Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part I
posted at 1/11/2014 5:03 PM EST
my position is that even without Dempster, we have better depth than almost every other team in MLB, but most are untested, and I recognize the gamble involved with possibly having to try 3-4 before finding one as good or better than Dempster. A few losses along the way could mean the difference between making the playoffs or not.
Personally, I think we have 2-3 pitchers that are as good as my projected 2014 Dempster might be, maybe 2-3 more that have a fair chance to be better, and another 3-5 with an outside chance to surprise in 2014.
Here's how I see out 7th starter and beyond:
Workman: probably better than Dempster right now.
Britton: maybe a 50-50 chance of being as good or better than Dempster in 2014.
Webster: Possibly better, but hard to tell for 2014.
Wright: Fair chance to be better.
de la Rosa: Fair chance to be better.
Moon, I agree with many of your points. I think Webster is the best of the youngsters if he can learn to keep his wits about him. I know that's a huge obstacle, but from a pure talent point of view, he has amazing swing-and-miss stuff. De La Rosa also has the stuff but there are control and stamina issues with him that might steer him to more of a bullpen role. The one I toally disagree on, and hope that I'm wrong, is Wright. Saw a lot of him in ST last year and was not the least bit impressed, a knuckleballer with control issues even though his knuckler lacks the movement of a great knuckler equals a bating practice pitcher.
Knuckleballers get hot and cold. They can stay hot for a long period (see Harvey & Wake) and then get cold quickly. I'm not counting on Wright, but he does represent a chance for a good stretch or season here or there.
The only one I've seen pitch of your second grouping is Owens and as good as he looked when I saw him, it was against A ball hitters so I would like to see him against better hitters. His velocity will not overpower major leaguers, but it could also improve some. His stuff looks good. I haven't seen any of the guys on the bottom list, but I'm hoping to and looking forward to Feb 25th when I arrive in Florida.
Owens did get over 30 innings with AA Portland and looked good:
3-1 1.78 (46 Ks in 30.1 IP but the 15 BBs is worrisome)
I agree with your main point that I don't see Dempster sticking and that ST is the time when teams realize what they've got and what they need and the final deals get done. I think Dempster starts ST with the Sox and ends up elsewhere. But what do I know?
Once Tanaka and the other decent FA pitchers settle in with their new teams, somebody will be left out in the cold. Injuries may create desperation somewhere too (see Verlander & Holland).
One last point I missed Moon, I think Workman would be the heir apparent to that sixth starter role and has immediate value. But I think for depth reasons and to keep him stretched out, he starts the season in AAA.
If Dempster is on the opening day roster and no other starter is injured, I agree. We'll go with this:
Lester, Buch, Lackey, Peavy, Doubie, & Dempster
Uehara, Mujica, Tazawa, Breslow, Miller, Badenhop
Britton may make it ahead of Workman, if a relief pitcher gets hurt. I agree, we need to keep Workman "stretched out".