Monday, October 4, 2010

Next year's 5 man rotation

So, it seemed like a pretty good year for our beloved Blue Jays' Pitching staff, didn't it?

How good you ask? well, if you believe in advanced stats, the current 5 man rotation had a WAR of approximately 15.7 (fangraphs)

For perspective, only ONE current playoff team had a better total WAR number than the Jays. The San Francisco Giants (15.9). Their current starting 5: Lincecum, Cain, J. Sanchez, Zito, and Bumgarner. That's a formidable list by any standards. Which brings me to my main point: Who will be our 5 next year, and how will they stack up against the league?

Romero (4.0), Marcum (3.5), Cecil (2.5) and Morrow (3.6) are locks (2010 WAR in brackets). Current options for 5th starter include:

-Marc Rzepczynski: Has proven he has the stuff. Was a 1.1 WAR as recently as 2009, and has been worth a half win this year as well. Definite upside.

-Shaun Hill: Not yet old, at only 29 as I write, and has also contributed a half WAR to this year's team. Was a 1.5 WAR player for the Washington Expos in 2007. His 16 starts that year were the most of any of his major league seasons. Has shown himself to be good enough in limited action this year to estimate as high as 2 WAR (IF he can stay healthy. That's a BIG IF)

-Kyle Drabek: The boy wonder. Everyone's favourite Prospect. Believe it or not, his 0-3 record is actually worth 0.2 WAR for the 2010 season. Easily projects as a 3-5 WAR player based on his "stuff," and has shown that it is good enough for the show right now. He's the pre-season favourite for the job, especially considering that he will forever be "the guy we traded Halladay for."

Other options:

-Zach Stewart: Proven all he can at AA. Las Vegas isn't a great place to go for more development. Personally, I think he's best suited to move to the 'pen, because we're stacked at SP for now.

-Brad Mills: Nobody seems to be very high on him and his Engineering degree. He's a smart pitcher, and doesn't have enough pure stuff to work from the bullpen. I can see him as a back-of-the rotation guy on another team.

-Jesse Litsch: Out until at least July. Was a 2.6 WAR player on the 2008 Jays. Interesting if he returns to form.

-Dustin McGowan: Everyone wants this guy to return to form. Labrum surgery is still a career killer, even with today's medical advances. I'd be happy if he could even get back as a reliever. Sadly, I doubt it.

-Other prospects: Robert Ray has a future in the majors, though not likely in front of most that I've listed here. Henderson Alvarez is probably a year or two away. Chad Jenkins has taken a step back. Deck McGuire could be close, but has limited upside.

I'm interested in hearing what everyone has to think. Who will be the Jays 5th starter to begin 2011?


  1. Marcum should be dealt with the wealth of pitching depth the Jays have. you would be able to get an excellent prospect for him (earlier Brett Lawrie was hinted at during Marcum trade talks) or you could package him with someone to land Rasmus. Both Romero and Morrow are ready to be top flight SPs, and Cecil will be able to do a serviceable job as a #3. Have Drabek as your #4, Stewart your #5, and R-Zep as a swing man to keep Stewarts innings low(ish). Also Deck is said to be a pitcher in the circa 2010 John Lackey mold, (AA, and i believe Law, but not sure) so i wouldn't call that limited upside. Also Stewart should never even look at a bullpen again. AA is really high on him and I trust him. I would put Bobby Ray in the pen due to his injury history, and let Hill Juke it out for the swingman role with R-Zep. Of course Stewart would have to earn a job, but i think Drabek should be a lock.

    Of course all of this hinges on wether Marcum stays or departs.

    Nice blog

  2. As much as I love watching "scrappy" Shaun Marcum baffle hitters with his changeup, I have to reluctantly agree that the time to trade Marcum could be now. From watching his delivery (and I'm far from an expert on this), it just seems like he's not that far from another major injury, so trade him before you have to pay him. It's a very violent delivery that seems to rely more on his arm than on his legs for generating power. He also has the dreaded "inverted W" in the middle of his delivery, meaning that both elbows point skyward simultaneously. Far smarter people than me seem to feel this is a precursor for a serious elbow injury and he's already had one of those. I'm not sure how much you could get back for him though because of his perceived lack of "stuff" and his diminutive stature. His pitching smarts are outstanding, but I don't think he could bring back as much as any of the other 3 of the big 4. That's not to say I would want to trade any of the other three or even Marcum for that matter, but in order to bring the position player quality a bit closer to being in balance with the strong pitching quality, perhaps it has to happen.

  3. I agree with both of you on this. His last year of arbitration-control is this year. Despite the talk of his leadership, I attribute the pitching success to Bruce Walton. He has been creating the same environment in the 'pen for the last few years, and now that he's in the dugout, his work is more evident.

    As for Marcum's value, I've heard his name in proposals from Cardinals fans for Rasmus (IF he's available) so I think he has some good, not great trade value at this point.