Candidates: Graham Godfrey, Tom Milone, Jarrod Parker, Brad Peacock and Tyson Ross.
Two of these guys will be in the rotation to start the season, but one will get bumped when Brett Anderson returns.
In the minor leagues last season, Graham Godfrey pitched to the tune of a 2.59 ERA with a 3-to-1 ratio of strikeouts to walks. With only a short stint in the majors, his ERA is 3.69, but his K/BB ratio remains the same. Godfrey, unexpected to be a major player, might surprise many.
Tom Milone has had a fantastic minor league career. He posted an ERA of 3.22, striking out 155 and walking only 16 batters, total. Milone's trend has continued so far in the majors. In 26 innings in the MLB, Milone struck out 15 while only walking four.
Brad Peacock only pitched 12 innings in the majors last season. Though he earned a stellar 0.75 ERA, he walked more than he struck out. Like the others above, he's done well for himself in the minor leagues: His ERA has remained in the 3.00 range, he's maintained a WHIP of 1.25 and a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 0.37.
The main piece in the Trevor Cahill deal, Jarrod Parker is the number one prospect in Oakland's system. A's general manager Billy Beane spoke to AthleticsFarm.com about Parker's potential.
If we were going to give up a pitcher in our starting rotation, particularly someone of Trevor’s caliber, one of the places we were going to have to start was with someone we felt could replace Trevor in the rotation very quickly. So we gave up a very good pitcher, and what we really did was turn back the clock a little bit in terms of the service time and the cost.
Tyson Ross has the most experience at the big league level. In 75 innings of work, Ross has a career 4.18 ERA. In 2011, Ross produced slightly better numbers than in 2010, bringing down his ERA from 5.49 to 2.75 in nearly the same number of innings. Before the Cahill and Gio Gonzalez trades, Ross was slated to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.
These five guys are going to make it very difficult for A's brass to decide who gets one or two spots.
Predictions: Jarrod Parker has undeniable talent which will net him the fourth spot in the rotation and possibly even higher. Tom Milone jumps the rest and steals the fifth spot. Tyson Ross works out of the bullpen as a long reliever. Brad Peacock and Graham Godfrey are sent down to Triple-A.