In recent days, we’ve seen Jason Hammel, Nathan Eovaldi, and now Travis Wood leave the board. But with camps opening around the league, there are still a few notable starters who don’t yet know where to report.
As ever, rotation depth is a key consideration for any organization. Contenders need to ensure they’ll be able to fill up innings with at-least competent pitching, while rebuilding clubs need to protect their younger arms (and also may look to capture some upside by turning a veteran into a trade chip).
Organizations that aren’t quite set in the starting pitching department will likely have some of these names at the tops of their lists. Which do you think is the best bet to turn in a strong 2017 campaign? (Presented in alphabetical order.)
- Jorge De La Rosa — The 35-year-old lefty largely scuffled in 2016, but turned in a solid 4.35 ERA over his nine seasons in the game’s toughest pitching environment, Coors Field.
- Doug Fister — The towering right-hander turned in 164 innings of 2.41 ERA ball as recently as 2014, and showed he was healthy even as he struggled last year.
- Mat Latos — Though he has been markedly disappointing in each of the past two seasons, Latos only just turned 29 and was a top-quality starter for the five preceding campaigns.
- Colby Lewis — Sure, he’s 37 years of age and doesn’t generate many strikeouts, but Lewis did provide 19 starts of 3.71 ERA pitching in 2016.
- Tim Lincecum — An attempted comeback last year fell flat, and it has been a long time since Lincecum flashed his former Cy Young form, but is it too late for the 32-year-old to settle in as a serviceable arm?
- Jon Niese — Though his stint with the Pirates didn’t pan out, the now-30-year-old Niese was deemed a worthwhile bet by the pitching-savvy Bucs and was a solid performer for the better part of the prior eight years.
- Jake Peavy — Another pitcher coming off of a poor season, the 35-year-old Peavy provided the Giants with 189 1/3 innings of sub-3.00 ERA work following his mid-2014 acquisition.
- Jered Weaver — The days of competing for Cy Young awards are surely over, but if Weaver can recover even a bit of his lost velocity, perhaps he can salvage a late-career run beginning with his age-34 season.
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