All Things Baseball

Rookie Starting Pitchers Having Big Impact On Their Teams

This season, the starting pitching for many teams that were considered contenders has been shaky, due to both injuries and ineffectiveness.  A few of these teams, such as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Philadelphia Phillies, and Toronto Blue Jays, have solved their problems with rookie starting pitchers. 

Jered Weaver, called up two weeks ago by the Anaheim Angels has been nothing short of spectacular.  He has beaten the Orioles, Indians, and Devil Rays, and done it easily.  Skeptics point to the fact that the Angels scored 6 or more runs in each of those starts, but Weaver hasn't allowed more that 2 runs in any of those games.  Jered, the younger brother of Angels starter Jeff Weaver (who by the way has been nothing short of terrible), is now 3-0 and sports a league best (among starters with 3+ starts) 1.86era.  Had Weaver not come along, the Angels starting pitching would be in awful shape.  Bartolo Colon got hurt early and still hasn't pitched since, Jeff Weaver has been erratic and ultra-hittable, Kelvim Escobar and John Lackey have been decent but inconsistent, and that explains the Angels' early season woes.  Perhaps the presence of Weaver will give the Angels the last piece of the puzzle needed to make a run at the AL West lead. 

For the Phillies, one of the MLB's top pitching prospects has been the savior.  Southpaw Cole Hamels was called up just under a month ago to make a start against the then red-hot Cincinnati Reds.  He earned a no-decision in the outing, but Hamels no-hit the Reds through 4.1 innings before surrendering the only hit he allowed on a double by Felipe Lopez.  Couple that with 7 strikeouts, and Hamels had a darn good debut.  Hamels would make one more start against Milwaukee, this one somewhat shaky allowing 4 runs in 6.1 innings, and Hamels would leave that game with a strained shoulder which would land him on the DL and keep him out until June 6.  On June 6, Hamels' return start after a solid rehab outing, he held Arizona to 1 run in 5.2 innings, helping the Phillies defeat the Diamondbacks, and earning his first MLB win.  Without Hamels, the Phillies starting rotation would have just one solid starter in Brett Myers; Jon Lieber and Cory Lidle have been inconsistent if not erratic. 

The third, and most underrated rookie starter to have an impact on his team is Casey Janssen.  Janssen has replaced AJ Burnett in the Blue Jays rotation and has done an admirable job filling in.  He has defeated the White Sox, Angels, Orioles, and Devil Rays, on the way to a 5-3 record with a 3.07era.  The most impressive statistic that Janssen has compiled is his league best (among starting pitchers) 0.92WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched).  Janssen has shown amazing control of all of his pitches, walking just 8 batters in the 55.2 innings he's pitched.  Without Janssen, the Blue Jays might be well more than 2.5 games back, their current standing in the hotly contested AL East.

Honorable mentions in the rookie starting pitcher category go to Francisco Liriano (Minnesota), Josh Johnson (Florida), John Rheinecker (Texas), Ian Snell (Pirates), and (thanks to Ripi$money for reminding me) Justin Verlander (Tigers). 


2 Responses to “Rookie Starting Pitchers Having Big Impact On Their Teams”

  1. How about Justin Verlander of the Tigers? I believe he’s still just a rookie, and right now has a 7-4 record with a 3.35 ERA.

  2. Excellent write-up. I certainly love this site. Keep it up!

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