Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers competing for the fifth rotation spot

What pitcher could claim the fifth rotation spot during Spring Training for the Arizona Diamondbacks?
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Slade Cecconi
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Slade Cecconi

Slade Cecconi was the D-Backs’ first-round pick in 2020. Ranked as a consensus top 15 D-Backs prospect, Cecconi made his MLB debut last season. He didn’t pitch enough to qualify for rookie status, so he’ll still be a rookie on Opening Day 2024. It would not be all that surprising if Cecconi won the final rotation spot in Spring Training.

Cecconi spent most of his year at Triple-A Reno, where he had a 6.11 ERA, 5.69 FIP, and 1.38 WHIP. Cecconi had a quality 23.3% strikeout rate along with an outstanding 7.1% walk rate. Home runs were his kryptonite, as he had a 1.80 HR/9 rate. A 17.1 HR/FB ratio, however, points to some future positive regression. Plus, it was the Pacific Coast League, so take his bottom line with a grain of salt.

In Cecconi’s brief 27 MLB innings in 2023, he only allowed 13 earned runs on four home runs and 27 total hits. He was great at limiting walks, allowing just four free passes, but he only struck out 20 batters. Of his seven outings and four starts, only one saw him give up more than three earned runs. His stuff looked decent in his brief call-up, as his fastball had nearly 13 inches of horizontal break, while his slider had 43 inches of drop. Cecconi also throws a curveball and change-up, and he controls his stuff pretty well.

Cecconi is heading into his age-25 season. If he continues to pitch like he did in his brief MLB call-up, he’ll work perfectly fine as the team’s 5th starter behind Gallen, Kelly, Rodriguez, and Pfaadt. Cecconi certainly deserves a chance to secure the final SP spot, but he has the least MLB playing time of the players we talked about thus far.