Homegrown rotations hard to come by

BY foxsports • October 3, 2011

The Tampa Bay Rays are the postseason anomaly.

Each of the Rays' starters in the four games of the AL Division Series against Texas were homegrown.

Both Texas and Detroit have two products of their farm system among  their four starting pitchers. The five other postseason teams have only one apiece.

It’s not like the Rays’ rotation consists of all instant success stories. While David Price, the starter against Texas on Monday, was the No. 1 pick in 2007, Game 4 starter Jeremy Hellickson was a fourth-round selection in 2005; Matt Moore, who started Game 1, was drafted in the eighth round in 2007; and Game 2 starter James Shields was a 16th-round selection in 2000.

C.J. Wilson, who started Game 1 for Texas, was a fifth-round selection in 2001, and Rangers teammate Derek Holland was a 25th-round selection in 2006. Detroit used first-round draft picks on Justin Verlander in 2004 and Rick Porcello in 2007.

Other homegrown starting pitchers were Josh Collmenter, 15th round in 2007 by Texas; Yovani Gallardo, second round in 2004 by Milwaukee; Cole Hamels, first round in 2002 by Philadelphia; Jaime Garcia, 22nd round in 2005 by St. Louis; and Ivan Nova, a 2004 signee out of the Dominican Republic by the New York Yankees.

Seven of the scheduled 32 starting pitchers in the Division Series were signed as free agents, including the Yankees trio of CC Sabathia, Freddy Garcia and A.J. Burnett; Randy Wolf of Milwaukee; and Chris Carpenter and Kyle Lohse of St. Louis. Texas right-hander Colby Lewis resurrected his career in Japan before returning to pitch for the Rangers.

Several others were acquired in trades, including Arizona's Ian Kennedy (Yankees), Daniel Hudson (White Sox) and Joe Saunders (Angels); Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay (Philadelphia) and Roy Oswalt (Houston); Detroit’s Max Scherzer (Arizona) and Doug Fister (Seattle); Milwaukee’s Zack Greinke (Kansas City) and Shawn Marcum; St. Louis' Edwin Jackson (Toronto); and Texas' Matt Harrison (Atlanta).

Good deal

Jackson actually was traded in December 2009 from Detroit to Arizona in a three-team deal. It resulted in the Diamondbacks also acquiring Kennedy, the Yankees picking up Curtis Granderson, and the Tigers landing center fielder Austin Jackson from the Yankees and left-handed reliever Daniel Schlereth and Scherzer from Arizona.

Traveling man

Arizona dealt Jackson to the Chicago White Sox on July 30, 2010, in the deal that brought Hudson to the Diamondbacks. This past July he was part of a three-team deal with the White Sox, Toronto and St. Louis that sent, among other players, Jackson and reliever Octavio Dotel to St. Louis and center fielder Colby Rasmus to Toronto.

Originally signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jackson has pitched at the big-league level with five teams in the past four years — Tampa Bay, Detroit, Arizona, White Sox and St. Louis. The White Sox are the only one of the five that did not get an invite to this year’s postseason.

Say what

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa was asked during his pre-game radio show what factors he considered in setting up the starting outfield. Hunter Pence started in left field and Allen Craig in right field the first two games in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night, Pence was in right field and Craig in left field.

"With the attention given 'Moneyball,' we take the area of the outfield divided by Pi, and then put Lance in which ever outfield is closer to our dugout,’’ La Russa said.

Journey

Colby Lewis, Texas’ Game 3 starter, was drafted by Texas in 1999, the 38th player taken overall. However, he was no instant success. He was a waiver claim by Detroit after the 2004 season and became a free agent two years later. He signed with Washington as a free agent but was released during the spring of 2007, after which he signed with Oakland. He pitched for Hiroshima in Japan in 2008 and 2009, then re-signed with Texas in January 2010.

Holliday time

St. Louis put outfielder Matt Holliday on the NLDS roster in the hope he could be in the lineup by Game 3 in St. Louis. The Cardinals were overly optimistic. Holliday had been limited to pinch-hit duties in Game 1 and Game 3 thanks to a finger injury, but the soreness was severe enough Sunday that he did not even take batting practice prior to Game 2 on Sunday.

Holliday declined a steroid injection — he feared it would keep him from playing in the Division Series — but has been using a cream and acupuncture to try to deal with the injury.

On the move

Former Mets general manager Joe McIlvaine, who has been serving as a pro scout with Minnesota, has joined the Seattle Mariners scouting department. He's the second well-known addition by the Mariners this offseason. Seattle hired former big-league pitcher Pete Vuckovich as a special assistant.



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