No fan can argue that consistency from the Reds starting rotation this season has been a major bugaboo. Aside from Johnny Cueto has been outright dominant. He is leading the majors with a miniscule 2.03 ERA [Jered Weaver is tied with him] despite having only 20 starts compared to most starters who have at least 25 starts. Incredible stuff really. Unfortunately for the Reds, Cueto has gotten little support from the rest of the starting rotation. Reds fans have had to endure some major ups and downs from everyone else in the rotation. Homer Bailey will look unhittable one night then get rocked in his next start. It has been a problem Bailey’s whole career which is a major reason why he has never turned into the ace many believed he would eventually be. Opening Day starter Edinson Volquez was awful and is on an extended vacation in Louisville. Volquez has electric stuff but he has yet to master control on his pitches. His future in Cincinnati is very uncertain currently. Bronson Arroyo has not been the pitcher of past years as he leads the majors in long balls given up with 34 in only 26 games started. Dontrelle Willis has been solid since being called up but has fallen victim to bad luck while being winless in 9 starts. Then there is Mike Leake. The guy continues to impress ever since going straight to the big leagues last season. Once he re-gained his spot in the rotation, Leake has easily been the Reds 2nd best pitcher. There really isn’t an argument for anyone but The Drip.
Fans may recall last year when Leake struggled to make it through the second half of the season. This should not have been a shocker to anybody because the kid went straight from college ball to the major leagues. Naturally it is going to take him a few years to get his endurance and arm strength built up enough to endure a full season. Fatigue has not been a problem yet this season and lets all hope that it never becomes a problem. He has had 17 starts since being inserted back in the rotation and has produced 12 quality starts. That puts his quality start % at 70. There are only 11 players in baseball that have a QS% that high on the year. Johnny Cueto leads the league at an 80% clip which is another mind boggling stat put up from him. Some may argue that the quality start stat can be misleading, but with an offense like the Reds have anytime a starter puts out a quality start they should be right in the game. There are tons of questions about the Reds rotation going into 2012. Will Aroldis Chapman be in the mix? What about Travis Wood and Edinson Volquez? These are questions that won’t be answered for a long time, but if Mike Leake can keep pitching at this level there is no doubt his spot in next years rotation will be solidified.
My next post will dissect all the candidates to be in the Reds rotation in 2012
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