Projecting the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-Man Rotation for 2015

Adam YoungContributor IIJanuary 6, 2015

Projecting the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-Man Rotation for 2015

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    The Arizona Diamondbacks enter 2015 with much uncertainty regarding their starting rotation.

    According to the depth chart, Josh Collmenter is listed as the team's top starting pitcher. He is followed by Rubby De La Rosa, Jeremy Hellickson, Allen Webster and Vidal Nuno.

    Out of the five listed, only Collmenter began the season with Arizona last year, first appearing out of the bullpen. 

    Patrick Corbin will likely serve as the D-Backs ace but is not projected to return until at least midseason from Tommy John surgery. Daniel Hudson and Bronson Arroyo's statuses are also unknown coming off injury.

    And then there's Archie Bradley, Arizona's top prospect who has yet to make an impact at the big league level. Overall, the D-Backs rotation is clearly up in the air.

    With that said, here is a projection for the Diamondbacks starting rotation in 2015.

5. Vidal Nuno

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    After Nuno was acquired in July via trade from the Yankees, he did not fare well in the desert. In his 14 starts, the D-Backs went 1-13. Nuno's individual record was 0-7.

    However, Nuno's statistics show his record was not indicative of how he pitched. 

    In those 14 starts, Nuno's ERA was a respectable 3.76 while holding opposing hitters to a .228 batting average.

    At 27 years old, Nuno can be a solid fifth starter for the D-Backs if he can keep the ball in the ballpark. With Wade Miley gone, he also has an advantage as one of the only left-handed pitchers competing for a spot in the rotation.

4. Rubby De La Rosa

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    De La Rosa's 2014 campaign with Boston was inconsistent. At times, the flamethrower dominated opposing hitters with his fastball ranging from 95-100 mph

    Other times, De La Rosa struggled with control. In 19 starts, the young right-hander never went more than seven innings. Additionally, only one of his final eight starts in Boston was a quality start. 

    However, D-Backs general manager Dave Stewart believes De La Rosa can make an immediate contribution with his new team. He stated that the organization had been lacking power pitching, citing former greats Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.

    De La Rosa has also gained enough respect from Stewart to currently be listed as the second starter in the rotation.

    De La Rosa's strikeout potential and power pitching make him a strong candidate for the No. 4 spot on the list.

3. Chase Anderson

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    Chris Schneider/Associated Press

    Anderson was one of the lone bright spots for an Arizona team that finished with the worst record in the MLB

    He won his first five career starts with the D-Backs, joining Kaz Ishii and Jered Weaver as the only pitchers to do so in the MLB since 1998.

    Anderson finished his rookie season 9-7 with a 4.01 ERA. One of those wins came against Clayton Kershaw in May, proving he was not phased by the big moment at a young age.

    One issue for Anderson was the long ball. He surrendered 15 home runs in 20 starts. If he can limit the home runs, he should build off a strong rookie campaign and win a starting spot in 2015.

2. Jeremy Hellickson

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    Coming off elbow surgery, Hellickson started his 2014 season with the Rays in July.

    Through August, the right-hander was 1-2 with a 2.98 ERA before struggling in September. However, a fresh start in Arizona may be exactly what the 27-year old Hellickson needs. 

    Acquired from the Rays for two prospects, the organization has high expectations for him coming into 2015. The D-Backs may have gotten a bargain in the trade. Only three seasons ago, Hellickson was named the AL Rookie of the Year after going 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA. He is entering the prime of his career and has solid upside.

    Hellickson is currently listed as the third starter on the depth chart. But he appears as the No. 2 starter on this list because of his big league experience in comparison to the previous three pitchers.

1. Josh Collmenter

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Collmenter is perhaps the only lock to make the D-Backs rotation coming into spring training.

    After finishing 11-9 with a 3.46 ERA on a last-place team, Collmenter proved that he can be a reliable starting pitcher in the MLB.

    The right-hander has proved that deception can be a useful tactic to keep hitters off balance. Collmenter primarily utilizes only a fastball and changeup. His fastball sits in the mid-to-high 80s but can blow by hitters who are expecting a changeup. 

    With Patrick Corbin and Daniel Hudson recovering from elbow injuries, Collmenter will be called upon to lead the Arizona rotation in 2015.

    If he can improve on last season's impressive numbers, Collmenter's bullpen days will be permanently behind him.

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