If the Arizona Diamondbacks want to take the next step forward in its rebuild, the rotation will need to be strong. Luckily, the D-Backs appear to have a number of young arms that could join a very talented top of the rotation in Arizona. Let’s take a closer look at what the Diamondbacks are working with this season.
A Look at the Diamondbacks Rotation Options
- RHP Zac Gallen (12-4, 2.54 ERA, 9.4 K/9 in 2022)
- RHP Merrill Kelly (13-8, 3.37 ERA, 8.0 K/9)
- LHP Madison Bumgarner (7-15, 4.88 ERA, 6.4 K/9)
- RHP Drey Jameson (3-0, 1.48 ERA, 8.9 K/9)
- RHP Zach Davies/LHP Tommy Henry/RHP Ryne Nelson/RHP Brandon Pfaadt
Arizona’s rotation includes a couple of very intriguing young arms, and one of the game’s best in Zac Gallen. Gallen rebounded from a weird 2021 season last year in a big way. The Diamondbacks right-hander struck out 192 batters over 184 IP, and pitched to the tune of a 2.54 ERA. Gallen can fool hitters with a very good curveball, a cutter, and change speeds via a changeup that batters hit just .202 off of in 2022.
In his fourth season in the Majors, RHP Merrill Kelly posted his best season to date in 2022. Kelly owned a very respectable 3.37 ERA, and was one of just eight pitchers to throw at least 200 innings. The workhorse righty can pound the zone with sinker, and use his cutter and changeup to get hitters to swing out of the zone. Kelly’s 29.9% Chase% rate last year ranked 1.5% better than the league average.
Gallen and Kelly should be joined by LHP Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner isn’t the dominant pitcher that he was with the Giants, but he can still deliver some good performances. However, it’s been a bit since Bumgarner has recorded an ERA above league-average.
Despite only throwing 24.1 IP in the Majors last year, Diamondbacks pitching prospect Drey Jameson owned the ninth-best bWAR (1.3) for Arizona. The former Diamondbacks first-round pick is a name to watch in 2023, as he can make hitters’ live miserable with a good mid-90s heater and a very impressive slider. Provided he stays healthy, D-Backs fans should see a good amount of Jameson this season.
As far as the fifth starter’s spot is concerned, there should be a lively battle. Veteran arm Zach Davies returned to the Diamondbacks this past winter, but there’s three other young arms that could crack the roster out of camp. LHP Tommy Henry, and righties Ryne Nelson and Brandon Pfaadt all could see time in the rotation at some point this year, and as early as Opening Day.