The Fifth Starter: Who's Your Horse?

Barring any serious injury, it looks like the Reds have starters 1-4 locked down, and it's a pretty good set of pitchers, probably the best the Reds have had in 15+ years.  There are even several decent candidates for the remaining spot in the rotation come Opening Day.  According to John Fay, these are the guys in the running:

(Micah) Owings, Ramon Ramirez. Guys we’re going to stretch out of see – (Homer) Bailey, (Daryl) Thompson, Masset. We’ll try to get extended looks for (Sam) Lecure, (Matt) Maloney, (Ben) Jukich, (Pedro) Viola, (James) Avery and (Jordan) Smith.

That's quite a long list, and to keep it realistic, let's just focus on pitchers who have had significant time (at least one whole season) in Triple-A or above.  So, who do you think will make it?

Player

Info

Owings_medium

Micah Owings - RHP - #33

Scouting Report
(via The Baseball Cube)
Control - 81
K-rating - 76
Efficiency - 92

 

Owings was very successful in his brief minor league stint after pitching for Georgia Tech and Tulsa during his college career.  More importantly, he has had some extended success in the Majors, going 8-8 with a 4.30 ERA as a 24-year old in 2007.  He is coming off of an injury that makes him a bit of a question mark, but if he's healthy, I would guess that he'll get the spot.  It doesn't hurt that he has a career batting line in the Majors of .319/.355/.552 in 126 plate appearances.  He may be the 6th or 7th best hitter on the Reds in 2009.


G GS IP W L ERA SO BB HR WHIP
MLB 51 45 257.1 14 17 4.97 193 91 34 1.33
MiLB 46 30 200.0 17 3 3.19 176 62 11 1.27
Ramirez_medium


Ramon Ramirez - RHP - #58

Scouting Report
Control - 50
K-rating - 84
Efficiency - 81

Ramirez looked very good in his four starts to end the year with the Reds in 2008.  Even more impressive is the fact that two of those starts came against the Milwaukee Brewers, who not only were in the hunt for a playoff spot, but also put a pretty good offense on the field.  Ramirez shut them down for six innings in consecutive starts, only allowing 3 runs to them over 12 innings pitched.

If there is a down side to Ramirez, it's that he's never been much of a prospect.  He's 26 and still only has 27 Major League innings under his belt.  His minor league totals still look good, and there's a chance that he's found a comfortable level to pitch at that may work for him for a couple of years in the Majors.  I'd say he has a decent shot at taking the 5th spot.


G GS IP W L ERA SO BB HR WHIP
MLB 5 4 27.0 1 1 2.67 21 11 3 1.04
MiLB 128 80 517.2 25 24 3.88 485 207 41 1.29
Bailey_medium

Homer Bailey - RHP - #34

Scouting Report
Control - 29
K-rating - 90
Efficiency - 58


You all know Bailey's story all too well at this point.  He's been highly touted since the day he was drafted back in 2004 and though he's had some ups and downs, he's never left the Reds radar as a potential future big league star.  That star is starting to fade though, and even though Bailey is only 22 still, he is getting to the point of having to prove his worth.  He hasn't had any success in the Majors, and while his initial stint in Triple-A was pretty good in 2007, he hasn't done much right since then.  There is some speculation as to whether the Reds have tried to alter Bailey's motion and that has caused havoc with his ability to pitch well.  If that's the case, here's hoping Bailey gets things back under control and we see some glimpses of that promise that we've all been looking forward to.  I give him a slim chance right now.  Unless he pitches lights out, I think he'll go back to Louisville to prove that he's got it together.


G GS IP W L ERA SO BB HR WHIP
MLB 17 17 81.2 4 8 6.72 46 45 11 1.80
MiLB 87 80 429.0 28 21 3.78 443 195 28 1.32
Thompson_medium

Daryl Thompson - RHP - #54

Scouting Report 
Control - 86
K-rating - 66
Efficiency - 96


Thompson has a shot at being a pretty good MLB pitcher some day.  I'd say he could easily be a #3 sometime in the future.  I just don't think he's ready quite yet.  He's only made 20 starts above A-ball in his career, and his 3 big starts showed that he's a little bit too hittable at this point in his career.  Throw in the fact that he has quite a few injuries in his history and I think we can say that, barring a Johnny Cueto-like Spring, Thompson won't likely be starting the season in the bigs.  That's okay though as he's still only 23 years old.  And he has been very successful in the minors.  Give him a year to refine his stuff in Louisville, and who knows, he may be forcing Arroyo or Harang out of town in 2010.


G GS IP W L ERA SO BB HR WHIP
MLB 3 3 14.1 0 2 6.91 6 7 3 1.88
MiLB 80 75 380.0 25 15 2.96 310 107 33 1.17
Masset_medium

Nick Masset - RHP - #40

Scouting Report
Control - 61
K-rating - 42
Efficiency - 33


I was surprised to see Masset on the list of potential 5th starters mainly because I thought he was predominately a reliever.  While that's been true as a Major Leaguer, Masset does have 112 career starts in the minors.  I'm not sure I see him as having that much of a shot at the rotation, and I suspect that the ultimate outcome will be that he'll be the longman out of the bullpen.  He's got a pretty good shot at making the team since he's out of options, but if he completely flops in Spring, don't be surprised if the Reds dump him in lieu of someone else.


G GS IP W L ERA SO BB HR WHIP
MLB 77 2 110.0 4 3 5.07 68 54 9 1.69
MiLB 166 112 670 31 49 4.57 474 234 55 1.46
Maloney_medium

Matt Maloney - LHP - #66

Scouting Report
Control - 79
K-rating - 94
Efficiency - 95


Maloney is the biggest wild card in this whole situation, if you ask me.  This is because he's the only left-handed pitcher with a real shot at the starting rotation, and if he can manage to pitch well during the Spring, he might get bonus points because of that.  He's the only pitcher in this group that hasn't pitched in the Majors yet, but it's not for a lack of performance in the Minors.  Last year in Louisville, he posted a mediocre 4.68 ERA, but that was with a .322 BABIP, so he allowed more hits than he typically has in the Minors.  His strikeout and walk rates have always been strong (last season 8.5 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9), though his home run rate is a little high (1.2 HR/9 last season).  He pretty much laid an egg in Spring Training last season, but like I said, if he can manage to put up a couple of good starts in Sarasota this year, I would not be at all surprised if he ends up in the rotation in April.


G GS IP W L ERA SO BB HR WHIP
MiLB 89 88 522.1 43 25 3.40 534 181 44 1.20
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Red Reporter

You must be a member of Red Reporter to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Red Reporter. You should read them.

Join Red Reporter

You must be a member of Red Reporter to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Red Reporter. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker