Arizona D-backs 2012 roster, part one: starting rotation

Starting pitcher Ian Kennedy will anchor the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation again in 2012. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

For the Arizona Diamondbacks, there were many questionable pieces to the puzzle at the beginning of the 2011 season. One of the biggest question marks was the starting rotation. The D-backs once touted a formidable starting three made up of Brandon Webb, Dan Haren and Max Scherzer, but those days are long gone and a new wave of talent has soared to the top of the rotation. Most of the pieces for the 2012 D-backs starting five are made up of players acquired in trades and only a couple home grown players.

SP Ian Kennedy (age 26)
2012: $423M (league minimum)
2013: arbitration eligible
Acquired from the Yankees

2011 stats: 21-4 record (good for most wins in the NL) over 222 innings. He struck out 198 batters and averaged 8 SO/9 IP. Kennedy’s 2.88 ERA was good for seventh in NL. His stuff is not overpowering, but he has pinpoint precision and knows how to work a lineup. He will be next year’s opening-day starter barring any injuries.

SP Daniel Hudson (24)
2012: $423M
2013: league minimum
Acquired from the White Sox

2011 stats: 16-12 record with a 3.49 ERA over 33 starts. Oddly enough, he also pitched 222 innings but only averaged 6.9 SO/9 IP.Hudson has the stuff to be an even better pitcher than those numbers suggest. His fastball hovers between 93-96 mph with a lot of movement; he just needs better control. Look for his strikeout rate per nine innings to increase next year.

This is where the rotation gets tricky. The number three spot was primarily taken by Joe Saunders this year, but I believe they will non-tender him by Dec. 12. So, who does that leave to round out the rotation? Glad you asked.

SP Jason Marquis (33)
2012: free agent
Acquired from the Nationals

2011 stats: He only pitched 11 innings with the Diamondbacks last year and had an ERA north of 9.00.Arizona acquired him specifically because of his brilliant record against the San Francisco Giants. He made $7.5 million last year before being sidelined with a fractured leg. If the D-backs can re-sign him for under $6 million, he will eat up innings and provide a bit of stability to the rotation.

SP Josh Collmenter (25)
2012: $423M
Acquired via first-year player draft

2011 stats: 3.38 ERA over 154.1 innings pitched. He only struck out 100 batters, but he gets lots of groundballs. Collmenter has one of the nastiest change-ups in the league, and he will need it to keep this spot in the rotation.

SP Trevor Bauer (20)
2012: $423M
Acquired via first-year player draft

2011 stats: Struck out 43 batters in 25.2 innings pitched. He needs to cut down his walks, but Bauer should definitely be in this rotation next year. Many people liken him to Tim Lincecum in his delivery and his odd training regimen. The Diamondbacks would love to have a Lincecum clone.

Others to be considered for 2012: Tyler Skaggs played 10 games with double-A Mobile and posted a 2.50 ERA while averaging 11.4 SO/9 IP. Jarrod Parker is fresh off Tommy John surgery and put up solid numbers at double-A this year. He made his MLB debut in September and held the Dodgers to four hits and zero runs over 5.2 innings. The Diamondbacks could also pursue one of the many middle or back-end starters on the market this offseason. Some names that might make sense are Erik Bedard, Hiroki Kuroda, and Jon Garland.

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