Re: Reds Starting Pitching 2012
Arroyo returning to something more like 2010-2011 form is certainly a factor, and everyone hopes last year was an aberration due to health but there is a storyline in all of the starters really.
Cueto will probably regress somewhat because most of his peripheral numbers support a slight fallback - nothing terrible but he did have some luck last year. Can he pick up his actual performance enough to offset that regression, or can he get enough support to overcome any regression in era per the won-loss column?
And the other big arm - Mat Latos - is a bit intriguing in how he will handle GABs launching pad effect. Will he let it bug him when he gets a few hit over the wall that might have stayed in the park in Petco? Will it get into his head? Or will he just shake it off and go get the next guy? Because that's the attitude it's gonna take in GAB - you are going to give up some home runs, you can't let it take you out of your game. If Latos delivers what he is capable of, and gets the support the Reds are capable of on defense and offense between Cueto and Mat the Reds could have as good a 1-2 as anyone by season's end. Right now you can't rightfully rank them there - but the potential is real and near.
Bailey is the guy I see as being the real key to this staff right now. A healthy Homer Bailey stepping into that long dreamed of role as a TOR starter changes everything for the Reds - and another broken down season with a half year's worth of starts damps expectations about as badly. Should Homer step up into the same caliber of pitching as Cueto and Latos the Reds could probably survive a weak season from Bronson - but Arroyo just isn't good enough to save a bad season from Homer.
Leake, to me, is the least questionable of the starters. I expect him to go out and do a yeoman's job - steady solid unspectacular but reliable pitching, keeping the Reds in games almost every time. His value is being able to rely on what he'll bring to the table, and as a 4th or 5th starter he is equal to any team's 4/5 - outside of Philly or maybe Saint Lou.
Then you have Chapman. I don't expect to even get a whiff of him until September unless he simply electrifies the minors with an unexpected K/BB ratio and I don't see that happening. If the Reds are in it close, he'll certainly be up in time to qualify for the post season, even if its a relief role in the playoffs. I think the fans have more expectation of him starting this season than the Reds do. Really there is little depth. The drop from Arroyo to Francis/Gallagher is steep unless Arroyo is as bad as he was last year. Then its even.
Arroyo's resurgence, Bailey's health, Latos limiting the long ball, and a fairly healthy season for all five starters - no long DL stints - those are my four keys to a successful season starting pitching-wise.
Jeff Francis is probably the first backup if something goes south. Sean Gallagher is likely right after him and may out pitch him. Francis has more experience but I'm not so sure I'd call him the better of the two, he was certainly a lot luckier last year. Everything I've heard indicates that Andrew Brackman is going to be used in a relief role so that probably rules him out as a starter.
Adding an edit because RMR put it as succinctly as it can be put - "more strikeouts, fewer homers". Pretty much what I was saying but he said it in about 4 words.
Last edited by RedlegJake; 02-16-2012 at 02:32 AM.