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NL rotation rankings (cont.)

Posted: Thursday December 20, 2007 12:08PM; Updated: Thursday December 20, 2007 3:19PM
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New York Mets (11 points)

• Above-average (3): John Maine
• Mystery (5): Oliver Perez, Orlando Hernandez, Aaron Heilman, Pedro Martinez*
• Up-and-coming (3): Mike Pelfrey, Phillip Humber, Kevin Mulvey
• Below-average (0): Jorge Sosa
* extra point given to Martinez for his super above-average potential

Comment: The potential of the Mets' rotation is exceeded only by its mystery, with the performance of pitchers who were injured and/or inconsistent in '07 too difficult to call.

Chicago Cubs (10 points)

• Above-average (9): Ted Lilly, Carlos Zambrano, Rich Hill
• Up-and-coming (1): Sean Marshall
• Below-average (0): Jason Marquis, Sean Gallagher, Kevin Hart

Comment: Lilly could get one less point and Zambrano one more, but it all evens out for now. In any case, the front three would give a team like the Dodgers a healthy battle, but the Cubs' depth consists of low-ceiling major-leaguers and prospects.

Philadelphia Phillies (10 points)

• Above-average (9): Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, Brett Myers
• Mystery (1): Ryan Madson
• Below-average (0): Adam Eaton, J.D. Durbin, Francisco Rosario, Zach Segovia, J.A. Happ, Jamie Moyer

Comment: Hamels might only need an injury-free season to challenge for Cy Young award honors. But Kendrick and Myers have their flaws, and there isn't much else to shout about.

Cincinnati Reds (9 points)

• Above-average (6): Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo
• Up-and-coming (3): Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Matthew Maloney
• Below-average (0): Matt Belisle, Bobby Livingston, Tom Shearn

Comment: Harang and Arroyo have done right by the Reds, but Bailey and Cueto can't arrive fast enough. It will be interesting to see how new manager Dusty Baker handles them.

Houston Astros (7 points)

• Super above-average (4): Roy Oswalt
• Mystery (1): Brandon Backe
• Up-and-coming (2): Juan Gutierrez, Felipe Paulino
• Below-average (0): Wandy Rodriguez, Woody Williams, Chris Sampson

Comment: Oswalt is something like the Lone Gunman on a staff that will be struggling almost every other game, at least if this is the group to choose from at the start of the season.

Pittsburgh Pirates (6 points)

• Above-average (3): Tom Gorzelanny
• Average to above-average (2): Ian Snell
• Up-and-coming (1): Ty Taubenheim
• Below-average (0): Paul Maholm, Matt Morris, Zach Duke, John Van Benschoten, Yoslan Herrera, Bryan Bullington, Phil Dumatrait

Comment: At this point, it might be worth the trouble to distinguish the below-average talent from the really below average talent. All I can say is, the Pirates and the teams below them are the furthest from fielding a competitive rotation.

St. Louis Cardinals (6 points)

• Above-average (3): Adam Wainwright
• Mystery (1): Chris Carpenter
• Up-and-coming (2): Jamie Garcia, Anthony Reyes
• Below-average (0): Joel Pineiro, Brad Thompson, Braden Looper, Mike Maroth, Mark Mulder, Mitch Boggs

Comment: Thin.

Florida Marlins (5 points)

• Mystery (2): Anibal Sanchez, Josh Johnson
• Up-and-coming (3): Rick VandenHurk, Andrew Miller, Daniel Barone
• Below-average (0): Scott Olsen, Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Seddon

Comment: Thinner.

Washington Nationals (3 points)

• Mystery (3): John Patterson, Shawn Hill, Tim Redding
• Below-average (0): Jason Bergmann, Matt Chico, Tyler Clippard, John Lannan, Joel Hanrahan, Mike Bacsik, Collin Balester

Comment: Thinnest.

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