Pitching, pitching, and more pitching! I am a fan of great pitching I love to see sinkers, sliders, unhittable curve-balls, and the always exciting 100 mph fast-ball to complement those off-speed pitches. That is baseball, it is more than science, it is the blueprint of any championship team. That being said, with any great blueprint you have to have a strong foundation to hold it together. The Dback starting rotation over the spring has come along nicely, adding some new components like Ian Kennedy into the mix to help us compete in the NL West this year. As our rotation becomes more and more clear it is time to dive into our bullpen to see who will be able to step up and give us those ever so important grind out victories we need to stay competitive with the big rigs of our division.
Our bullpen starts with our right handed closer Chad Qualls who is steadily recovering from a kneecap injury he suffered last season. He is a strong closer who only walked 7 batters in 52 innings last year. His powerful sinker-slider combo is great with forcing double play balls in late innings which will be important for those close games in the division race. The Diamondback relief pitching is led by Juan Gutierrez and Esmerling Vasquez. Juan Gutierrez took over for Qualls after his injury last year to go 8 for 8 in saves. He is an excellent asset to have if he is needed to fill that role again. Esmerling Vasquez is another right handed pitcher, he throws a monstrous 95 mph fastball but with such a strong arm he was inconsistent with throwing strikes last year. As long as he stays confident and leans on that fastball more I think he will have a very productive 2010 season.
The Dbacks bullpen will finish off with Leo Rosales, Blaine Boyer, and they added some veteran strength with Bob Howry and Aaron Heilman through free agent deals. We are heavy with right hand pitching so as we figure out the definite starters there will be room for a needed LHP like Zach Kroenke or Clay Zavada to take a spot in our bullpen. Looking at the rotation, bullpen and batting lineup improvements that have been made over the off season and spring training we can only expect a competitive 2010 season.