MLB: AZ Diamondbacks Six Man Rotation
On September 1st MLB rosters can be expanded to 40. Any player that is currently on the 40 man roster can play for a big league club. Teams that are out of the race, like the AZ Diamondbacks, are looking to experiment and evaluate for position depth and give as many young players as possible the chance to get some big-league experience. For this final month of the season look for the Diamondbacks to focus on their starting rotation to see what they might have for next year.
Manager Kirk Gibson has mentioned that he wants to go with a six-man starting rotation when the rosters are expanded for the final month. It will be interesting to see who ends up as the number six starter. Bo Schultz, Andrew Chafin, Zeke Spruill and Mike Bolsinger are all possibilities and all have pitched for the Diamondbacks this season. Randall Delgado might be a pitcher to consider as a starter, but he seems to have found his place in the bullpen as a long reliever. Another guy who might get a look is Aaron Blair. He has dominated the Southern League for the Mobile BayBears. He has allowed a total of three earned runs in 23 innings of work in August and batters are hitting under .200 off of him in his last three starts. Blair is a former college player and is further along than most other pitchers in the organization. With the success he has had in 2014, he could be someone that the Diamondbacks call up and give a few starts. Blair would have to be added as a member of the 40 man roster.
Chase Anderson has already tossed the most innings in his career and Josh Collmenter is getting close to the most innings he has pitched, so a six-man rotation will help out by giving them an extra day of rest.
As a note, just because a team goes to a six-man rotation does not mean they have to give every pitcher in the rotation an extra days rest every time. Wade Miley would like to have back/back 200+ innings pitched seasons, and an extra day off would hurt those chances.
While there are good reasons for going to the six-man rotation, there is also a reason to pass on making such a move. Pitchers, in general, tend to be creatures of habit, giving a guy one extra day off every once in a while is one thing, but doing it for a month or more could result in some poor pitching performances and possibly hurt their self-reliance for next season.
The final issue to consider with the possibility of a six-man rotation is that both AAA Reno and AA Mobile are in contention for playoff spots. If both teams make the playoffs it could affect who the Diamondbacks consider for a call up.
One pitcher you will probably not see before the end of this season is Archie Bradley. The Arizona Fall League rosters were announced Tuesday and the biggest name among the Diamondbacks Fall League roster was Bradley. It is unusual for teams to send their best pitching prospect to the Fall League rather than calling them up in September, but after an elbow injury that sidelined him for nearly two months and control issues, the Arizona Fall League might be the best place to try to develop some consistency from start to start.
So, while the Diamondbacks are out of any playoff contention, you should still follow them to see some of the young guys who will be likely be invited to Spring Training 2015.
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