Kyle Kendrick. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Lacy's 2014 Philadelphia Phillies Roster Projections: Starting Pitchers

The staff at That Ball’s Outta Here have been making predictions as to which players will make the Phillies’ Opening Day roster. In case you missed it, here are the other writers’ predictions for the starting rotation:

Spencer Bingol

Alex Cheremeteff

Michael Lecke

Starting Pitchers

My prediction of which players will end up in the Phillies’ rotation to start the season changed last week after the acquisition of A.J. Burnett.  All of a sudden, the Phillies’ rotation appears to be far more impressive and might actually be counted on as a team strength.

Still, the rotation is not quite set in stone and there appears to be a good deal of competition to see who will get the final two spots. Here are my picks.

Locks

Cliff Lee

A.J. Burnett

Lee and Burnett should be rotation mainstays all year.

Making the Cut

Cole Hamels

Kyle Kendrick

Roberto Hernandez

I only included Hamels in this section because it is possible that he begins the season on the disabled list. I’ll assume that Hamels only misses a start and will begin the season on the active roster.

Given their experience and salaries, I believe that Kendrick and Hernandez are the favorites for the final two spots.  Kendrick has been inconsistent throughout his career, yet he has the most past major league success of all the candidates, and there have been stretches over the past two seasons when he has actually looked like a good pitcher.

Advanced metrics show that there is a chance for Hernandez to surprise and turn in a good season. He does have a couple of successful major league seasons on his resume, although those are fading into distant memory.  I expect him to be given the first crack at the job, but with all the other available options, I’m guessing he is given a very short leash, similar to Chan Ho Park‘s tenure in the rotation in 2009.

Outside Looking In

Jonathan Pettibone

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

Ethan Martin

Jesse Biddle

Shawn Camp

Mario Hollands

Jeff Manship

Sean O’Sullivan

Pettibone had a decent rookie season in 2013, and possesses some upside. It isn’t inconceivable that he eventually develops into a solid #4 starter at the major league level. But with remaining options for the team to use (as well as the recently announced news that his shoulder is still sore), I’m guessing the Phillies would prefer he start out at AAA.

MAG is a complete unknown at this point, and the Phillies seem to be less optimistic about his chances by the day.  Despite some speculation that he might have been major league ready last season, it is probably in their best interests to start him out in AAA. It is possible that they decide to use him as a reliever this season, but based on the quotes from Ruben Amaro, it seems like they view him as a starter.

Most pundits feel that Martin would be best used as a reliever. He has overpowering stuff which seems to lose its effectiveness after just a couple of innings. Some people think that if he was able to concentrate on relieving, he would soon be one of the better options for the late innings.  Earlier this year, the Phillies said they planned to keep him stretched out to provide depth, but the signing of Burnett might have changed their thinking.

Biddle, the team’s top pitching prospect, might eventually make his way to the big league club in 2014, but for now, he’s better off being allowed to develop slowly in the minors.

The rest of the group all appear to be “camp arms” who will almost assuredly start the season in the minors. It is possible that a couple of them may find their way to the major league club this season, so it might be worth keeping an eye on them during Spring Training.

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