If I were a manager looking to get a starting rotation going, I would look to get some youth combined with a couple of seasoned veterans in the mix.
My starting rotation contains two lefties and three righties that have proven to be leaders in the National League along with the great potential to exceed that in upcoming seasons. Here is my starting rotation with the opening day starter.
1. Brandon Webb—Arizona Diamondbacks
Webb has been a Cy Young-type pitcher and leader for the past few seasons. He is a big leader at the top of the rotation and is labeled as the stopper for the D'Backs.
He doesn't overpower anyone, yet he dominates hitters every night he is on the mound. He has arguably the best sinker in baseball—when it is down, it's impossible to get off the ground.
He has a tremendous ground ball to fly ball ratio and keeps the defense on its toes with his strike-throwing ability. He gets the ball day one for me to get my team off to a 1-0 start.
2. CC Sabathia—Milwaukee Brewers
Was there a better pitcher in the second half of the season? Not in my eyes. Sabathia carried the Brew Crew into the postseason with an 11-2 record and a minuscule 1.65 ERA.
Then there's his ability to give the bullpen a much needed night off with his seven complete games. He is a daunting figure on the mound which puts the scare factor into batters. His pitching style also shows a lot of deception, making his slider and changeup dangerous assets to his mid-90's fastball.
3. Tim Lincecum—San Francisco Giants
People don't see this guy pitch much because he pitches for a terrible team. In case you don't know, he had 18 wins in 2008 and led the major leagues in strikeouts with 265. Although he make not look like much of an athlete, or even a pitcher, don't be fooled.
Lincecum has a funky delivery to the plate that makes it very difficult to pick up the ball. His fastball is often seen in the upper-90s and his 12-6 curve ball is devastating. I just can't imagine how good he would be if he pitched for a playoff contender.
4. Cole Hamels—Philadelphia Phillies
If you didn't know who this guy was, you do now. Hamels was absolutely amazing during the Phillies' World Series win. He won all three playoff series openers on Philly's way to the title.
When you look at him and his pitches, you wonder how he does so well. A low-90's fastball, a changeup, and an average curveball. But just watch this kid pitch. He locates his fastball with the best and his changeup is, in my opinion, the best in baseball. He throws it to lefties and righties and on both sides of the plate. When hitters look for it, they get the fastball, which then looks about 98 mph. He can pitch for my team any day.
5. Roy Oswalt—Houston Astros
Another veteran who just knows how to win. The guy has no size and is not a scary man on the mound like CC Sabathia, but his "stuff" is what makes him so good. His fastball jumps out of his hand like no pitcher I have ever seen. Combine that with a nasty breaking ball and a bottom-dropping changeup, and then you have a great starting pitcher. He battles and out-pitches every hitter.
Backing up that starting rotation is this bullpen. My bullpen consists of one right-handed reliever, one lefty, one setup man and a closer.
RH RP—Carlos Marmol—Chicago Cubs
Talk about a strikeout pitcher. Very good fastball with a slider that breaks out of the strike zone. He was the eighth-inning man for the Cubs this year and he was a sure to hand the ball to Kerry Wood with lead in the ninth.
LH RP—Brian Fuentes—Colorado Rockies
Gotta have someone who can get out that tough lefty in the seventh inning, right? Fuentes is that guy. He features an unorthodox delivery, a tough task for any lefty to hit. His sweeping slider away to lefties is unhittable and unable to let go.
Setup man—Jonathan Broxton—Los Angeles Dodgers
I want a guy in the eighth inning to blow away the hitters. Broxton comes in throwing strikes and throwing heat. His fastball flirts with the century mark and is a tough mountain to surpass in the eighth inning.
Closer—Brad Lidge—Philadelphia Phillies
Is there any question as to who was the best closer in the National League? Not in my mind. Fastball in the mid-90’s and a filthy slider that is among the best in the majors. Lidge carried his perfect season into October where he ended game five and brought Philadelphia its first World Series title in 28 years.
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