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Member Since 01 Sep 2011
Offline Last Active Sep 28 2011 09:11 AM

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Chris Carpenter back to a Starter Next Season?

23 September 2011 - 08:33 AM

As another disappointing season comes to a close, I examine what the season could have been if RHP Chris Carpenter had remained a starter this year for the Cubs. Carpenter was transformed in to a reliever this fall when he lit up the radar guns in the AFL (Arizona Fall League), hitting triple digits with his fastball. Prior to this season Carpenter was one of the top starting pitchers in the Cubs organization. With the struggles of the 4 and 5 starters this season one can’t help but ask himself. Did the Cubs make the right decision in moving him to the bullpen?
Carpenter‘s stats as a starter the past three seasons are 14 wins, 13 losses, 3.44 ERA, 264 IP, 230 K’s, 107 BB’s. Most of these stats were complied from the AA and AAA levels. Compare those with the four and five starters this season for the Cubs (Lopez, Davis, and Coleman): 7 wins, 19 losses, 171 IP, 5.93 ERA, 122 K’s, 88 BB’s. Many people say the Cubs are trying to be conservative with Carpenter because he had Tommy John surgery his sophomore year in college at Kent State. With that [being] said he still made 30 starts and pitched 151 innings last year between Tennessee and Iowa with no stints on the DL because of his elbow.
Carpenter had a respectable year while he was up with the Cubs this year pitching 9.2 innings with a 2.78 ERA over 10 appearances. Carpenter has said in interviews that it’s a different mentality coming into a game as a reliever as he doesn’t have time to settle in and find his rhythm. Carpenter has been that way since his high school days at Bryan High School. He becomes more and more dominant as the game progresses and he gets in his rhythm. Carpenter has the build and stuff to be a good (not great) starting pitcher. I’m not saying he is a CY-Young award winner waiting to happen. On his current trend as a starter in the minor leagues if given 30 starts this season with the Cubs Carpenter would have most likely been, 12 wins, 9 losses, 3.66 ERA, 165 K’s, 76 BB’s and 180 IP. Again with that [being] said it could have been +/- 3 wins and +/- 1 point of the ERA.

Moving into the offseason it would be nice to think that next years rotation could be Garza, Dempster, Cashner, Wells (who has been hot of late), and Carpenter. Let’s stop wasting time hoping that Jeff Samardzija will be a quality starting pitcher. Samardzija has been just fine out of the pen this year. The bullpen, outside of the few Marmol blowups, has been respectable the entire season. The AFL this offseason should give us a better idea of how the Cubs will use Cashner and Carpenter moving forward into next season.

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