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Dam8610

Do the White Sox have too much starting pitching?

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I know the most likely answer I'm going to get is "Of course not, there's never enough pitching," but that's a boring answer and doesn't allow for much exploration of the question. To explore the question, the first key step is to identify the pitching that we can have a reasonable expectation that they might be ready to pitch on the MLB team by 2020.

MLB

1) L Carlos Rodon

2) R Dylan Covey

3) R Reynaldo Lopez 

4) R Lucas Giolito

Other than Giolito, this group is very solid at the moment. There's still some SSS questions with Covey and some injury questions with Rodon, but it's not too difficult to see the top 3 guys on this list holding rotation spots in 2020.

 

AAA

1) R Michael Kopech

2) R Jordan Stephens

3) R Spencer Adams

4) R Carson Fulmer

Kopech obviously has immense potential and could be the ace of the staff in 2020, recent bad stretch notwithstanding. Stephens is an older guy, he'll be 26 very soon, but he's done nothing but produce at every level along the way. He's a guy I'd like to see get a crack at the MLB rotation this year to see what they have. Adams is young for level, which has been a theme for him throughout his minor league career. He just recently was promoted to AAA after a good run of starts at AA following a slow start to the season, so he'll likely be here the rest of the year. Fulmer to me is already in the "try to convert to high leverage reliever" category, but he's still starting at the moment, so it seems pertinent to include him here.

 

AA

1) R Alec Hansen

2) R Dane Dunning

3) L Jordan Guerrero

4) L Ian Clarkin

Remember Alec Hansen, that guy who was once in 1-1 consideration in the 2016 draft until control issues allowed the White Sox to pick him in Round 2 and he immediately put those issues to bed and showed the potential that had him in that 1-1 conversation for all of 2016 and 2017? He'll be back starting in Birmingham soon after he lost half of 2018 to injury. Meanwhile Dane Dunning has picked up where Hansen left off, doing nothing but consistently perform well against age appropriate competition as he has since being acquired from Washington. Jordan Guerrero and Ian Clarkin have had poor years, and may be best used as reliever converts.

A+

1) R Dylan Cease

I included Cease here because I feel he will be in AA by the end of the month. He's been great at this level, and his stuff gives him ace level ceiling.

 

Given the above information, I think promoting Stephens, Dunning, and Cease as soon as it is feasible. For Stephens, this season may be his only chance to prove himself worthy holding a rotation spot given his age and the ensuing logjam behind him. Dunning showed us a full season of A ball dominance in 2017 and has followed that up thus far with a half season of AA dominance. He doesn't seem to have much left to prove in AA and isn't very young for the level. Cease has also been dominant at A+ and appears to be ready for the test of AA. But what if Rodon, Covey, Lopez, and Stephens all stick as starters? That leaves 1 rotation spot for the likes of Kopech, Hansen, Dunning, Adams, and Cease, but more than 1 will be needed for this group. Do you trade one of the established starters to replace them with a guy that fits the timeline better? Do you trade some of the prospects for bats? I'm interested in hearing the board's thoughts on this.

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But seriously, any "excess" pitching that you can't find a spot for becomes currency. Sure, you can't USE all those starters at the same time, so you pick your favorites and sell the rest off to supplement the rest of your roster. 

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You can never have too much pitching is the correct and boring answer. Half those guys are gonna flame out. Some already have or are well on their way (Gio, Fulmer, Guerrero, Clarkin,)

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4 hours ago, ChiliIrishHammock24 said:

But seriously, any "excess" pitching that you can't find a spot for becomes currency. Sure, you can't USE all those starters at the same time, so you pick your favorites and sell the rest off to supplement the rest of your roster. 

Bingo.

If anything, they need more pitching. Even the guys that establish themselves in the majors can get hurt or lose effectiveness at any time.

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Too much pitching? Based on what? A pitcher is who on the DL often and when he isn't, is working his way back from injury, two guys with short track records of success, and a guy with a 7 ERA. And that doesn't even count the question marks not at the MLB level. Point is, no one is really proven so we are not at a point where we can say we have "too much."

Edited by soxfan2014
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2 minutes ago, soxfan2014 said:

Too much pitching? Based on what? A pitcher is who on the DL often and when he isn't, is working his way back from injury, a guy with a short track record of success, and a guy with a 7 ERA. And that doesn't even count the question marks not at the MLB level. Point is, no one is really proven so we are not at a point where we can say we have "too much."

Lopez? Or Covey, is your second example?

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Easy, no. We won't have too much pitching depth until we have five starters in the majors all producing well and two guys in AAA who are making a mockery of AAA.

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42 minutes ago, maggsmaggs said:

Easy, no. We won't have too much pitching depth until we have five starters in the majors all producing well and two guys in AAA who are making a mockery of AAA.

yes exactly. These are all names that we know, but only one is currently performing very well in Majors, and it happens to be a guy we didn't expect. And even with 5 starters in majors, I'd still want some depth given injuries.

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I think the problem is that the thread title question is too provocative and kind of begs for "no, you can't have too much" as an answer.  It seems to me like what you're really asking is more like:  what if we already have four guys in the rotation that are pitching well enough next season that it's not fair to bench them -- how do we make room to audition the group of prospects (hopefully) knocking at the door?  Am I right?

I think that's a fair question.  Maybe we can test some guys out in the bullpen?  Go with a 6-man rotation?

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4 minutes ago, 35thstreetswarm said:

I think the problem is that the thread title question is too provocative and kind of begs for "no, you can't have too much" as an answer.  It seems to me like what you're really asking is more like:  what if we already have four guys in the rotation that are pitching well enough next season that it's not fair to bench them -- how do we make room to audition the group of prospects (hopefully) knocking at the door?  Am I right?

I think that's a fair question.  Maybe we can test some guys out in the bullpen?  Go with a 6-man rotation?

It's just this always tends to work itself out, and worst case scenario you leave a bunch of guys in AAA for a while. That has worked out fine for the Tampa Bay rays, who get basically finished pitchers with control for essentially all of their prime years.

And quite frankly, nobody deserves a promotion right now in AAA. And pitchers like Guerrero, he's a name we know but not a particularly good prospect at this point.

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The question itself is an oxymoron. The concept doesnt exist for 2 primary reasons:

1. Injuries

2. Falied development

In the current age of velocity focused, shortened duration starters, more pitchers are needed for replacements and the bullpen.

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How many pitchers that have sustained success in the minors fail when they reach the majors.

Maybe I am wrong but the thing that seems to derail pitchers is injury not being able to transfer success in the MiLB to the MLB.

If those guys stay healthy they will all have positive impacts in the majors.

Fulmer had success in college but not the minors.  Rodon had success everywhere but he can't stay healthy.

Hitting is a gamble but pitching to me is a known entity with injury derailing everything.

 

 

 

 

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No, not even close. You're looking at all of those guys as reaching their maximum potential. Few will. 

I mean, look at just those four MLB guys:

Rodon has been hurt literally every year. Even when he's looked healthy, he's been inconsistent. 

Covey has about the same track record as Phil Humber at this point.

Giolito looks like garbage. At this point, he's more likely to be a depth bullpen piece now than an effective mid-rotation starter.

Lopez looks fancy but the results just aren't there. He's the guy I have the highest hope for, but even with him, there's a good chance he's a 3/4.

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And TBH I'd be fine this winter spending on starting pitching (not dumpster diving) and if it pans out trading SP prospects for position players than relying on this group of SP to be the mets 2015 rotation. 

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17 minutes ago, bmags said:

And TBH I'd be fine this winter spending on starting pitching (not dumpster diving) and if it pans out trading SP prospects for position players than relying on this group of SP to be the mets 2015 rotation. 

I agree with this, spend on the studs even if it "seems" like overkill even though it is definitely not. expect prospects to never reach their full potential and if they do, they force the issue or you use them to trade for holes on the roster.

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Of course the answer is you never have enough as injuries/performance will whittle the group.  If there is a surplus, of course it becomes currency to improve another part of the team.  But lets take another look........ We are very thin on left handed prospects.  Guerrero, Clarkin, and a few lower level lefties are all lower ceiling players and longer shots in general.  The one left handed high ceiling player,  Rodon , has an injury history and is a Boras client.  Even if he is excellent, when his free agency comes you may not be able to keep and dare I say afford him.  I like we took Madrigal but would not of been against an approach of a high ceiling lefty underslot and adding more "tough sign" talent later.   Ideally, I would like two really good lefties in my rotation for balance if nothing else and as currently constructed we have one maybe zero.  

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Just now, BamaDoc said:

Of course the answer is you never have enough as injuries/performance will whittle the group.  If there is a surplus, of course it becomes currency to improve another part of the team.  But lets take another look........ We are very thin on left handed prospects.  Guerrero, Clarkin, and a few lower level lefties are all lower ceiling players and longer shots in general.  The one left handed high ceiling player,  Rodon , has an injury history and is a Boras client.  Even if he is excellent, when his free agency comes you may not be able to keep and dare I say afford him.  I like we took Madrigal but would not of been against an approach of a high ceiling lefty underslot and adding more "tough sign" talent later.   Ideally, I would like two really good lefties in my rotation for balance if nothing else and as currently constructed we have one maybe zero.  

I was very happy to bring in another high ceiling LHP in Pilkington in the 3rd round this year.

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The Sox have too much starting pitching like they have too many outfielders and middle infielders. If it becomes a problem it's a great problem to have. Just like the hitters, find a place for them when the time comes and if there turns out to be a surplus, trade that surplus for what's needed elsewhere.

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1 hour ago, 35thstreetswarm said:

I think the problem is that the thread title question is too provocative and kind of begs for "no, you can't have too much" as an answer.  It seems to me like what you're really asking is more like:  what if we already have four guys in the rotation that are pitching well enough next season that it's not fair to bench them -- how do we make room to audition the group of prospects (hopefully) knocking at the door?  Am I right?

I think that's a fair question.  Maybe we can test some guys out in the bullpen?  Go with a 6-man rotation?

Basically, yes. You're going to have at least 5 guys, at least 3 of which have TOR potential, knocking at the door for one spot, and right now that spot is technically Giolito's. So the reality we could be looking at is 5 pitchers pitching well enough in MLB to keep their spots with 5 guys lighting up AAA or AA and showing themselves ready for the call to the show next year. Obviously negative outcomes (Rodon continuing to be injured, Covey or Lopez imploding, Giolito never regaining form, Stephens not panning out) could impact the MLB rotation, but I feel like Rodon, Covey, and Lopez have much better than a coin flip chance of sticking in the rotation. Stephens and Giolito are likely coin flip or worse, but that makes the probability that at least one will succeed very high, which would leave one rotation spot for potentially 5 guys knocking on the door of a MLB rotation. If that happens, how are the White Sox going to manage the logistics of getting everyone an opportunity without screwing anyone up and getting the five best starters out of the group?

Edited by Dam8610
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