Tuesday, July 14, 2009

All-Star Break — Pitching

(click on chart for larger image)

For AAA the All-Star break comes at a point well past mid-season. We’re at 90 games, 18 past the 72 games that mark the first half of the season for us. And we only have 27 home games left before the playoffs begin.

Although we looked at these numbers recently, thought they might be worth another look before things start up again.

What jumps out at me in the pitching chart is the lack of depth. Of the five, only three have seen very many starts as Bulls (Davis 18, Hernandez 17, and Cromer 9). Of course, Sonnanstine had a bunch of starts with the Rays and if his mononucleosis is under control he will be a huge asset the rest of the season. I have no idea of Mitch Talbot’s status. He had 10 starts before he went on the disabled list and were he to come back, we could certainly expect a lot from him. So, that leaves only Matt DeSalvo as a weak starting pitcher.

Childers, DePaula, Bateman, and Thayer are obviously the core of our relievers and they are all doing credible jobs. It’s hard to tell how James Houser might work out as a reliever, but not bad so far. Similarly, Medlock’s status is uncertain. There’s something going on with him that appears to have nothing to do with Bulls as a team, but with roster juggling. Certainly his numbers are just fine and we’d be better off with him available in the bullpen all the time. We’ve only seen 3 innings from Meloan, so he’s impossible to judge. Julio is unimpressive.

So what do we have to worry about? Well, that’s pretty simple, the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays 40-man roster has five of our pitchers on it: Talbot, Davis, Sonnanstine, Houser, and Thayer. The Rays also have three pitchers on their disabled list, all relievers, but only one that appears to be coming off any time soon (Brian Shouse). For the Bulls that should mean that, except for Dale Thayer, our current crop of relievers should be safe from call up. Among our starters, my guess is that it would be a coin toss between Sonnanstine and Davis.

Are any of our pitchers trade bait? Hard to tell. The Rays’ problem at the moment appears to be the bullpen. Would they trade a promising starter for a proven reliever? Maybe, but this is the team that has already traded two proven pitchers off this year (Jackson and Hammel), so while it could surely happen, doesn’t seem likely. If they needed a position player, then maybe. But other than the catcher position, the Rays don’t seem to have any glaring weaknesses among their position players (and they’ve always got Joe Dillon). So, could they do something? Yes. Will they? What do you think?

I don’t have a good sense of who’s pitching in Montgomery this year, especially among the starters. So no idea who the Rays might want to have some AAA time. But that could add some interesting variables to the mix.

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