Dan Harn at practice today in Tucson (photo courtesy Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic)

Diamondbacks Position Preview: Starting Rotation

The Arizona Diamondbacks starting rotation is pretty much set from spots 1-4.  It’s that dreaded fifth spot that continues to be a dog for this franchise.  Last year, several pitchers gave it a go with only limited success.

This year the rotation includes:

1. Dan Haren

Haren is a solid pitcher the first half of the season.  It’s everything that happens from mid-July till the end of the season that continues to separate Haren from good and great.  Last season Haren looked like Cy Young up until the All-Star break.  After that he looked more like Chris Young. Haren has been tagged as the opening day starter.  Let’s hope he pitches like an opening day starter and not make us all second guess not using Brandon Webb on that special day.

2. Edwin Jackson

Jackson, a free agent from Detroit, is someone that is expected to fill the number two spot for the Dbacks and based on the contract he got recently, they are expecting great things. After being part of the Tampa Rays World Series team in 2008, Jackson made the move north to Detroit, where he improved his ERA from 4.42 to 3.62 and batting average against from .281 to .247.  If he keeps those numbers with the Dbacks, he might flourish in the NL West.

3. Brandon Webb

The big question mark.  Will he or won’t he?  Pitch well that is, coming off surgery.  He’s saying all the right things.  The Dbacks picked up his option for this year, but whether he is here or not after July 31st remains to be seen, based on how the team as a whole is performing.  If the Dbacks are out of the race or it looks dim, look for Brandon Webb to be wearing a new uniform the morning of August 1st.  I think his return will be successful, but that’s just me.  He will have a lot to prove to me and critics in the upcoming weeks.

4. Ian Kennedy

The New York Yankees never really gave this kid a shot.  I was a little surprised they let him go without really seeing what they had.  Their loss may certainly be our gain.  Sure, he struggled in 2008 with the Yankees in his nine starts, but they left him in the minors for most of 2009 before letting him go.  I predict he may be a pleasant surprise.

5. The million dollar question.  Who will fill this spot?  Will it be one guy or by committee again?  Well, the fifth guy will probably be announced sometime during spring, but if the past is any indication, you may see a few  starters from the fifth position, including Billy Buckner and Brian Augenstein.

The rotation should be a strong point for this team and most likely, as in the past, the Dbacks may need to rely on them to eat up innings after extensive bullpen use in previous games.  Let’s chat in July and see if this rotation holds true.

Scott Allen

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Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks Billy Buckner Brandon Webb Brian Augenstein Chris Young Cy Young Dan Haren Edwin Jackson Ian Kennedy New York Yankees Tampa Rays

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