San Francisco Giants
This is the team to beat. The team with the best rotation in baseball. The team. At least that’s what sensationalist media types would have you believe. They did sign the Shark and another tiny starter not named Tim Lincecum. Add that to Bumgarner and Cain and you have the makings of the best rotation ever.
Except those signings are going to pitch in the slots they should be pitching in, while Matt Cain has been doing his best to become the forgotten man and Jake Peavy struggles to stay on the field. Madison Bumgarner is awesome. He’s a legit #1 and right up their with the best left-handed starter, Clayton Kershaw. Plus, they have random quality guy Chris “Don’t Call Me Charlton” Heston to fill in for when Peavy gets hurt.
That is a super awesome rotation. It really is. But, we know what each guy is capable of. We know that the rotation is going to be Bumgarner, Cueto, Samardzija, Peavy, and Cain, exclusively in that order. Cueto, as good as he has been, really is a #2 pitcher now. He was a #1 for many years on Cincinnati. He has the moxie people love. Don’t forget though, he’s a tiny human. Pitchers under six feet tall use funky mechanics to help their success, and it almost always works (Yordano Ventura and Tim Lincecum) for a time, until it doesn’t anymore.
Short pitchers, when they lose it, lose it in exceptional fashion. Maybe Cueto hasn’t lost it and I’m going to eat crow, but if he hasn’t lost it yet, he will soon and then he is going to slowly descend down the rotation before bouncing between the #5 slot and the bullpen, and probably making a lot of noise to the media about it.
I will repeat what I said though, this is a very good rotation. The thing with it is that there is little to no chance it ever has two or three #1 types at the top. That’s why the Diamondbacks are owners of the best rotation in the NL West.
Next: Arizona Diamondbacks