MLB Spring Training 2011: 8 Teams That Should Consider Using a Four-Man Rotation
Spring training is under way, and we can now take a much more in-depth look at what the regular season holds in store.
Last season, we were fortunate enough to watch dominating pitching take over the landscape of Major League Baseball; and this season looks to be the same.
With ample amounts of solid arms in last year's playoffs, run production (believe it or not) was few and far between for some ball clubs.
However, for a vast majority of teams without such talent on the mound, last season was a forgettable one.
So as we take a look into what's to come this season, let's contemplate which teams could benefit the most from a four-man starting rotation for the beginning of the season.
New York Yankees
With Javier Vasquez's departure to Florida and Andy Pettitte's retirement, you'd think the Yankees would've made a few notable offseason acquisitions to reassure their arms. However; that isn't the case for the Bronx Bombers.
This season, both CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett will be taking on a much more crucial role in the success of the Yankees' pitching staff. And with Joba Chamberlain almost certain to be moved up to the starting rotation, the time is now for the Yankees to prove whether they are not a force to be dealt with in the American League.
To shore things up in New York (at least for the beginning of the season), the Yankees should consider using a four-man rotation consisting of Sabathia, Burnett, Phil Hughes and Chamberlain.
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When you've managed to accumulate two former Cy Young award-winning talents, a home-grown asset maintaining a World Series MVP award, and another Hall of Fame competitor, you're going to get some media love.
But, as with most teams included on this list, the back end of their rotation (Joe Blanton) could be used much more effectively in either the bullpen or a closing/set-up position.
Just think about a four-game series with Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Oswalt all in a row. How'd you like to face that onslaught of talent in a four-game series?
San Fransisco Giants
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Though San Fransisco can positively say they in fact maintain by far and away the league's most consistent starting rotation, the keeping of Barry Zito on the back end certainly softens things up.
Last season, Zito did have enough quality starts to rightfully give him a position in the Giants' rotation; however, his unattractive 4.15 ERA compared to the rest of San Fransisco's starters makes for a huge discrepancy between the remainder of San Fransisco's starters,
The best option for the Giants to make another run at a World Series title would be to go with a four-man rotation—placing Zito permanently in the bullpen.
San Diego Padres
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Last season, the Padres rode their group of young, talented starters and relievers to nearly becoming NL West Champions—just two games behind San Fransisco when it was all said and done.
As Spring Training heats up, San Diego's plethora of starting pitching must be able to carry the load due to Jon Garland's departure to Los Angeles (Garland was responsible for 200.0 innings of pitching for the Padres last season).
If a starting rotation consisting of Mat Latos, Clayton Richard, Wade LeBlanc and Kevin Correia was to be established early in the season, we'd see these young prodigies develop much more quick than using an ineffective fifth starter such as Tim Stauffer.
Chicago White Sox
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When Jake Peavy is at full health, his stuff can be a thing of beauty. When not, questions about Chicago's staff arise rather quick, all while making the White Sox's rotation only "average" compared to "dominant".
As Spring Training starts up, Peavy's capabilities and health are flourishing. If he is able to show he can return the dominating form of old, Chicago will be in serious contention for a World Series appearance.
John Danks held down Chicago's diminished staff last season with 231.0 innings pitched, and will more than likely duplicate those numbers this season.
If Peavy, Danks, Mark Buehrle and Gavin Floyd were to round out Chicago's starting rotation to begin the regular season, Ozzie Guillen's squad would be in for an explosion of consistency on the mound.
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The Marlins managed to finish 16th in the majors in ERA last season with two of the National League's most respectable starters in Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez.
Expanding their talent on the mound with the acquisition of Javier Vasquez will certainly bring some talent to a staff that is just waiting to burst onto the scene.
With Johnson, Vasquez, Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco running the show for the Marlins at the commencement of the regular season, Florida could find themselves atop the NL East faster than most would think.
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The Rockies are only beginning to grab the attention of many across the country regarding their status amongst their fellow NL West competition.
With a hitting lineup consisting of a few of the league's most prominent young talents, and a starting rotation with more capability than most would think, Colorado should certainly be a favorite in the NL West.
But with the only true effective starter outside of Ubaldo Jimenez in Jhoulys Chacin (who also notably maintained a 3.28 ERA), the Rockies are in a bit of a predicament regarding the status of their rotation.
The best bet for the Rockies starting the season would be to commence with a Jimenez, Jason Hammel, Chacin and either Aaron Cook or Jorge De La Rosa in the rotation.
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A quick glimpse at Milwaukee's starting rotation and you'll find they are one of the most seasoned, strictly talented bunch in the entire National League.
In fact, you could go as far as to say they could potentially rival that of the Phillies' famed starting rotation chalk full of Hall of Fame talent. However, let's stick to business.
The Brewers were one of the worst staffs last season when it came to keeping opponents bats in check, and struggled to find any consistency whatsoever from their starters. However, this season things are looking much different in Milwaukee.
The addition of Greinke and Marcum will aid in the Brewers' journey to the postseason, and will eventually become one of the league's most feared starting rotations.
However, at the tail end of rotation is Milwaukee's up-and-coming prospect Narveson who—at times last season—failed to find his stuff at the very beginning of his starts. Will he be Milwaukee's downfall this season on the mound?
Not entirely, however, if the Brewers are serious about making a World Series run, they'll have to utilize the talent they've got while they still have it.
Going with Greinke, Gallardo, Marcum and Wolf would be Milwaukee's best bet heading into 2011.