It was just a couple of days ago that ESPN MLB insider Keith Law was gushing about the potential of first round draft pick Trevor Bauer. It is well known throughout baseball that the Arizona Diamondbacks have a very stocked farm system when it comes to young starting pitching.
They traded away Jarrod Parker but still have Bauer, Tyler Skaggs and also Archie Bradley. However, if you look at the major league team's starting rotation, it will be tough for any of these young guys to crack the major leagues without a big showing. Arizona already has its starting rotation all but set. They have Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, recently acquired Trevor Cahill, Josh Collmenter and recently re-signed Joe Saunders.
Arizona is doing a good thing with what they are doing.
As an expected contender in 2012, Arizona wanted to have a solid starting rotation. Acquiring Cahill potentially solidifies the middle of the rotation and the re-siging of Saunders is a great move for the number five starter. Josh Collmenter, who was very good in 2011, is expected to hold down the number four spot.
By doing what they have done by locking in the rotation, they have created a situation in which the young players will not be pressured to be major league ready. If they are, it will because they are and not because of any artificial need. Plus, with a steady rotation in the bigs, it tells the young guys that if that is where they want to be, they have to outplay the guys ahead of them.
It really is brilliant.
For a few years, many have criticized how quickly the Diamondbacks have brought up young players to rely on them. Last season they ended up bringing up Paul Goldshmidt, but it was because he had forced the team's hand. The motley crew of first basemen the team had didn't work out and Goldie was absolutely killing minor league pitching.
Now, anyone who follows baseball knows that you never go an entire season using only your five starters. Players get hurt and so you have the guys in the minors to get a taste. But to create competition is a great thing.
Arizona would be in a great spot if Bauer makes it so they can't keep him in the minors. You can never have enough quality pitching.
But in the meantime, these young phenoms are going to have to work to get where they want to be. They aren't going to be rushed.