With the off-season ahead and evaluations set to begin, which pitchers will be in the Arizona Diamondbacks 2016 rotation?
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a surplus of position players that will surely need to be addressed in the off-season. However having talent at a ton of positions is good thing to have. One area the Diamondbacks do not have a surplus of proven players at is the pitching rotation.
This season the Diamondbacks sent a ton of young arms to the mound, and while there were mixed results, there certainly was a lot of optimism about the future and the depth of pitching that the team has in their farm system. However, none of those players are quite proven yet and they will need time to adjust at the Major League level.
Still, with a lot of young pitchers and more proven guys in the rotation like Rubby De La Rosa, Jeremy Hellickson and Patrick Corbin, the Diamondbacks will have two spots in the rotation open provided they don’t trade De La Rosa or Hellickson.
So who will be in the Diamondbacks rotation in 2016?
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The Diamondbacks’ rotation will have some upheaval for the 2016 season. There will be a free agent or two brought in to go along with one or perhaps two rookies and some holdovers. In my humble opinion, the four guys within the organization are as follows: Patrick Corbin, Rubby De La Rosa, Jeremy Hellickson and Aaron Blair.
Corbin is the one given out of the group. The other three could ultimately prove me wrong but since this is a forecasting post, here goes the reasoning. I think De La Rosa gets another year in the rotation. At times he was dominant in 2015 but not often enough. With a full season under his belt, maybe he has an idea of how to be a full-time starter in the Major Leagues. Hellickson will return almost by default because I can’t see the team dealing him after just one season unless it is basically for nothing. I believe the organization is super-high on Blair; he did not get sent to the Arizona Fall League which leads me to believe they have determined he is ready for the next step. Only if he flops will he not make the rotation. That leaves Archie Bradley, Robbie Ray and Chase Anderson on the outside looking in. If Hellickson gets dealt, I think it is Ray that moves into his slot. As for Bradley, I believe management wants to see more consistency in an extended period of time before he comes back to the rotation.
As far as the free agent goes, it’s anyone’s guess. If I need to pick one, it will be Jeff Samardzija. He wont be as costly as someone like David Price and Zack Greinke but he has the ace mentality with almost-ace-stuff. He seems like he is a Tony LaRussa, Dave Stewart-type pitcher. However the rotation breaks, it will certainly be better than last year’s version.
The Diamondbacks will use their surplus of positional talent to go after a pitcher this off-season and could very well do the best they can to maybe unload a Hellickson if the return is right. The team has talented young pitchers in Blair, Shipley, Bradley and Ray to go along with many others. They won’t all be in the rotation to start the season and the Diamondbacks could go after a second-tier starter like Samardzija, who could slide in as the No. 2 behind Corbin. He brings the toughness the team likes.
After that the team can slide in De La Rosa, then Hellickson and Blair to round out the rotation, while Bradley and Ray try to earn their way into a rotation spot.