings and is potentially dominant. He is our old veteran. Prediction: 10-10, 4.35 ERA, 120K
- Garrett Olson - AAA is too easy for him and the majors are a challenge. He pitched a gem in his last outting, but he needs to work on his consistency (of course, they all do). As a lefty, he really needs to step up and take over this role because we need it. Prediction: 13-8, 3.95 ERA, 145K
- Hayden Penn - I would normally put him as the number 5 starter, but I don't like lefties pitching back to back. He will be up with the major league ball club as soon as they figure out that Sarfate can't make the transition to starter. While he has struggled some in AAA, it is time for him to come to the majors and start learning in the big leagues. Liz may be a candidate, but he needs more time in the minors and the Orioles need to realize he may be better suited for the bullpen. Prediction: 8-12, 4.75 ERA, 145K
- Chris Waters - Knee-jerk reaction to a gem! No, not really. Hear me out before you write your bash. I checked some of his box scores to see what kind of pitch count he had at the 6th inning when he was being taken out of his AAA games, and it generally was no more than 90 pitches. He has the ability to eat innings, and he is left handed. Brian Burres is not a starter, and, barring Chris throwing softballs in there for the hitters to mash in his next few starts, I see him getting this opportunity. I have been following him since the beginning of the year in AA ball and have been waiting to see what he can do. Take a look at his last month or so in AAA to see what he does before dismissing him on his overalls. Prediction: 9-11, 4.50 ERA, 130K
Here are the other candidates and why I feel they are not going to be in the rotation or what role they may be filling in 2009:
- Rhadames Liz - It is very apparent that he needs more time at AAA before he comes up to the bigs again. A firm handle on 3 pitches with consistency is required, and he might want to do this sooner rather than later or he will be jumped over by the other men in our system. I think he has the stuff to a quality reliever, but it would take, again, consistency.
- Brian Burres - He's a swingman, and he always will be. I give it up to him because every year he pitches better than anyone expects, at least for an extended period of time. He does not belong in the rotation for any more than a spot start, ever.
- Matt Albers & Troy Patton - They have the exact same reasoning though I believe they will end up in different places. Torn labrum recovery. Patton will be in AAA working on his stuff while Albers will probably still be recovering. If he returns to the bigs, it would be as a reliever. There are too many guys with too much talent getting close to the bigs to be messing with Albers in the rotation again. Let him fight for a spot in 2010 if his arm is fully healthy and he has some more games underneath of him.
- Jim Johnson - A lot of people are clammoring to put JJ in the rotation. My question is why? He has accelled in his role as setup man, and he is a candidate for the closer's role next season. Even if Chris Ray returns strong and healthy next year, JJ should challenge him for the closer's spot. George Sherrill should be put in the setup role next year. Chris Ray, JJ, Flat Brim at the back end of the bullpen. I like that. A lot.
- Brad Bergeson - I followed the kid in A ball. I am following him in AA ball. I will follow him next year in AAA ball. He has to prove this year is the real deal and is young enough that he can prove himself at Norfolk next year.
- Chris Tillman - Not next year, but I would look for him in 2010. At 20 years old, he should see AAA before he sees the majors. The last thing we need is another Hayden Penn type of situtation.
- Jason Berken - I would put him in the same class as Brad Bergeson. His success seems to be a learning curve and he is 25 in November. He, along with Brad and others, will be a constant reminder to Daniel Cabrera that we don't necessarily need his services much longer if he doesn't figure things out.
- David Hernandez - I look at him like I do Rhadames Liz. A future reliever. I could be wrong as this guy can rack up K's. I am salivating to see how the AAA rotation is going to perform. I realize it is mainly just the AA ball rotation with another A in it, but it is refreshing to know this many guys are doing well.
- Jake Arrietta/Brian Matusz/Tim Bascom/Any Other 2007/2008 Draft Pick as a Pitcher - No. Plain and simply just no. If you think they are ready or will be ready please see your neurologist as soon as possible as you have probably suffered a heavy blow to the head.
Going over this list makes me that much happier to be an Orioles fan. The young guys are progressing, and we are starting to put together a nice young group of pitchers. I figure this is a good place to start to debating 2009. Let me know what you think (and I am prepared to get trounced for including Waters).