Lately, on several Reds B/R writers' articles as well as my own, I've noticed a lot of people calling for Bronson Arroyo to get moved to the bullpen.
I'd just like to ask one question of everyone: where on earth did this come from?
I'm having a really difficult time trying to understand why everybody seems to think he should be moved out of the starting rotation in favor of Aroldis Chapman and even Jeff Francis.
Chapman, aside from the good showing this spring, has yet to prove he's a reliable starting pitcher. Honestly, if Chapman had some regular-season major-league starts under his belt, I might be able to accept this idea; but Jeff Francis?
Jeff Francis hasn't had a decent, or even average, season since 2007. In fact, he's been absolutely awful. This is Francis' stat line over his last three years pitching:
Now compare it to Bronson Arroyo's stat line over his last three years pitching:
Arroyo has been the most consistent pitcher on the Reds' starting staff since joining the team in 2006. He may not have been the best pitcher on the staff every year (Aaron Harang in '06/'07 and Volquez in '08), but he's been by far the most dependable.
Arroyo takes the ball to start every time his spot comes up in the rotation. Even while battling mono and a lingering back injury in 2011, he managed to extend his consecutive seasons with 30-plus starts to seven.
Going into last season, Arroyo had pitched in over 200 innings every year since 2005 and he missed extending that streak to seven years by just one inning pitched.
Arroyo's effectiveness in 2011, or lack thereof, is also greatly exaggerated. Last season, Arroyo received 3.7 runs per game in support. That's the same amount of run support Felix Hernandez gets, and that Mariners team couldn't hit a lick last year.
Arroyo made 15 quality starts last year in 32 attempts—that gives him a 47 QS percentage. The MLB average over his career is 49 percent. Considering the health problems he faced last year, I'd call that pretty impressive.
Finally, if you look at the tough losses and wins blown for Arroyo last year (three and three, respectively), you'd notice that, in theory, he could have gone 15-9. If his record reflected this, I doubt anybody would be calling for him to go to the 'pen.
Look, I'm all in favor of young talented pitchers getting their shot in the rotation, but those opportunities should be given when it's best for the team.
I want to see Chapman start as bad as anybody, but if Walt Jocketty, Dusty Baker and the rest of the Reds management team think he should be in the bullpen, then I'm on board.
So, for now, can we all please stop bashing Bronson Arroyo? He's actually pretty good.