Depth Chart, circa Spring 2011: Pitchers

Here's volume one of my attempt to take a non family metaphor-based snapshot of the roster going into Spring Training 2011. I've based this primarily on the line of succession in place, which we should expect will be shuffled to suit the team's "win now" approach in 2011. Some depth charts do not reflect the fact that organizations in contention will sometimes bring up players like Chris Heisey to play a part-time or back-up role, even if it's not the best "developmental" move. Talk of Leake or Bailey following Chapman to the 'pen is just one early example of a more aggressive chart. I've also considered  player projections, which reflect possible shifts in the pecking order during the first 1/3 of the season or so, as players like Travis Wood look to solidify a half-season of MLB success.

Depth charts can also overlook the fact that while a veteran catcher like Corky Miller is the next call-up for the first part of the year if Hanigan or Hernandez go down, he probably would not be outright starter if they were both incapacitated. Similarly, the guy who spells Rolen may not be the same one who would play full-time if Rolen went on the DL for an extended period. So I'll be including a back-up/starter column for position players, to indicate how I think they would be used if the position was truly "open" (i.e. they come to the head of the line as a result of injury, trade etc.) If there's a "starter" behind, you might be leap-frogged as a "back-up," even if you're likely to be called up sooner. Some of this will be dictated by whether or not the player is on the 40-man roster.

The below only applies to player talent and usage entering 2011, without any regard for longer-term prospect ceilings or veteran player decline. If nothing else, this exercise is a good reminder of the team's starting pitching depth. Zips projects a full five above-league average starters (Wood, Volquez, Cueto, Arroyo, Leake) - 6 if you count Chapman, who's projected at 14 starts - with three slightly below the line in Thompson, Bailey, Maloney (side note: I  think Thompson is a sleeper to spot start or come out of the bullpen sometime before the ASB).

While Zips - or any projection system - might be a crude tool, especially with regard to pitchers, I think this is a fair assessment of depth.

Starting pitchers:

"RP?" column indicates whether a starting pitcher could potentially be used in relief at the major league level during the normal course of the season.

* indicates LHP

Rank
Name
Age (2011)
 40 man?
Zips Projected ERA+
RP?
1
Johnny Cueto
25
Y 104
N
2
Bronson Arroyo
34
Y
100
N
3
Edinson Volquez 27
Y
115
Y
4
Travis Wood*
24
Y
115
Y
5
Homer Bailey
25
Y
94
Y
6
Mike Leake
23
Y
97
Y
7
Matt Maloney*
27
Y
94
Y
8
Daryl Thompson
25
Y
96
Y
9
Aroldis Chapman*
23
Y
105
Y
10
Sam LeCure
27
Y
84
Y
11
Chad Reineke
29
N
69
Y
12
Matt Klinker
26
N
74
N

 

Relief pitchers:

"SP?" column is somewhat redundant

Rank
Name
Age (2011)
 40 man?
Zips Projected ERA+
SP?
1
Aroldis Chapman*
23
Y 105 (SP)
Y
2
Francisco Cordero
36
Y
111
N
3
Nick Masset
29
Y
118
N
4
Bill Bray*
28
Y
128
N
5
Jose Arredondo
26
Y
100
N
6
Logan Ondrusek
26
Y
102
N
7
Jared Burton
30
Y
99
N
8
Dontrelle Willis*
29
N
ERROR!
Y
9
Mike Leake
23
Y
97 (SP)
Y
10
Homer Bailey
25
Y
94 (SP)
Y
11
Daryl Thompson
25
Y
96 (SP)
Y
12
Jordan Smith
25
Y
88
N
13
Carlos Fisher
28
Y
104
N
14
Danny Herrera*
26
Y
108 (?!)
N
15
Phillipe Valiquette*
24
Y
84
N
X
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