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Ranking the 2019 Arizona Diamondbacks rotation

The results are in...

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks-Media Day Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to the 146 of you who took the time to rank the fourteen candidates for starting pitching currently at Salt River Fields (or, more likely today, currently staring out the window at Salt River Fields, wishing the rain would stop). As mentioned in the original piece, the rotations seems like the area of the team where least seems likely to be decided going into spring training. The bench and the bullpen definitely appear to have some scope for competition, but the five who’ll form the Opening Day rotation appear all but decided. However, history has shown us we may well need to dip into the pitching depth before the end of March, so it’s very much more than the top five spots which matter.

Let’s start with those though. Here are the pitchers, in descending order of average ranks.

The Opening Day rotation

  1. 1.2 - Zack Greinke
  2. 2.2 - Robbie Ray
  3. 3.7 - Zack Godley
  4. 4.8 - Luke Weaver
  5. 5.8 - Merrill Kelly

No surprises about the names found here, or the gap between the 1-2 punch of Greinke and Ray, and the rest of the likely starters. I was a little surprised the gap between Zack and Robbie was not narrower. Greinke will be a year older, and if Ray can put it all together... But I guess actual performance in 2018 trumps potential. The rest of the rotation have question-marks too. Godley had his share of control issues and was consistently inconsistent. Weaver has upside, yet the results definitely regressed between 2017 and 2018. And Kelly has never faced major-league pitching. At 30, will be far and away the oldest starting pitcher to debut for AZ (the current record is Geraldo Guzman, 27 when he first appeared in 2000).

Those in wait

  • 6.3 - Taijuan Walker
  • 7.7 - Jon Duplantier
  • 8.3 - Matt Koch
  • 9.0 - Taylor Clarke
  • 9.5 - Taylor Widener

As previously discussed, the team has averaged using about ten starters a season, with the ones outside the top five typically making about 30 starts per year. So it would be no surprise to see the majority, or even all, of this group at some point. Walker, obviously, will be delayed due to his Tommy John recovery. If we use Patrick Corbin’s rehab as a guide, we should probably expect Walker to return around late July. It’s almost certain the D-backs will need someone - and more likely, someoneS - before that point. The rest of the group are largely the leading prospects in our farm system, and are quite closely grouped, only 1.8 covering slots #7-10. 2019 may well be the year we get our first idea of what we have there.

The depths of the rotation

  • 10.6 - Ryan Atkinson
  • 11.1 - Rickie Nolasco
  • 12.3 - Troy Scribner
  • 12.6 - Joel Payamps

Finally, we have a combination of what might (cruelly) be called the has-beens and the yet-to-bes. Not sure what category Scribner falls into, considering his rookie status is still intact for 2019! Maybe Nolasco will be this year’s version of Clay Buchholz? We’ll see how that works out, but based on the results here, SnakePitters still need to be convinced. Atkinson and Payamps are both more “future endeavors,” whose presence in camp this spring is probably more about letting them learn from their seniors. They’ll probably be a bigger part of this poll in future years. But if any of this group end up starting for the Diamondbacks this season, it probably means something has gone off the road, higher up the list.

Actual pitchers poll

In the previous categories, this has been the place where I ask you to tell me which players will make the Opening Day roster. But when it comes to starting pitching, this seems all but decided, barring health issues, and so would make for a rather boring poll. Therefore, instead we have another ranking poll. With the same 14 names, you are to rank them in order of actual innings pitched for the 2019 D-backs. This may be starts or bullpen work, which could potentially give some of them a leg-up (hello, Mr. Koch). But you’ll also need to factor in health, roster status, etc.

Take the poll

Poll closes Friday night, results will show up on Saturday.