2023 Diamondbacks: Who deserves the last spot in the rotation?

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

There are 3 candidates that desvere a shot for the final spot in the starting rotation: Ryne Nelson, Drey Jameson, and Brandon Pfaadt...

Candidate #1: Ryne Nelson

There is no way around it; Nelson struggled at the minor league level a season ago.  In 26 AAA starts, Nelson went 10-5 which is impressive but he had an ERA of 5.43 and a BAA of .264.  A 5.43 ERA is not impressive in any way.  He also struck out 128 batters over 136 innings which is not a dominant rate either.  So if Nelson wasn’t good in triple-A in 2022, why is he a candidate?  

Given it is a small sample size, but in 3 starts with the Diamondbacks a season ago Ryne was dominant.  Nelson went 1-1 with a 1.47 ERA over 18.1 innings.  What is equally impressive is over those 18.1 innings he recorded a 0.82 WHIP and a .145 BAA.  Now you see why he is a candidate?  Nelson possesses a dominant 4-seam fastball that recorded a -4 run value in his short stint in the bigs.  If he can develop his off-speed pitches to match the effectiveness of his heater, Nelson could work his way up the rotation rather quickly…

Candidate #2: Drey Jameson

Like Nelson, Jameson struggled mightily in triple-A ball last season.  In 25 starts, Jameson went 7-13 with a 6.31 ERA and a .286 BAA.  Yikes!

Also like Nelson, Jameson was dominant in his short stint with Arizona in 22’.  In 4 starts, Jameson went 3-0 with a 1.48 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.  He also had 24 strikeouts over 24.1 innings.  Jameson’s best pitch is a devastating slider that moves A TON.  Both Jameson’s slider and fastball recorded a -3 run value a season ago.  Nelson and Jameson have some growing to do, but they both have looked really good in the big leagues…

Candidate #3: Brandon Pfaadt

Unlike Nelson and Jameson, Pfaddt was solid in the minors a season ago.  Over 10 AAA starts, Pfaddt went 5-1 with a 2.63 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP.  Easy to get behind those numbers as a fan of this team.  Pfaddt didn’t make it to the bigs in the regular season but he did get to pitch last spring training; it was only for 3 innings and 17 pitches.  In those 3 innings, however, he only gave up one earned run.  Pfaddt is expected to see some more innings this spring training, and all those innings will be crucial to his future.  Out of these 3 candidates, it is safe to say Pfaddt has the highest ceiling…

Final Verdict: Ryne Nelson