One of the biggest (and really only) questions facing the d-backs coming into spring ball is who will be our #5 starter. The rest of the rotation is clear pending any injuries. Kennedy should be starting on opening day while Hudson and Cahill will probably compete for the #2 spot, Collmenter will likely be #4.
That leaves the 5 spot open. I was expecting Towers to sign Kuroda but that fell through due to Kuroda "taking to long" to agree upon a contract. With the Kubel signing, I imagine that pretty much closes our spending money on free agents this off season. However, Towers has been quoted saying he might sign a bargain price veteran to compete for a spot in the rotation but I can only speculate who that might be. With our internal pitching depth, I don't see it as a priority.
So, on to the pitchers I see as most likely to fill the #5 spot...
Wade Miley LHP- Miley got a late season call to the rotation after Marquis was hurt. He wasn't great, but for a rookie #5 starter he wasn't horrible. Looking at his numbers last year, he pitched 40 innings over 7 starts and posted a 4.50 ERA (88 ERA+). His results were below average, much of what we expected but his periphs were not convincing as he posted a 4.1 BB/9 and a 1.4 HR/9 while only posting a 5.6 K/9. I really don't expect Miley to be apart of the rotation going forward but I think he might be the most likely canadite going into spring training, just to fill the void until more promising prospects are deemed ready whenever that may be.
Barry Enright RHP- Enright was demoted to the minors pretty early in 2011. After posting good result statistics in 2010 (3.91 ERA over 99 innings) some d-backs fans were excited for the red beard going into 2011. However, some d-backs fans were very skeptical of Enrights 2010, including myself. He had a high homeruns allowed rating and a very low K/9 rating, that usually equals disaster but somehow Enright tight roped past all that in 2010. Sure enough his homerun rate blew up and Enright would tumble off the 2010 tight rope in 2011 only pitching 37 innings of 7.41 ERA, 54 ERA+ ball before being demoted. I really don't know where Enright fits into this organization going forward. It kinda sucks because he is one of my favorite twitter personalities lol but winning is always more important. The only reason why I included him in this discussion was if Miley was somehow unable to pitch and the other more promising prospects were to develop in the minors further. The chances are very, very slim for Barry going forward.
Tyler Skaggs LHP- Skaggs is one of our young pitching prospects that excites me. He is only 20 years old but has already dominated at the AA and high A levels. In his 2011 MiLB campaign between High A and AA ball he pitched 158 innings over 27 starts and posted very strong peripherial numbers of 11.3 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, and 0.6 HR/9. His career MiLB numbers have been much of the same. The best part is he is left handed! Their is a lot to be excited about when talking about Tyler Skaggs, however, I think we should start him out in AA Mobile next season and not in our MLB rotation. He is still very young and I want to keep as many arbitration years as we can. The numbers and talent are all there, but I say lets be patient.
Trevor Bauer RHP- By far the most exciting prospect in the D-backs organization. Bauer was drafted last year in the first round, third overall out of UCLA. He was having a breakout year for the Bruins and was posting very high strikeout numbers. The trend continued when he joined the d-backs organization in High A Visalia where he pitched 9 innings and struck out 17 batters. He was then promoted to AA Mobile where he struck out 26 batters over 16 innings. Bauer is already drawing comparisons to Lincecum, they have the same build and both have quarky high torque deliveries while having a equally effective arsenal of pitches. Bauer is the sexy pick amongst d-backs fans for the #5 rotation spot. He has college level experience and has performed well in his albeit small MiLB sample size. Just to note, while Bauer is about the same age as Skaggs I think Bauer, due to his college experience and his higher potential should be considered over Skaggs. To sum it up, he is the front runner for this roster spot.