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OnBaseMachine
12-21-2010, 06:14 PM
From Fangraphs:


In this afternoon’s impromptu chat session, I was asked which team I thought had the best rotation in the National League Central. This question was clearly inspired by the Brewers recent acquisitions of Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, giving them three formidable starters to match up with the group down in St. Louis. However, I didn’t choose either of those rotations as my pick for the best in that division. Instead, I went with the Reds, with the caveat that Aroldis Chapman ends up starting for them. Am I nuts?



http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-nl-central-rotations/

Captain Hook
12-21-2010, 06:44 PM
Over the course of the long season I think the Reds starters will prove to be the best in the Central.Injuries or a big let down from 1 or even 2 of our starting five won't doom the season like it could any of the other Central teams.The Cards were very lucky to have their top 3 stay healthy last season and they will need to be lucky again.That goes for the Brewers as well.One key injury from the top of either teams rotation could really derail things.I don't see that as a problem for the Reds.

Ron Madden
12-21-2010, 06:56 PM
I hope this is true but I'm afraid though the Reds have more candidates for the rotation, most of them are still pretty much unproven.

thatcoolguy_22
12-21-2010, 07:06 PM
Even if the rotation is not actually better, I think the Reds' will have better numbers. The defense in Cinci is ligh years ahead of Mil/StL.

MattyHo4Life
12-21-2010, 07:21 PM
I went with the Reds, with the caveat that Aroldis Chapman ends up starting for them.

I thought it's been said that Chapman would start in the pen in 2011? Did I miss something?

Brutus
12-21-2010, 07:22 PM
I thought it's been said that Chapman would start in the pen in 2011? Did I miss something?

Jocketty has been saying he would more than likely start in the rotation, though Dusty Baker opined that he would likely be in the pen.

Will M
12-21-2010, 08:49 PM
One problem I see is that I'd like to have only one guy in the rotation who has to be treated with kid gloves. Leake hit the wall this year & was shut down. If we add 25 IP to his 2010 total I'd set his upper limit at 173 IP.
Chapman pitched only 108 innings. I wouldn't want both in the rotation.
Then an issue with Chapman is that (IMO) he could help the team in the pen more in 2011 than as a starter who only goes say 140-150 IP. But then he'll never build up his arm/endurance to be a strong starter if he goes to the pen.
Its a tough decision for the Reds.

I'd personally would go with...
1. Arroyo (215 IP in 2010)
2. Cueto ( 186 IP in 2010)
3. Wood ( 202 IP in 2010 )
4. Bailey or Volquez
5. Leake
Chapman goes to the pen in 2011 & joins the rotation in 2012 once Leake can be relied on to pitch more innings.
I'd look to move either Bailey or Volquez for help elsewhere (LF/SS).
If nobody is moved via a trade then one of the righties goes to the pen (or Leake to AAA which I don't like). Actually I have always felt Bailey might do better in the pen. Less thinking. More gas. PLus his fastball doesn't seem to move that much. It seems guys with a 'straightball' do better in the pen. Its easier to tee off on a 95 mph straightball in the first than in the 9th. Plus he wouldn't have to pace himself. Just rear back & fire.

I actually like any 2011 Reds rotation better than our NL Central rivals. An army of #2/#3 starters vs an ace or two but with dregs at the back end of the roatation.

MattyHo4Life
12-21-2010, 11:03 PM
Then an issue with Chapman is that (IMO) he could help the team in the pen more in 2011 than as a starter who only goes say 140-150 IP. But then he'll never build up his arm/endurance to be a strong starter if he goes to the pen.


That's not true, because Adam Wainwright did it before. Wainwright was in the pen for the entire season of 2006 before becoming a full time Starter in 2007. So it can be done.

blumj
12-21-2010, 11:13 PM
That's not true, because Adam Wainwright did it before. Wainwright was in the pen for the entire season of 2006 before becoming a full time Starter in 2007. So it can be done.
Wainwright had pitched full minor league seasons before that, though. I think Chapman's workload history is probably more comparable to someone like Joba Chamberlain or Brandon Morrow?

I(heart)Freel
12-21-2010, 11:27 PM
I think Chapman starts in the pen but at some point is sent to the minors to turn into a starter. The Reds don't need him in the roto to get to the playoffs, but they might need him in the roto IN the playoffs.

This also delays his service time a little and could get the Reds out of an early arbitration situation.

MattyHo4Life
12-21-2010, 11:28 PM
I actually like any 2011 Reds rotation better than our NL Central rivals. An army of #2/#3 starters vs an ace or two but with dregs at the back end of the roatation.

Well, I don't think either Wolf or Westbrook would be considered dregs. They are the #4 starters on each team, and I think both pitchers are strong #4 starters. Wolf isn't a very good #2 starter, but he can hold his own now that Greinke and Marcum have joined the team.

I'm not going to argue that Lohse isn't a dregs, but both Wolf and Westbrook are solid starting pitchers.

Will M
12-22-2010, 02:27 AM
Well, I don't think either Wolf or Westbrook would be considered dregs. They are the #4 starters on each team, and I think both pitchers are strong #4 starters. Wolf isn't a very good #2 starter, but he can hold his own now that Greinke and Marcum have joined the team.

I'm not going to argue that Lohse isn't a dregs, but both Wolf and Westbrook are solid starting pitchers.

ok. they aren't 'dregs' but they aren't good either. both had an ERA+ over 100last year. i suspect all seven Reds starters are better than these guys.

i personally prefer the Reds rotation over Carpenter/Wainright/Garcia/Westbrook/5th starter. however, i can see why someone else would prefer the Cards rotation. one thing that the Reds have is depth. even if one of our starters is traded for help elsewhere the Reds are still six deep with LeCure and Maloney available in emergencies. If one of the Cards aces goes down then they are in big trouble.

mth123
12-22-2010, 04:23 AM
ok. they aren't 'dregs' but they aren't good either. both had an ERA+ over 100last year. i suspect all seven Reds starters are better than these guys.

i personally prefer the Reds rotation over Carpenter/Wainright/Garcia/Westbrook/5th starter. however, i can see why someone else would prefer the Cards rotation. one thing that the Reds have is depth. even if one of our starters is traded for help elsewhere the Reds are still six deep with LeCure and Maloney available in emergencies. If one of the Cards aces goes down then they are in big trouble.

I think Wolf and Westbrook are both pretty comparable to Arroyo. And while the Reds have a lot of guys with potential for more, Arroyo is the Reds de facto Ace at this point. The real difference is that both the Royals and the Cards each have three pitchers who are better than that (though I might argue that Garcia hasn't done it enough yet to have proven it). On the Reds only Cueto has actually shown on the field that he's comparable or better than Arroyo.

IF the Reds come up with three guys who perform well enough to make Arroyo a number 4 starter (its possible) then the Reds rotation will stack-up, but that's a lot of stuff that would have to go right and some guys stepping up and doing what they've never done to make that happen. The Cards and Royals guys simply need to continue performing at the levels that they've already established. IMO, that is the difference. If Bailey, Wood and Cueto all come through and turn Arroyo into the number 4, then the Reds staff may be able to stack-up, I'm not optimistic that Volquez or Leake will be anyone we want out there and Chapman looks like the 8th inning lefty from here.

Mario-Rijo
12-22-2010, 04:57 AM
I think Wolf and Westbrook are both pretty comparable to Arroyo. And while the Reds have a lot of guys with potential for more, Arroyo is the Reds de facto Ace at this point. The real difference is that both the Royals and the Cards each have three pitchers who are better than that (though I might argue that Garcia hasn't done it enough yet to have proven it). On the Reds only Cueto has actually shown on the field that he's comparable or better than Arroyo.

IF the Reds come up with three guys who perform well enough to make Arroyo a number 4 starter (its possible) then the Reds rotation will stack-up, but that's a lot of stuff that would have to go right and some guys stepping up and doing what they've never done to make that happen. The Cards and Royals guys simply need to continue performing at the levels that they've already established. IMO, that is the difference. If Bailey, Wood and Cueto all come through and turn Arroyo into the number 4, then the Reds staff may be able to stack-up, I'm not optimistic that Volquez or Leake will be anyone we want out there and Chapman looks like the 8th inning lefty from here.

Volquez has done it before, Bailey hasn't come close. And I don't know what RZ has against Leake but I think they all will be proven very wrong on him. It's like there are genuinely no good reasons for struggle even if you are 22 years old, skip the minors, switch to a 5 man rotation, are pitching more innings than your arm ever has, etc. It must be that your just not very good. :confused:

MattyHo4Life
12-22-2010, 09:12 AM
ok. they aren't 'dregs' but they aren't good either. both had an ERA+ over 100last year. i suspect all seven Reds starters are better than these guys.

i personally prefer the Reds rotation over Carpenter/Wainright/Garcia/Westbrook/5th starter. however, i can see why someone else would prefer the Cards rotation. one thing that the Reds have is depth. even if one of our starters is traded for help elsewhere the Reds are still six deep with LeCure and Maloney available in emergencies. If one of the Cards aces goes down then they are in big trouble.

I'd prefer the Cards rotation... if they stay healthy. That's the big question. Yes....the Reds have depth that the Cards don't have.

MattyHo4Life
12-22-2010, 09:15 AM
Volquez has done it before, Bailey hasn't come close. And I don't know what RZ has against Leake but I think they all will be proven very wrong on him.

I don't know what RZ has against Leake either. I think he'll be very good this year. I was hoping he would be traded. lol

Caveat Emperor
12-22-2010, 09:37 AM
All three teams have very good starting pitching. The Reds are much more balanced from 1-5 and have some topside potential that's not yet been realized from guys like Bailey and Chapman. The Brewers and the Cardinals have more proven talent, but experience a greater drop-off as you go down the rotation. Reds have better depth than either team if a starter is lost to injury.

The numbers are close. I'll bet a lot of fans in STL and MIL are going to wish their teams paid closer attention to defense as the season winds along next year.

PuffyPig
12-22-2010, 09:50 AM
I'd prefer the Cards rotation... if they stay healthy. That's the big question.

Writers (or anyone else for that matter) who are ranking rotations have to consider the chances of individual players getting injured.

Certain players are obviously injury risks.

Carpenter would be at the top of that list, considering his age, history and injuries last season. I wouldn't give him more than a 50% chance of staying injury free this year. Lohse, Garcia, Westbrook and Waino have varying chances.

Volquez would likely be Cincy's most likely starter to get injured. And so on.

Anyone who ranks the Reds rotation as likely better than the Cards is obviously handicapping the Cards rotation with the likelihood of some injuries.

bucksfan2
12-22-2010, 10:19 AM
I am bullish on the Reds rotation over the course of a season. I am a little bearish on the top end potential of the Reds rotation. I don't really like Volquez and his inconsistency. Arroyo and Cueto are becoming who they are type pitchers. You know what you will get and I really doubt either surprises to the upside this season. I am the highest on Wood and think Leake has the potential to be a very solid 220 inning type pitcher.

Chapman is still a wild card. I don't see him as a TOR starter this season. He struggle last year when runners got on base and extended the inning. When he was able to get the first batter out he was lights out. IMO that could be problematic because starters are forced to work out of jams quite often. Much more than relievers.

Scrap Irony
12-22-2010, 11:48 AM
Reds have best rotation in NL Central

And, somewhere, FCB shudders for no reason.

Only because of depth and upside does the Red rotation rank.

Volquez has done it before.

Bailey's shown the ability over the course of nine or ten starts twice.

Wood showed a TOR ceiling last season.

Arroyo's been a #3 for pretty much the past five years.

Cueto's shown the ability to be an innings-eater #2 or 3.

Chapman's stuff is better than anyone mentioned, or, for that matter, anyone is the league. To say he has TOR potential is obvious.

Leake's a MOR guy who should also be able to eat innings eventually. (Arroyo Lite, if you can dig it.)

That's seven guys who would likely be #3's across the league.

I could definitely see each of the Red starters above the 100+ OPS mark, and, therefore, a staff among the top three or four in the league even without a major breakthrough from two or three of them.

St. Louis has concens at four rotation spots:
1) Carpenter's health
3) Garcia's 2010 workload and the Verducci Effect.
4) Is Westbrook the 83 OPS+ Cleveland hurler or the 113 OPS+ Card pitcher?
5) Is Lohse going to be a complete waste of a contract or can he regain some sort of value?

Milwaukee has concerns as well, though not as many.

Cincinnati's concerns are pretty minor, when compared. If one or two (or even three) guys are ineffective, they can be replaced.

PuffyPig
12-22-2010, 12:04 PM
Arroyo's been a #3 for pretty much the past five years.



If he's been a #3 he's been the best #3 in the majors.

MattyHo4Life
12-22-2010, 12:43 PM
If he's been a #3 he's been the best #3 in the majors.

Seriously? How do you figure that? There have been some good number 3 pitchers last year alone. Cole Hamels was a #3 pitcher last year for example.

camisadelgolf
12-22-2010, 01:10 PM
Seriously? How do you figure that? There have been some good number 3 pitchers last year alone. Cole Hamels was a #3 pitcher last year for example.
One way to interpret it is that Arroyo has been one of the top 61 starting pitchers in all of baseball.

MattyHo4Life
12-22-2010, 01:12 PM
One way to interpret it is that Arroyo has been one of the top 61 starting pitchers in all of baseball.

I'm not knocking Arroyo at all. I think he is a good pitcher, and one I would like on my team. I don't think he is the best #3 starter in all of baseball though. Some teams have very strong rotations.

Boss-Hog
12-22-2010, 01:17 PM
And, somewhere, FCB shudders for no reason.

Only because of depth and upside does the Red rotation rank.

Volquez has done it before.

Bailey's shown the ability over the course of nine or ten starts twice.

Wood showed a TOR ceiling last season.

Arroyo's been a #3 for pretty much the past five years.

Cueto's shown the ability to be an innings-eater #2 or 3.

Chapman's stuff is better than anyone mentioned, or, for that matter, anyone is the league. To say he has TOR potential is obvious.

Leake's a MOR guy who should also be able to eat innings eventually. (Arroyo Lite, if you can dig it.)

That's seven guys who would likely be #3's across the league.

I could definitely see each of the Red starters above the 100+ OPS mark, and, therefore, a staff among the top three or four in the league even without a major breakthrough from two or three of them.

St. Louis has concens at four rotation spots:
1) Carpenter's health
3) Garcia's 2010 workload and the Verducci Effect.
4) Is Westbrook the 83 OPS+ Cleveland hurler or the 113 OPS+ Card pitcher?
5) Is Lohse going to be a complete waste of a contract or can he regain some sort of value?

Milwaukee has concerns as well, though not as many.

Cincinnati's concerns are pretty minor, when compared. If one or two (or even three) guys are ineffective, they can be replaced.
I don't mean to pick nits, but you mean ERA+ instead of OPS+, right?

camisadelgolf
12-22-2010, 01:22 PM
I'm not knocking Arroyo at all. I think he is a good pitcher, and one I would like on my team. I don't think he is the best #3 starter in all of baseball though. Some teams have very strong rotations.
Yeah, I didn't take it that way. I just mean to point out that people have different definitions of what a #3 starter is. Sure, Cole Hamels was a #3 starter last year, but he sure did pitch much better than that. My definition of a #3 starter is when a player is one of the top 61-90 best starting pitchers. If he's the 61st best pitcher, I'd say he's the best #3 starter. However, I have no idea where I'd rank Arroyo in the top starting pitchers in MLB.

Scrap Irony
12-22-2010, 01:47 PM
I don't mean to pick nits, but you mean ERA+ instead of OPS+, right?

Oops

mth123
12-22-2010, 08:46 PM
Volquez has done it before, Bailey hasn't come close. And I don't know what RZ has against Leake but I think they all will be proven very wrong on him. It's like there are genuinely no good reasons for struggle even if you are 22 years old, skip the minors, switch to a 5 man rotation, are pitching more innings than your arm ever has, etc. It must be that your just not very good. :confused:

Pre-injury Volquez did it for a half season, which in and of itself makes him a little iffy in comparison the top three in Milwaukee or at least the top two in St. Louis. Post Injury Volquez hasn't done anything. He's a huge question mark at best.

Leake became a batting tee after 75 innings in 2010. IMO this is either due to:

1, The league stopped letting him get away with a hittable strike 1 pitch or
2. He wore out and fell apart

If its number 1, then the success from April and May was kind of a mirage that won't be repeated and gives us no clue as to what to expect for 2011. If its number 2, he needs a year in AAA building those IP numbers to the point where he can become a viable starter over a major legue season. Generally, I think Leake is probably going to become the replacement for Bronson Arroyo and will be a quality major league starter. I just don't think 2011 is the year that it happens.

I agree that Bailey has never done it and its my whole point about why the Reds rotation just shouldn't be considered with either the Brewers (who have a healthy, recent Cy Young winner at the top) or the Cardinals (who have former Cy Young winner as well as another guy who finished high in the voting the last two years). I agree that the Reds are most able to find a competent guy if some one goes down and have more options to allow them to limit the damage that one of their starters might do if he isn't up to snuff by replacing him in the rotation, but they simply don't match up with the top 3 on either staff and the most accomplished guy in the rotation is more comparable to the number 4 in either Milwaukee or St. Louis.

Mario-Rijo
12-23-2010, 08:35 AM
Pre-injury Volquez did it for a half season, which in and of itself makes him a little iffy in comparison the top three in Milwaukee or at least the top two in St. Louis. Post Injury Volquez hasn't done anything. He's a huge question mark at best.

His stuff is on par with any of those guys when he is on, with the possible exception of Greinke. I'm just not sure the majority realize just how good Greinke's stuff is, otherworldly. Roy Halladay esque maybe a tick better at times. Sure he does have some growing and maturing to do as a pitcher but when he adds that, watch out. But Volquez can be as good as any and he's the closest thing to a legit ACE we have at the moment. If Chapman joins him now were talking.


Leake became a batting tee after 75 innings in 2010. IMO this is either due to:

1, The league stopped letting him get away with a hittable strike 1 pitch or
2. He wore out and fell apart

If its number 1, then the success from April and May was kind of a mirage that won't be repeated and gives us no clue as to what to expect for 2011. If its number 2, he needs a year in AAA building those IP numbers to the point where he can become a viable starter over a major legue season. Generally, I think Leake is probably going to become the replacement for Bronson Arroyo and will be a quality major league starter. I just don't think 2011 is the year that it happens.

When you are getting your pitches up in the zone consistently it's real easy to distinguish what the problem is so I don't understand why there is any question at all to this, it's clearly #2. However he has now pitched 138.1 innings which means with all the rest he has had I expect him to be fine for 150-160 innings this year and then be ready to turn him loose in '12. Sure I get that he isn't gonna be money in the bank until he builds himself up for a couple of seasons but he is plenty good enough all the way around to start and win games for us now. If they chose to start him out in AAA in '11 so we could start him slow for a month or month and a half I don't think it would be a bad thing for him but might be for us.



I agree that Bailey has never done it and its my whole point about why the Reds rotation just shouldn't be considered with either the Brewers (who have a healthy, recent Cy Young winner at the top) or the Cardinals (who have former Cy Young winner as well as another guy who finished high in the voting the last two years). I agree that the Reds are most able to find a competent guy if some one goes down and have more options to allow them to limit the damage that one of their starters might do if he isn't up to snuff by replacing him in the rotation, but they simply don't match up with the top 3 on either staff and the most accomplished guy in the rotation is more comparable to the number 4 in either Milwaukee or St. Louis.

I would agree with this sentiment though to just a slightly lesser extent than you apparently.

Scrap Irony
12-23-2010, 12:02 PM
Has anyone ever seen mth and FCB in the same place at the same time?

mth123
12-23-2010, 09:21 PM
When you are getting your pitches up in the zone consistently it's real easy to distinguish what the problem is so I don't understand why there is any question at all to this, it's clearly #2. However he has now pitched 138.1 innings which means with all the rest he has had I expect him to be fine for 150-160 innings this year and then be ready to turn him loose in '12. Sure I get that he isn't gonna be money in the bank until he builds himself up for a couple of seasons but he is plenty good enough all the way around to start and win games for us now. If they chose to start him out in AAA in '11 so we could start him slow for a month or month and a half I don't think it would be a bad thing for him but might be for us.

I don't think its so clear. He threw 140+ innings in College, yet was tired at the 75 mark? So how does 138 IP last year make him capable of 150 in 2011 when 140+ in 2009 basically left him toast at 75? Maybe he will add enough stamina to get to 90 before becoming toast. Personally, I'd have him throw 170 in AAA and keep him away from the major league roster. Kid really should be in AA or AAA about now anyway. Its the start of his second pro season.

OTOH, maybe it was more due to the league adjusting. When a guy is ahead 0-1 all the time because everybody is taking, its easier for him to be successful. I think they stopped letting him get away with first pitch meatballs to get ahead in the count. They either crushed those meatballs or he started him nibbling, falling behind and coming in with a meatball later. It certainly makes more sense than tiring at the 75 inning mark after pitching nearly twice that the year before.