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April 24, 2014

Skewed Left

The Squandered Promise of the Diamondbacks Rotation

by Zachary Levine


The best rotation in baseball so far this season was an accident. Years of scouting and strong drafting left the Braves with an almost unparalleled trove of young talent as the decade turned to the 2010s, along with a plan to surge through their cost-controlled near-peak years. Aaron Harang (0.85 ERA) wasn't part of the plan four years ago. Ervin Santana (slacking a little bit with a 0.86 ERA) wasn't part of the plan two months ago.

But the best rotation in baseball was the story of a little luck and a fast response to a sudden crumble.

The worst rotation in baseball to date, and the one that could cost some very longtime baseball persons their jobs, started with a plan too. This Arizona plan wasn’t the Braves dreaming on their untouchable four of Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Randall Delgado and Arodys Vizcaino (the last two of whom became touchable). This was real. This was in the major leagues two years ago.

It was a young rotation with spare parts, and overall, it was a pretty good staff. Their ERA doesn’t look great in that ballpark, but the staff put together a 104 ERA+, better than average after adjusting for ballpark. And these were the pieces in place:

Joe Saunders, 31
Ian Kennedy, 27
Josh Collmenter, 26
Daniel Hudson, 25
Wade Miley, 25
Trevor Cahill, 24
Patrick Corbin, 22
Trevor Bauer, 21
Tyler Skaggs, 20

Strip away everything you know now—the 7.15 rotation ERA dragging down a 5.58 staff ERA dragging down a 6-18 ballclub that has gotten so embarrassing that it went undercover as the Kansas City Packers and finally won one on Wednesday.

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Related Content:  Arizona Diamondbacks

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (04/24)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Skewed Left: How Servi... (04/18)
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Premium Article Skewed Left: Staying A... (05/01)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Explaining Spending (04/24)

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