18 March 2011
With two weeks left in Spring Training, the Diamondbacks' bullpen is starting to sort itself out. Four spots seem to be set, according to Steve Gilbert's column on mlb.com - J.J. Putz, David Hernandez, Sam Demel, and Juan Gutierrez. A fifth spot will go to a lefthander, with Rule 5 pick Joe Paterson currently in the lead for that role. That leaves two more spots, and a large group of contenders - Carlos Rosa, Esmerling Vasquez, Kam Mickolio, Mike Hampton, Rafael Rodriguez, Brian Sweeney, Jordan Norberto, and Micah Owings, plus the other pitcher from the 5th starter battle, Armando Galarraga or Aaron Heilman. From that first group, the pitcher who has been the most consistent this spring has been Carlos Rosa.
In 6.2 IP in Spring Training, Rosa has only allowed 2 ER, while striking out 7 and walking only 2, leading to a 2.70 ERA. He is still throwing his fastball in the mid 90s, and so far has not had the control issues that have plagued him in the past. In 2010 with the Diamondbacks, Rosa walked 12 batters in 20 IP, and threw a first-pitch strike to only 47.2% of the batters he faced, one of the lowest rates on the team. That lack of command quickly led to a trip back to the minors for Rosa. Looking at this minor league record, Rosa is one of the few Diamondbacks' relief options with good minor league strikeout rates (along with Mickolio and Vasquez). Overall, in the minor leagues, Rosa has averaged a strong 9.1K/9 with a so-so 3.3BB/9, and has been decent at preventing the home run ball at 0.6 HR/9. Rosa is out of options this year, so the team cannot send him back to AAA without sending him through waivers. Right now, he has definitely become a contender for the 7th spot in the bullpen.