Twitter and speculation. They go together like green eggs and ham, like Gilligan and the Skipper, like peanut butter and chocolate.
Still, it's a little jarring when the source of the speculation is an official source. To wit:
Mgr Kirk Gibson considering moving Collmenter to bullpen and calling up a new starter on Monday— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) April 27, 2012
Okay, strictly speaking that's not speculation. It's reporting of wondering: the Diamondback's p.r. department is reporting that Kirk Gibson is wondering if he should replace Josh Collmenter in the rotation.
Which he should wonder, considering Collmenter's 9.82 ERA after four starts.
But why Collmenter, rather than Daniel Hudson? Collmenter's got the higher ERA -- Hudson's is 6.00 -- but he's also got a much higher strikeout-to-walk ratio, while both have given up too many home runs.
Answer: A guy like Collmenter's always going to be a prime candidate for the chopping block. He was a 15th-round draft pick, has an extremely unorthodox pitching style, and wasn't considered a hot prospect at any point his minor-league career; just a year ago, Baseball America didn't rank Collmenter among the organization's 30 best prospects.
All he did was come up in April and ultimately post a 3.38 ERA in 154 innings, with the second-best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the rotation.
In fairness to Hudson, he pitched even better than Collmenter last season. And both pitched a lot better than Joe Saunders ... who's got a 1.29 ERA in his three starts this spring. All of which points to the danger of making decisions based on small sample sizes. Unless Collmenter's hurt or his confidence is shot, he should probably be given more time, though it's hard for a manager to watch a pitcher get hammered every time out.
Assuming Collmenter does lose his job, Gibson's got some options. Barry Enright's in triple-A, and has a lovely ERA down there. But he's also got a 4.87 career ERA in the majors, and has never demonstrated any real ability to control the strike zone.
No, the real prospects are pitching for double-A Mobile Bay. You probably know about phenoms Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer, and both have been impressive this spring. But Patrick Corbin and Charles Brewer have pitched well down there, too. It probably doesn't matter much who starts for the Diamondbacks on Monday. The real takeaway here is that the Diamondbacks are loaded with talented young pitchers.