What The Ideal Pittsburgh Pirates Rotation Will Eventually Look Like
How Will the Pirates Rotation Look in July?
It’s no secret that the Pittsburgh Pirates have been faced with more than their fair share of injuries early in 2013, with Neil Walker, James McDonald, Travis Snider, and Russell Martin all missing some time. Francisco Liriano, Jeff Karstens and Charlie Morton haven’t even thrown a pitch yet this season.
Despite the injuries, the Pirates are still sitting at 18-16 and are only 3.5 games back in the division. The bullpen for the Pirates has been the main reason, along with tremendous play from left-fielder Starling Marte.
Beginning tomorrow with Liriano, the Pirates will be getting some of their injured arms back soon, with Morton likely coming next, followed by Karstens. When all three of them are back and healthy, that will also mean that three guys who are currently on the team will have to be traded or sent to the minor leagues.
Everyone, including myself, has their own opinions on how they want the five-man starting rotation to look for the Pirates when everyone is healthy. I’m sure some folks even want to see the Pirates utilize a six-man rotation. Even though I think a six-man rotation would be effective for this team, I don’t think it is the best option. Any team would be better with just their five best players taking spots as opposed to having a sixth best pitcher pitching every sixth day.
So sit back, relax and read my opinion on how I want the Pirates rotation to look in a few weeks when hopefully everyone will be healthy.
A.J. Burnett is the vocal leader of the Pirates' clubhouse, and he has been the most consistent pitcher for the Pirates in 2013. He will likely be the number one starter for the rest of the season, barring any injuries.
Wandy Rodriguez was acquired last season at the trade deadline. Other than two mediocre starts in 2013, he has been very good so his second spot in the rotation is safe. For now.
The third spot in the rotation is where the debate really begins. For me, however, there isn't much debate. When Francisco Liriano is healthy, I think he should be inserted here. Who really knows what the Pirates will get from Liriano? He can be great, or he can be really, really bad. I like the upside he could provide as a third starter.
Charlie Morton started his career in a bad, bad way, and he was a terrible pitcher until he switched his outlook. He began to model himself after Roy "Doc" Halladay, literally and figuratively. He has even gone as far as switching his pitching motion to exactly the same as Halladay's. Morton is a sinker-ball pitcher, so when his sinker is working, he is virtually impossible to hit hard. However, on the other hand, when his sinker isn't getting ground balls, hitters can basically hit pitches off a tee.
This came down to Jeff Karstens or Gerrit Cole. I prefer Cole here because he is the Pirates' top prospect and he is major league ready while Karstens is injury-prone and we know what we will get from him: an ERA near 4.00 and a .500 record.