Is there anything more valuable than talented young starting pitching in baseball? If there is then every general manager needs to reassess their life. A talented and young starting rotation is not a guaranteed formula for winning however it certainly is a comfort. These are the three teams in baseball currently with youngsters holding down spots as starters making the future brighter for the organization.
Overall the Miami Marlins are a very young team. This is usually how it goes when the owner is reluctant to spend money. Thankfully these baby-faced arms have performed well in their brief careers and may be headed toward dominating the National League East for the next decade.
At the top of their rotation is future Cy Young winner Jose Fernandez. Although out for rest of the 2014 season due to an injury, the sample-size for Fernandez is large enough to know that he is for real. His .667 winning percentage in both 2013 and 2014 on a pretty bad team shows just how dominant he is. Averaging more than a strikeout per inning, he could be well on his way to becoming one of the greatest of all-time.
The Marlins’ rotation goes beyond Fernandez though. Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez are only one step behind Fernandez. Both of these men lack the ability to dominate, but have enough talent to win games over anyone. Alvarez in particular has tossed 3 shutouts in 2014 in his first 13 starts. For a guy seemingly arriving out of nowhere he has people all over taking notice.
Known best for finding gems in the starting lineup willing to play for little money, the Oakland Athletics should actually be known for growing starting pitchers through the organization. They have a keen eye for pitchers and the current crop is worth a mention.
The team’s ace has become Sonny Gray. Gray was the team’s first pick in 2011 so it comes as no surprise he has pitched well. His stuff isn’t overpowering and surely he will never be deemed a pitcher on the level of a Randy Johnson. Instead Gray wins games by using the Oakland Coliseum and other ballparks to his benefit. He’s not afraid to give up a base runner or two because Gray has something all young pitchers need: confidence.
Joining Gray in the rotation are Dan Straily and Drew Pomeranz. Both at 25-years-old, they have showed they deserve to not only be on a major league roster, they can be depended on to give their team a quality start. Neither has yet to pitch as much as Gray has, although with the current state of the rotation and an injury for Scott Kazmir looming at any moment they will have every opportunity to take the mound in the first inning to prove they deserve it.
Thank goodness the Houston Astros moved to the American League West because now the Seattle Mariners don’t need to worry about finishing in last place. An even more important reason a last place finish is unlikely in 2014 is their young pitching staff that could end up being one of the best within the next two years.
Beginning with Felix Hernandez who is surprisingly still only 28-years-old, the Mariners have developed into a team with good pitching to supplement their sometimes impotent offense. We know all about Hernandez and his dominant ways. The new guys like Roenis Elias, James Paxton, and Taijuan Walker are the next in line to join the rotation as elite stars.
Walker and Paxton were drafted together in 2010; Walker in the first round’s supplemental draft and Paxton in the fourth. Both have spent a very limited time in the major leagues due to injuries however when healthy they have done a fantastic job. Meanwhile Elias looks to be a pitcher who can go deep into games and rack up some strikeouts. His clear weakness so far has been the long ball and giving up walks although he hasn’t done this ad nauseam. A little more experience and he should adjust to major league hitters.
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