The National League Central Dream Rotation 2013 may be partially to blame for the strength of the strength of the NL Central Dream Lineup 2013. Unlike the other divisions in baseball, there are no true aces in the division. Kyle Lohse was the division’s best pitcher in 2012, but he remains a free agent.
Johnny Cueto Cincinnati Reds RHP
Cueto had his best year to date in 2013 as he went 19-6 and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting. In 217 innings he posted a steady 2.78 ERA with an impressive 1.17 WHIP. The 2012 All Star is not good enough to be considered a lock down ace, but is good enough to front this rotation.
Yovani Gallardo Milwaukee Brewers RHP
Gallardo has been a solid pitcher since missing much of the 2008 season with an ACL knee injury. He has averaged better than a strikeout per inning over the course of his career. However, he has never struck 210 batters in a year and the best ERA he ever posted over a complete season was 3.52 in 2011. In 2012 Gallardo was a solid 16-9 with a 3.66 ERA and .243 batting average against.
Aroldis Chapman Cincinnati Reds LHP
The lone left handed starter on the staff, Chapman is being converted to a starter in 2013. The Cuban defector throws as hard as any pitcher in the history of baseball. he struck out 15.3 batters per nine innings, had a 0.81 WHIP and saved 38 games for the Reds in 2013. The 25 year old has two more years left with the Reds, they might as well get their $25 million worth, and ride Chapman for the maximum amount of innings he can provide for them.
Mat Latos Cincinnati Reds RHP
Mat Latos has been an effective starting pitcher since finishing eighth in the 2010 Cy Young voting while pitching for San Diego. His 14-4 record in 2012 was a major improvement over his 9-14 record in 2011, but his ratios from 2011 to 2012 were almost identical. His 2012 season consisted of 209.1 innings pitched, a 3.48 ERA and an impressive 1.16 WHIP.
Jeff Samardzija Chicago Cubs RHP
His career as a 28 year old possession receiver would be nearing an end, but his pitching career is just beginning. The Cubs developing starter was shut down near the end of 2012 to cap his innings. His ratios of 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings,1.21 WHIP and a .240 batting average against in 2012 suggest he can be a frontline starter. If his command improves, Samardzija should post a strong season Chicago in 2013.
Sean Marshall Cincinnati Reds LHP
Marshall has done a solid job for the Reds after six years as a Cub. In 2012 he posted a 2.57 ERA in 61 innings with a 1.16 WHIP. 2012 was third straight year with a sub 1.20 WHIP and he has averaged better than a strikeout per inning for three straight years.
Jason Grilli Pittsburgh Pirates RHP
Grilli had a strong season appearing in 64 games for Pittsburgh. Despite a 1-6 record, he had a 1.14 WHIP and a sub 3.00 ERA. His strikeout ratio of 90 K’s in 58.2 innings suggests that Grilli will continue to be an important contributor out of Pittsburgh’s pen.
Jason Motte St. Louis Cardinals Closer
The converted catcher and pride of Valley Central High School emerged in the 2011 postseason and is now one of the premier closers in baseball. In 2012 he tied Craig Kimbrel with a league leading 42 saves, posting a 0.92 WHIP with 86 strikeouts in 72 innings.