Looking ahead to the 2013 season, there has been some talk and speculation that Pirates starters James McDonald and Jeff Karstens might not be locks for the 2013 rotation. If you ask me, both pitchers should be locks for the rotation next year.
The knock against McDonald right now is that he's faded in the second half. The right-hander posted a 7.52 ERA in 61 innings in the second half, and was eventually removed from the rotation. That was a huge change from his first half, where he put up a 2.37 ERA in 110 innings as a starter. That was a pace to make him a legit contender for the Cy Young award. McDonald wasn't that good, and there was some regression to be expected. But the expected regression wasn't anything close to this. Even if he would have regressed a normal amount, McDonald still should have put up good numbers.
His struggles in the second half were a concern, but you can't ignore the first half. You also can't ignore the career. McDonald had a 4.04 ERA in 311.2 inning...
Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.