18 May 2011
It was not a big surprise that Armando Galarraga was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. His ERA had risen to 5.91, he had allowed 13 HR in 42.2 IP (2.74 per 9 IP), and he had walked 22 while striking out only 28. But who are the choices to replace him when the team needs a 5th starter on Saturday? The candidates are Barry Enright, Zach Duke, Aaron Heilman, the AAA Reno starters (Micah Owings, Zach Kroenke, Matt Torra, Kevin Mulvey) and the AA Mobile starters (Wes Roemer, Jarrod Parker, Patrick Corbin, Wade Miley, Charles Brewer). With Galarraga designated for assignment, there will be an opening on the 40-Man roster to call up a player that is not currently there, plus the team could always put Geoff Blum on the 60-Day DL to free up another spot. So the 40-Man roster spot should not be a critical factor in the decision. Let's look over the candidates quickly:
Barry Enright - He struggled in the Majors, and has allowed a total of 8 ER in two starts in AAA. He started for Reno on Tuesday night, so his next scheduled start would be on Sunday. It probably won't be Enright on Saturday for Arizona.
Zach Duke - Duke has still not made a minor league rehab start yet, so it's unlikely he will be ready by Saturday.
Aaron Heilman - Heilman has just returned from the DL, and has a 6.94 ERA for the year. He lost the battle for the #5 starter spot in Spring Training to Galarraga, although neither one really pitched very well. His last five outings have been of 1 IP each, including an inning on Tuesday night, so it seems unlikely he's stretched out enough to start right now. Possible, but not likely.
Micah Owings - Owings has struggled as a starter in the Majors (career 5.11 ERA), and has a 4.85 ERA for Reno this year. The positive for Owings is that he has only walked 9 batters in 39 AAA Innings, while striking out 27. Owings allowed 6 ER in 5 IP in his start last Sunday, but he would be able to start on Saturday. There is not much upside to Owings, but he could get the call. Possible.
Zack Kroenke - 6.21 ERA in AAA, with 12BB and 17K in 37.2 IP. Very unlikely.
Matt Torra - 5.08 ERA in AAA, with 10 BB and only 13K in 39 IP. Very unlikely.
Kevin Mulvey - 8.65 ERA in AAA, with 21 BB and 29K in 42.2 IP. Very unlikely.
Wes Roemer - 2.39 ERA in AA, 7 BB and 43K in 52.2 IP. Roemer has been pitching extremely well, allowing only 2 H, 1BB, and 1 ER over 7.2 IP in his last start on Monday. His next turn would be on Saturday, so he would be an excellent choice to replace Galarraga. Roemer is back in AA after struggling in AAA last year, but at age 24, he has enough experience to pitch in the Majors.
Jarrod Parker - 6.00 ERA in AA, with 20BB and 27K in 33 IP. Parker has been pitching better of late, allowing only 8 ER in his last five starts. But the command is still not quite where it needs to be, and Parker has pitched more than 5 IP only once this year, so there is no point in rushing him at this point. Unlikely.
Wade Miley - 9.39 ERA in AA, with 7 BB and 14K in 23 IP. Miley has just returned from an injury, and isn't ready to help in the Majors right now.
Patrick Corbin - 4.95 ERA in AA, 10BB and 33K in 40 IP. Corbin has been pitching well, but at the age of 21, he's not ready for the Majors after just seven starts in AAA. Unlikely
Charles Brewer - 4.96 ERA in AA, 4 BB and 13K in 16.1 IP. Brewer is also pitching well for Mobile, but has only made 4 AA starts. He's not ready yet.
I think Wes Roemer would be the best choice for Saturday's start. He's pitched very well in AA, and his next scheduled start is set for Saturday. It's true that he was hit hard in AAA in 2010. This year, however, he has been the organization's best pitcher in AA, and his K/BB ratio of 6.1 is excellent. Enright and Owings would be the next two logical choices, but neither has pitched particularly well this year, and Enright would only be on three days rest. The other AAA starters, Kroenke, Mulvey, and Torra, have pitched poorly. In Mobile, Corbin and Brewer have pitched well, but are only just beginning in AA, so there is no point in rushing them. Similarly, Jarrod Parker is still working to build up consistency and stamina, and he needs more time in the Minors. Wade Miley has also not shown himself to be ready yet. We'll see what the Diamondbacks decide to do, but it would make sense to reward Roemer for his good work in the Minors this year, rather than bring back Enright or Owings again, or rushing one of the youngsters.