Monday, March 29, 2010

ESPN's Neyer Predicts Haeger Will Snag Fifth Starter Spot

Good news, Charlie Haegar: ESPN.com's Rob Neyer thinks you've got a leg up on anyone else named Ortiz, among others, for the fifth slot:

My guess is that [Carlos] Monasterios winds up in the bullpen, because 1) he's got exactly seven and one-third innings of professional experience above Class A, but 2) he's a Rule 5 guy, so the Dodgers can't send him to the minors without offering him back to the Phillies.

So that leaves Russ and Ramon [Ortizes], the latter of whom has struck out 19 hitters and walked only four in 14 innings. Of course, he's the same guy who got hammered in Japan in 2008 and pitched in the Pacific Coast League last season, and pitched well but never got the call from the Giants. Same guy whose ERA was 5.47 over his last three seasons in the majors (2005-2007).

I'd take my chances with Haeger, but then I'm not exactly objective on this subject.

Who's the last non-Wakefield knuckleballer to break camp with a spot in the starting rotation? Probably Steve Sparks, who started the Diamondbacks' fifth game in 2004 (and came out of the bullpen for two innings just four days later). Sparks held that No. 5 slot until late July, when he lost it to rookie Lance Cormier (who lost it, two weeks later, to Steve Randolph).

Here's what I like about Charlie Haeger: as knuckleballers go, he's still a baby. Sparks was nearly 30 when he reached the majors. Dennis Springer was 30. Jared Fernandez was 29. Haeger reached the majors at 22. Granted, that was four years ago and he's still looking to earn his first extended shot. Considering his relative youth and his Triple-A numbers, I like his chances. But managers of contending teams don't typically have a great deal of patience, and Haeger might not pitch 200 innings in a season until he finds a lousy team.

The fact that we're picking over Charlie Haegar and a couple of Ortizes for the fifth slot is pathetic, especially when we've got reports that the Red Sox have their top five starters locked and Dice-K isn't even one of them. But here we are, having made no big play for a starter this off-season and having watched Randy Wolf walk away, and we're picking over these guys for 15-20% of our games. Yay.

4 comments:

KempKershaw said...

It's the 5th spot for god's sake, Haeger will be fine. McDonald would have been fine as well.

Dusty Baker said...

KempKershaw and I agree.

Josh S. said...

"KempKershaw and I agree."

Dogs and cats! Living together! Mass hysteria!

(Just kidding, guys.)

Table said...

Name the Dodger's 2009 5th starter, I dare ya!