NL CENTRAL ROTATIONS
A brief look at the NL Central rotations…
CUBS: Zambrano, Lilly, Marquis, Hill, Prior/W. Miller
NOTES: Will Rich Hill take the next step in his progression? After the ASB he was 6-3 with a 2.90 ERA. He also had 79 Ks in 80 IP and limited batters to a .205 BA. If he gets near those numbers for a full season the Cubs will likely have the best rotation in the division and they will make the playoffs.
REDS: Harang, Arroyo, Milton, Lohse, Saarloos
NOTES: The top 2 are solid, but the back 3 could be the worst 3-4-5 starters in the game. I’m amazed people keep giving Saarloos the ball, Lohse is the biggest tease and Milton has been shelled the last 2 years.
BREWERS: Sheets, Capuano, Suppan, Bush, Vargas
NOTES: No doubting Sheets is the man. But he’s started only 39 games during the last 2 seasons. Dave Bush is the best kept secret in baseball. In essence the Blue Jays chose Burnett over Bush and they will long rue the day. Suppan is likely overrated but he is a solid veteran who will approach 200 IP. If Sheets is healthy this could be the best rotation in the division.
CARDINALS: Carpenter, K. Wells, Reyes, Wainwright, Thompson/Looper
NOTES: Dave Duncan has ample opportunity to prove he is the best pitching coach in the game. Thompson started only 25 games in 4 minor league seasons. Looper is a long-time reliever. It will be interesting to see what they get out of them, as well as postseason hero Wainwright, who goes back to starting. Reyes needs to fulfill his potential and soon. They will miss Suppan if only for his stability. This has the potential to become a disaster.
PIRATES: Duke, Snell, Maholm, Gorzelanny, Armas Jr.
NOTES: Ages in order: 23, 25, 24, 24, 28. This rotation certainly has enormous potential. Duke had a bit of a sophomore slump. Snell is very exciting. Maholm’s 1st full season wasn’t great. The most likely thing to happen is that one or more of these youngsters will struggle and one will step up and become the leader.
ASTROS: Oswalt, Jennings, Williams, Rodriguez, Astacio
NOTES: The Astros simply bore me. Last year their staff allowed the least runs in the division. Sans Pettitte and Clemens that won’t happen again. They made a run with a hot September but they are just not very good. So watch–they’ll probably go win the division. But more likely is they will finish around .500, just like their mediocre rotation.