The future of the Diamondbacks rotation looks bright

Pitching has been a struggle in the desert for years. That trend may end soon...
Tampa Bay Rays v Arizona Diamondbacks
Tampa Bay Rays v Arizona Diamondbacks / Norm Hall/GettyImages

Arizona is red-hot at the moment.  They are winners of 4 in a row and 8 of their last 10 games.  In their last 6 games, the D-backs have played two playoff-caliber teams (Padres and Rangers) and came out victorious in 5 of those contests.

It’s all smiles as Arizona enjoys an off day today.  A much-deserved break that should get them all rested up for their 4-game home series against the young and exciting Cincinnati Reds.  Two teams that are very similar in the ways they excel and struggle.

Speaking of struggling, the Diamondbacks pitching staff has been below league average in about every category this season.  Currently, their rotation ERA is 18th in the league while their bullpen ERA is 24th.

Despite the dark days for this staff, the future looks bright for the rotation.  Recently, we have witnessed glimpses of what it could become and it has been exciting.

If this team is going to make the playoffs, the rotation will have to step up in a big way.  It seems they have already shouldered that challenge.

The future of the Diamondbacks rotation looks bright

Sometimes it feels like most things in life are unknown.  But two things that are known without a doubt in anyone's mind is that Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly are good at what they do, really good.

These two will lead the rotation for the foreseeable future and I don’t think anyone will complain about that.

Gallen is having an incredible season.  Here is where he ranks among NL starting pitchers: 1st in WHIP, 2nd in innings pitched, 3rd in ERA, 4th in BB/9.  As for Kelly, he ranks 4th in ERA and 6th in batting average against.

The rest of the rotation, however, has been a question mark for most of the season.  We have seen some encouraging glimpses from guys like Ryne Nelson and Tommy Henry.  But if we are being honest, those 2 were never very consistent.

It seems that (lefty) Tommy Henry would emerge as the most likely to lock up a rotation spot next season considering that his ERA was respectable (4.15) before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Other guys in the mix for a spot next year could be Drey Jameson, Blake Walston, Yiber Diaz, and Yu-Min Lin.  These 4 have an abundance of talent and should all develop into big-league candidates for next season.

Now let’s talk about the current rotation outside of Gallen and Kelly.  This is where things get exciting for me.

First off, Brandon Pfaadt.  I don’t think a big-league career could have a worse start than Pfaadt’s.  In his first 6 starts, Brandon went 0-3 with an ERA of 10.00.  10 runs per 9 innings!  Wow!

But boy oh boy has he rebounded from that.  In his last 6 starts (36 IP), Pfaadt owns a 3.50 ERA with a K/9 of 8.5 and a BB/9 of 2.3.  Unbelievably impressive for the 24-year-old.

The next guy up is Slade Cecconi.  Before the season started, Cecconi was a highly regarded prospect for Arizona.

Since he has been in the bigs, he has been reliable.  He has only pitched 15.1 innings, but you can see why the Diamondbacks gave him a chance after the all-star break.

He has a 2.93 ERA in 4 games pitched.  His strikeout numbers don’t jump off the page but his walk numbers stand out.  Most guys that debut in the bigs try to pitch around guys so that they don’t give up loud contact.  But Cecconi is going right at the opposition.

He is only walking 2.35 batters per 9 innings.  Throwing strikes is key for a young guy like Slade, and his ability to do that shows he can stay cool and calm under pressure.

1. Zac Gallen
2. Merrill Kelly
3. Brandon Pfaadt
4. Slade Cecconi
5. Tommy Henry / Drey Jameson

The future looks bright for this rotation, finally…