One of the strengths of the Diamondbacks last year and in previous years has been its starting rotation. The 2012 season should be no different, if not better, barring any un-forseen injury. In 2011 the Diamondbacks had the league’s 14th best ERA at 3.80 and for 2012 the team added starter Trevor Cahill from the Oakland Athletics to an already stacked rotation.The staff ace is without a doubt former Yankee Ian Kennedy, who in 2011 went 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and 198 strikeouts. Kennedy has resurrected his career with Arizona and looks to build upon last season’s success. Kennedy’s closest season to 21 wins was nine wins back in 2010, his first year with the Diamondbacks. Kennedy will not be sneaking up on anyone after his season last year, but he will still have a great year.
Daniel Hudson is another young key to the starting rotation. Acquired in a trade from the White Sox, Hudson went 16-12 with a 3.49 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and 169 strikeouts. Hudson had a little bit of a down year after going 7-1 with the Diamondbacks in 2010 after the trade, but his stuff is simply too good to expect another down year out of him. He can put up the same numbers as Kennedy and be the 1-2 punch the Diamondbacks need to get through the difficult NL West.
Last year’s third starter was Joe Saunders, who had a 12-13 record, a 3.69 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP and 108 strikeouts. Saunders re-signed with the Diamondbacks, much to the surprise of many, but he serves a very important role in the rotation. He is a solid guy who will give you seven innings of quality work and is the only lefty the team has in the rotation. The team will need Saunders to step up his production as there are several key minor leaguers waiting in the wings to take up a rotation spot.
The fourth starter spot should go to the newly acquired Trevor Cahill from the A’s. Cahill had a 12-14 record with Oakland, a 4.16 ERA, a 1.43 WHIP and 147 strikeouts. Cahill struggled a big at times in the AL West last year, but should be able to adjust well to the offensively weaker NL West and get back to his 2010 form in which went 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA. If the Diamondbacks can get the 2010 version of Cahill, no one will be able to match up with the D-backs starting rotation.
The fifth starter was a pleasant surprise from last year in Josh Collmenter. Collmenter went 10-10, with a 3.38 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and 100 strikeouts. The best news for the Diamondbacks came in the form of his 1-run, seven inning performance against the Brewers in the playoffs. Collmenter will look to repeat this performance again throughout the season to keep his starter role.
The Diamondbacks have always had a strong rotation and this season is no different and they will need every inning of solid pitching out of these guys if they want to repeat as NL West Champions.
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