2011 Reds

The 2011 Starting Rotation

I’m away on a golf trip. I had desperately hoped that I would have to pass up this trip so that I could attend some NLCS games in Cincinnati. Alas, that isn’t the case. I will be scarce for the next few days, however. Don’t shoot spitballs at the other editors in my absence.

In the comments, we’ve been discussing the potential starters for the Reds in 2011. The deck is stacked, even if there isn’t a clear ace. How would you rank the options for the rotation next year?

This isn’t a long-term valuation ranking. I want to know how you would rank the options for next year’s rotation, in order. Here’s my initial stab at it:

1. Johnny Cueto
2. Bronson Arroyo
3. Edinson Volquez
4. Homer Bailey
5. Travis Wood
6. Aroldis Chapman
7. Mike Leake

Good grief. What a mess, if everyone stays healthy (and if no one is traded). It’s a good mess, though. It is clear, to me anyway, that Chapman will start the year in AAA. He can continue to develop as a starter, with an eye to recalling him mid-season.

Leake is the tough call. He pitched very well this year, but Wood’s performance was so good, Wood probably has leap-frogged Leake on the depth chart. It will be an interesting dilemma in the spring.

A wise man once told me: if you have ten problems rolling down the street toward you, just wait. Nine of them will roll into the ditch before they ever reach you. It’s good to view roster crunches in that frame of mind. Pitchers get injured, and the Reds are going to need some trade chips to improve in other areas. A solution may present itself before the Reds and Walt Jocketty are ever forced to make a decision.

Still, what an embarrassment of riches. It’s a great situation, no matter how it plays out.

80 thoughts on “The 2011 Starting Rotation

  1. I wouldn’t necesarily trade any of them, as young pitching is pretty much gold, except if it is bringing back something huge like Hanley Ramirez or a player of that kind of calibe. Whoever doesn’t make the starting cut could be setup and swing starter pitchers, they are going to need at least 6 over a season anyway. I have to wonder if Chapman will turn into a starter anyway, but I think he is pretty close to being a dominating reliever. I think Bailey in short stays could also be dominating out of a bullpen. You put arms like that along side Rhodes (provided he doesn’t slip, but I don’t think he will yet) and Masset, that is a pretty formidable back end even with Coco. I think with his sinker, Leake could also be effective out of the bullpen too. LeCure will probably end up a middle reliever in the long run too and it might fit his game, as the guy can be agressive going after hitters. I don’t necessarily think using one of these young starters would stunt their growth, as Phil Hughes was pretty effective out of the pen for the Yanks and when ready, seems to made the flip over to being a starter OK.

    Problem seems to be with everyone but Arroyo, is that they pretty much have a six inning ceiling. I think with possibly using some of these guys to augment the pen, that doesn’t become a limitation and it could possibly make the whole staff stronger in the end.

    I’d love to see the Reds have a big #1 power pitcher, but unless it is Bailey, Volquez or Chapman who develop into that kind of guy, I don’t see how the Reds could afford to play in that game.

  2. After Volquez couldn’t handle the pressure of game 1, I don’t see any possible way Dusty starts anyone opening day not names Bronson..

  3. I thought 2010 would be Baileys break-out year. I didn’t happen.

    With Bailey, Cueto and Volquez I think the odds are pretty good that one of them will step up into that true #1 starter position. All three have the stuff.

    I’d be against trading any of the 7 pitchers on Chad’s list at this point..Maybe july 2011 IF the situation dictates it.

    Unrelated – Can someone tell me how arbitration works…What kind of money is Votto in line for after the season he had. In the eyes of the arbitrator does one season of Pujols #’s = Pujols $$…

    …Also what can Cueto expect from the arbitrator

    …And, What is a “Super 2” player (Bruce) ?

  4. There is absolutely no reason for the Reds to squander limited resources on additional pitching. The staff is already good enough to advance in the playoffs, provided the team fields better than the Bad News Bears and scores an occasional run next time.

    Against the mighty Phils, the Reds allowed seven earned runs in three games; if OC’s asinine shuffle in Game 1 had been properly called an error, the earned run total would drop to just four. With even mediocre fielding and one or two clutch hits the Reds could have been up 2-1 after Game 3. Maybe a new LF will provide one of those needed hits next year.

  5. @Furniture City Red:

    Speculated arbitration numbers for various reds players:
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/10/arbitration-eligibles-cincinnati-reds.html

    Super 2 is based on service time and if you “ranked” in top 17% for your Super Two group
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/06/super-two-cutoff-less-than-expected.html

    MLB definition:
    A player can be classified as a “Super Two” and be eligible for arbitration with less than three years of service. A player with at least two but less than three years of Major League service shall be eligible for salary arbitration if he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season and he ranks in the top 17 percent in total service in the class of Players who have at least two but less than three years of Major League service, however accumulated, but with at least 86 days of service accumulated during the immediately preceding season.

  6. I agree with GeorgeFoster. Let Cabrera go and go with Janish/Cozart (if he is ready) at SS. Sign or trade for a LF, preferably one that can hit 4th.

    We don’t have a true leadoff hitter for 2010, but we didn’t have one for 2009 and our offense was great. Either way get some protection around Votto.

    Leake and Chapman start the season in AAA as starting pitchers.

  7. Arroyo is the odd man out. He is going to be too expensive to keep for any amount of time and his trade value will never be higher than it is right now. He’s too valuable to just let walk, but if they can work out a sign and trade deal, that will be the best case scenerio. Otherwise you just pick up his option and try to trade him before the end of nxt year. But my door would be wide open to fiels any and all reasonable offers for him.

  8. I’m going to disagree about Arroyo. When you have at least 3 pitchers who struggle making it past 5-6 ip/game, Arroyo is a pretty important piece of this staff. I’m not saying a sign and trade would be bad (especially if we can get a good LF in return). I just can’t see the Reds signing him and then trading him away next season unless the Reds are completely out of the playoff race.

    I really wish the Yankees didn’t finally understand what they had in Brett Gardner. I wonder what they’d decide to do if they end up going after Carl Crawford? I guess Granderson would be the odd man out.

  9. Well I wouldn’t mind seeing him in the Reds leadoff spot. I would prefer a big bat but a guy like him would cause HAVOC. .383 OBP for Yankees batting in the #9 hole with Jeter/Swisher/Teixeira/ARod behind him is just filthy.

    I would prefer a big power hitter but it seems those are in short supply.

    • @bho52:

      @CP: Part of that .383 OBP is a product of batting in the 9 hole

      Actually he had a .412 OB% in 115 PAs in the leadoff spot and a .349 OB% in 215 PAs in the 9 spot.

  10. I’m sure Orlando would be willing to share some instincts with him before he goes.

    I don’t really understand how his OBP would be a product of batting #9…so teams were pitching around Gardner to get to Jeter? I know Jeter’s performance is declining but…there are all those guys right behind Jeter.

    Also, the guys in front of Gardner were pretty big disappointments for most of the year in Granderson/Berkman so it’s not like he came up to bat with guys on 2nd & 3rd all the time?

  11. I think I read somewhere some deep number crunching that found basing the batting order completely on OBP was worth 4 more wins a year than traditional lineup construction. I wish I could find it.

  12. So, my little cousin (age 5) who has an astounding command of baseball, just asked the following question:

    Why don’t the Reds get Adrian Gonzalez?”

    I laughed. Then I soiled myself thinking what A-Gon would do in a season at GABP with Votto and Bruce hitting around him.

  13. Just out of curiosity, a lineup derived purely from OBP would look like this (assuming Janish, Heisey, and Hanigan are starters):

    1b – Votto .424
    C – Hanigan .405 (Interestingly, Hernandez would also be here)
    3b – Scott Rolen (.358)
    RF – Jay Bruce (.353)
    SS – Paul Janish (.333)
    2B – Brandon Phillips (.332)
    CF – Drew Stubbs (.332)
    LF – Chris Hesiey (.324)

  14. I think the lack of love for Leake is his lower SO/9 rate: 5.9

    Voltron: 8.7
    Homer: 6.9 (jumped up in 2010 too)
    Cueto: 7.3
    Wood: 7.5

    Honestly I am not sure why everybody says Wood’s ceiling is low. What else did he need to do this year?

  15. Probably because he doesn’t throw hard enough. That makes me all mad. To the tune of several long, rambling posts.

  16. @Jason1972: I know what you’re talking about. Might have been Baseball Prospectus at some point. Except I’m pretty sure it would be something like 4 runs as opposed to 4 wins. I think the same article basically said lineup order isn’t as important as people make it out to be, and that managers usually do a decent job of constructing them.

    I might have issue with that last statement when Dusty batted Phillips/OCab at 1 and 2 in the order. OCab at #2 just killed me.

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