Back End of the Rotation Part 1
Anyone who follows this team at all closely, or even glances at the rotation can tell you that the back end of our rotation sucks. Aaron Harang and Jeremy Bonderman are not MLB level starters. There is no way you could ever convince me otherwise. So I’m going to go over the potential replacements and the reasons why Harang and Bonderman could be replaced and may not be. Here is a hint: it’s not pretty. In Part 1 I’ll talk about Harang, Erasmo Ramirez and James Paxton. Part 2 will be up tomorrow at about the same time and will discuss Jeremy Bonderman, Blake Beavan, Hector Noesi, and Brandon Maurer.
First and foremost, I would like to say that the nickname “The Harangatan” is one of the worst ever, and I am willing to sue on behalf of all Orangutans for psychological damages for being linked to that nickname. Second of all, Harang has had some very good games. He leads the league in complete game shutouts. Yes. Read that again. I’m not kidding. Baseball is weird. However, his complete game shutouts came against the Astros and the Padres. Two very bad hitting teams and the Padres start was in Petco, which is still a pitchers park, albeit to a lesser degree than the past. Here are Harang’s stats with the two shutouts removed. 8.30 ERA, 8.3 K/9. That is awful, but even when those two games are included his ERA is over 5.50. He is like a super poor mans Jason Vargas. And I really did not like Jason Vargas. I will admit this, Harang has also had two solid starts against the Pirates and Orioles, two of the better hitting clubs in the league. In short, Harang has faced some bad offenses in favorable conditions and done well. He has also faced some good offense and done poorly much more often. Get him out of here.
Was anybody else concerned that Bartolo Colon ate Erasmo in Spring Training? But seriously, I was very concerned about his arm injury. After the team announced it there was no news. Nothing about him rehabbing or doing a throwing program, it seemed like Erasmo was destined for a year on the DL and possibly Tommy John. Anyway, he eventually did do a throwing program and some rehab and is now in AAA Tacoma and he hasn’t lost a step. In his 20.2 innings pitched, he has allowed 2 runs, 4 walks and has struck out 18. And I’ll go ahead and remind everyone that he turned 23 in May. So yes, everyone should be very excited for him to get to Seattle and be there for a while. It is only a matter of time before he is called up and Aaron Harang looks to be the one who will be leaving.
Once a member of the vaunted “Big Three”, Paxton has seen a lot of his prospect polish die recently because of his struggles in AAA Tacoma. I don’t understand why that has happened, he has the same stuff he did last year and is still 24. His 5.18 ERA is pretty bad, but he has an FIP of 3.67; meaning that he has been the victim of some bad luck and command issues. His .385 BABIP corroborates the bad luck part and his 4.23 BB/9 agrees with the command issues. Essentially Paxton is the same pitcher he was last year, and that is the issue. The team wants to see him figure out his command and he has not been able to do that consistently. I don’t see Paxton coming up anytime this year, but he is an option and I do think he will compete for a spot next year.