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Looking at potential options to replace Shelby Miller in the starting rotation

With Shelby Miller likely headed for the diasbled list, what options do the Diamondbacks have to replace him in the mean time?

Shelby Miller left the game in the 5th inning to an injury. During his start his fastball velo was 92-94, lower than the 94-98 we've seen this year. In the 5th, Miller also experienced a sudden loss of command when he walked Brandon McCarthy and Joc Pederson on 10 pitches. After serving up a double to Corey Seager, Miller badly missed with the first pitch to Justin Turner, prompting the trainer to come out. After the game, Miller was diagnosed with "forearm tightness", a precursor to a torn UCL and Tommy John surgery.

It's really a shame because Miller looked like he had turned things around as he allowed only 7 runs in his first 22 innings of the season with a 20/10 K/BB. His fastball velo had jumped from 91-96 to 93-98, and it looked like Miller would wind up being the pitcher the previous regime rhought they were getting. However, it looks like that won't be happening this year as his season could be over just 4 starts in. The team does have a handful of options for an interim and long term fix.

Archie Bradley: Bradley is the most polished pitcher of the choices available and nearly won a rotation spot in Spring. He's been dominant out of the bullpen in 4 appearances and has been working on a similar schedule to starting pitchers. However, I don't think Bradley will be the choice otherwise they would have lengthened him out yesterday instead of having Delgado pitch 3 innings. The issue with pitching Bradley in a start is he may be able to go 75 pitches at most and that’s probably 4 innings. That means the bullpen would have to piece 5 innings without their best long man. Bradley makes the least sense for an April 28th start. After then, if he can get stretched out on the 28th he is the best option.

Anthony Banda: Banda pitched yesterday as well and had his best start of the year with an 11 K outing against El Paso. He's done OK in Reno over 17 starts and is on the 40 man roster. At the same time, it's never a good idea to rush a prospect to the majors before he's ready as that can be a confidence killer. His overall numbers look terrible, but has pitched better in his last two starts.

Braden Shipley: Shipley has the most experience in the rotation from the non-Bradley options, but mightily struggled in his debut season and this Spring. Shipley would be fine for a spot start, but is less reliable as a long term option. His last three starts have been acceptable, allowing no more than 3 runs in those outings and going 5 or more innings. Shipley needs near-perfect command to survive in the majors with an average fastball and inconsistent command of his offspeed pitches. He last pitched on Saturday night, which means he would take the start on Friday with an extra day of rest.

Zack Godley: Godley does have MLB experience as a starter and reliever, so that’s going for him. He’s an option not just in the rotation, but also the bullpen if Archie Bradley gets promoted from the bullpen to the rotation. While I’d prefer not messing with the bullpen if they don’t have to, Godley is probably the most likely call-up. His day to pitch will be today, so he could start and push everyone else a day back, with Robbie Ray taking the start on Friday.

Of this group, I think we’ll most likely see Shipley take a spot start on Friday. I expect him to get shelled in the game and Bradley having to pitch in long relief, getting stretched out enough to make the start on May 3rd. Bradley is the worst short-term solution (i.e. next start), but the best long-term solution to the void left by Miller’s injury. It will be interesting to see how they handle this. They can go with an 8-man bullpen until Friday and add a 2nd long reliever until it’s time to decide who starts that game.


Who replaces Shelby Miller in the rotation?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Archie Bradley
    (112 votes)
  • 5%
    Anthony Banda
    (13 votes)
  • 10%
    Braden Shipley
    (24 votes)
  • 28%
    Zack Godley
    (65 votes)
  • 6%
    None of the above
    (16 votes)
230 votes total Vote Now