With nothing else to do, let’s do a little group thinking, shall we?
When the Cardinals lost Lance Lynn for the year due to Tommy John surgery, they eventually picked up Mike Leake to fill that void. However, few of us immediately slotted Leake into Lynn’s spot in the rotation. Lynn was set up as the #2 starter in 2015 (though there are questions about whether he’d have been there again this season if he was healthy) but Leake, at least in my mind, always sat at the end of the rotation.
That’s nothing against the newest Cardinal, not at all. It’s just that this rotation is a talented one, one that put up some historic numbers last year with minimal contribution from the staff ace. Leake might be a mid-rotation guy for a lot of teams, but he didn’t seem to be one on this squad.
Then I saw some Twitter exchanges with Derrick Goold about where Leake fit in the rotation and Goold questioned (obliquely, at least) whether Leake really was a #5 guy. On talent, I think he’d rank well behind any of the four that are already on staff, but talent is not always the only factor taken into account when setting up a rotation.
For instance, maybe you put Leake in the third spot with Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha after him, figuring that the end of the rotation might get a start or two less and that keeps the young guys’ inning count low. Perhaps you mix the styles of the pitchers, so that the hard-throwing Martinez is followed by Leake who is followed by the nasty stuff of Jaime Garcia.
So how would you order the staff 1-5 this season? Well, let’s say 2-5, because I’m going to assume that everyone is going to put Adam Wainwright as the staff ace and the guy pitching on Opening Day. The other four, though, could be set up in a myriad of different ways. I want your opinion–tell me who should be 2, 3, 4, and 5 when the season begins in a couple of months. We’ll talk about the answers (and perhaps look at the bullpen in a similar way) in an upcoming post. Be sure to scroll down and answer all four questions.
(Also, while I have you, don’t forget about the Cardinal Approval Ratings!)