Derrick Goold previews the 2007 starting rotation and who is competing for the five spots:
ANTHONY REYES, RHPChris Carpenter and Kip Wells are a given so it's really a competition for three starting spots. However, Mulder will be ready in the middle of the season so someone will likely be going to the bullpen. If Jason Isringhausen is ready to close at the beginning of the season, I believe that Adam Wainwright will be a starter like he should have been last season.
2006: 5-8, 5.06 ERA, 17 starts, 85 1/3 IP, 72 Ks at MLB.
Resume: Reyes tied a career-high with eight innings in his World Series Game 1 victory, working the aggressive Tigers hitters with his four-seam fastball. The club's top prospect entering 2006 has all the ingredients of a big-leaguer, but he must prove his durability and embrace the lower reaches of strike zone.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT, RHP
2006: 2-1, 3 saves, 3.12 ERA, 61 app (no starts), 75 IP, 72 Ks at MLB.
Resume: The only Cardinals pitcher from last season to have more strikeouts than hits allowed (64). Wainwright emerged last spring as a bullpen contributor, became a force by October — four saves, closed out World Series. But he was groomed as a starter and brings starter stuff to the mound.
BRADEN LOOPER, RHP
2006: 9-3, 3.56 ERA, 69 app (no starts), 73 1/3 IP, 41 Ks at MLB.
Resume: Last summer was the first since his rookie year, 1999, without a save, as Looper has been a career setup-man or closer. Save for a handful of starts in minors, he has not been a starter since college. He had success in longer appearances later in season, which got Dave Duncan to thinking.
RYAN FRANKLIN, RHP
2006: 6-7, 4.54 ERA, 66 app (no starts), 77 1/3 IP, 43 Ks at MLB.
Resume: For three seasons, 2003-05, Franklin made at least 30 starts and pitched at least 190 2/3 innings every summer for Seattle, going 23-44 with a 4.49 ERA. His career year was 2003 (11-13, 3.57 ERA). Suspended for a positive steroid test in '05, he was used in relief by Philly, Cincy last summer.
BRAD THOMPSON, RHP
2006: 1-2, 3.34 ERA, 43 app (1 start), 56 2/3 IP, 32 Ks at MLB.
Resume: Thompson is the staff's remaining sinkerball-based pitcher, and after he regained his grip on it last summer, he had a 0.73 ERA in 12 1/3 Sept. innings. Thompson set a record with 57 2/3 scoreless innings as a starter in Class AA and has had ample minor league success in the role.
TROY CATE, LHP
2006: 3-3, 1.27 ERA, 44 app (no starts), 56 2/3 IP, 78 Ks at High-A/AAA
Resume: Once a standout prospect in Seattle's system, Cate powered through his first year with the Cardinals — 78 Ks to 24 hits allowed; .127 opponents batting average — as a lefty reliever. This winter, he has shined as a starter in Mexico, thrusting him unexpectedly into this competition.
CHRIS NARVESON, LHP
2006: 8-5, 2.81 ERA, 15 starts, 80 IP, 58 Ks at AAA
Resume: On-the-cusp-of-the-majors prospect, returned from a shoulder strain to throw a strong half season for Class AAA Memphis and merit a September call-up. The 25-year-old lefty has to improve his control — 38 walks in 89 1/3 total innings last summer — to strengthen his big-league bid.
My ideal starting rotation, now that we no longer have Jeff Suppan: Chris Carpenter, Anthony Reyes, Adam Wainwright, Chris Narveson, Kip Wells.
By placing Narveson into the rotation, it gives us a LHP as a starter.