Year in and year out the Athletics’ rotation has been very solid. Last year’s rotation featured a handful of young starters including Brandon McCarthy, Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, and Guillermo Moscoso.
This offseason though, the Athletics have entered rebuilding mode and they traded off two of these pitchers. First, the A’s traded Trevor Cahill (and Craig Breslow) to the Arizona Diamondbacks in return for Jarrod Parker, Collin Cowgill, and Ryan Cook.
Another move was made the other day when they traded Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals and received A.J. Cole, Derek Norris, Brad Peacock, and Tom Milone. The addition of those pitchers to the pitchers already in the system projects for a very good future rotation in Oakland.
There are already a handful of young pitchers in Oakland that have a couple years of major league service under their belt. The list includes Brandon McCarthy, Guillermo Moscoso, Josh Outman, Brett Anderson, and Dallas Braden.
|Age||MLB Service Time||2011 ERA||2011 FIP|
|Brandon McCarthy, RHP||28||6 years||3.32||2.86|
|Guillermo Moscoso, RHP||28||1 year||3.38||4.23|
|Josh Outman, LHP||27||3 years||3.70||3.90|
|Brett Anderson*, LHP||23||3 years||4.00||3.96|
|Dallas Braden**||28||5 years||3.00||3.64|
*Anderson was held 83.1 innings later year due to an elbow injury. Doesn’t project to be ready until the middle of the season.
** Braden was held to only 18.0 innings due to shoulder surgery. Should be ready opening day.
Those five alone would be enough to build a solid rotation. You could have a number one starter in either McCarthy or possibly Anderson based on his 2010 performance when he had a 2.80 ERA and a 3.21 FIP. The news gets much better for A’s fans though as there are very promising pitchers on the way.
In the A’s recent trades, they picked up 4 potential starters for that rotation in Jarrod Parker, A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock, and Tom Milone. These four will be added to a system that includes promising prospects Sonny Gray and Tyson Ross.
Parker, and Cole both project as frontline starters but I’d rank Parker ahead of Cole. Parker did miss all of 2010 due to Tommy John surgery but he has the stuff to be a number one starter. He has very good velocity on his fastball, sitting 94-97, and good command of the pitch. Scouts call his slider his best pitch. He also has a changeup showing the potential to be a plus pitch and a decent curveball. The right-handed 23 year old received one start at the end of the year last year where he was great. I think he’ll spend some time in AAA and be up in the majors in the second half of the year.
Cole also has frontline potential but I do not see him developing into as good as a pitcher as Parker will. The right-hander has a very good build at 6’4” 180lb but still has some work to do to get to the bigs. He spent all of last year at Single A Hagerstown where he posted a very impressive 2.53 FIP, great strike out numbers, and did not walk many batters. He has an impressive fastball sitting in the mid 90s, a curveball that could develop into a plus pitch, and an ok changeup to round out his pitches. If he works on consistency he could reach the bigs at some point in 2013.
As for the rest of the group, Gray, Peacock, and Ross project to be good number 2 starters or great number 3 starters. Gray and Peacock looked at as relievers but so far they have been worked as starters. Gray was picked by the A’s 18th overall in last year’s draft. He signed quickly and made it to AA last year. In 22.0 minor league innings he had a 0.82 ERA, an 8.2 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9. He should start the year at AAA and could reach the bigs at some point this year.
Peacock was a nice surprise in the National’s system as he surpassed expectations posting a 2.39 ERA, 10.9 K/9, and a 2.9 BB/9. He even made two starts in the majors at the end of the year giving up 1 run in 12 innings. He has a very solid fastball but needs to work on his secondary pitches. I think Peacock will make the A’s rotation right out of spring training.
Tyson Ross looked strong last year at the major league level posting a 2.75 ERA over the course of 36 innings. His strikeout numbers were a little down compared to the minors but this was a small sample size. His control though looked to improve as he posted one of the lowest BB/9 of his careers. Ross is a huge presence at 6’6” 230 lb. The 24 year old righty has a nice sinking fastball sitting in the lower 90s. He also throws a plus slider as well as a decent cutter and an improving changeup. Ross also has a shot to make the opening day rotation but it will be quite a competition to make it.
I can’t forget about Tom Milone either. While he doesn’t have the stuff like the other pitchers he projects to be a solid back end starter and will be a valuable asset to the rotation. The 24 year old lefty did pretty well in 26 major league innings last year. He had a 3.81 ERA and good command with a 1.4 BB/9. He does not have overpowering stuff what so ever but he has a solid mix of four pitches, good command, and is very deceptive. He is major league ready but the question is whether or not there will be room in the A’s rotation.
Those are a lot of valuable pieces to and the A’s rotation looks to be very good soon. As far as opening day goes I think the rotation will look as follows:
1. Brandon McCarthy
2. Guillermo Moscoso
3. Dallas Braden
4. Brad Peacock
5. Tom Milone
This rotation could look very different by midseason though. To project a little further, here is my projected A’s rotation in 2015 (3 years)
1. Jarrod Parker
2. Brett Anderson
3. A.J. Cole
4. Sonny Gray
5. Brad Peacock
That is looking like a very good rotation and the system is so deep that if one of those guys doesn’t develop as expected or is moved to the bullpen, there are other great options. Maybe if the A’s add some offense we can talk about a division title in a few years.
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis Tagged: | A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Collin Cowgill, Craig Breslow, Dallas Braden, Derek Norris, Gio Gonzalez, Guillermo Moscoso, Jarrod Parker, Josh Outman, Oakland A's, Ryan Cook, Sonny Gray, Tom Milone, Trevor Cahill, Tyson Ross