After Wandy Rodriguez was removed from the rotation last week, the question became "who is next?" The Pirates haven't been getting good results from their rotation this season, or their bullpen for that matter. Coming into the season, they looked good at the top three spots in the rotation, with Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole, and Charlie Morton leading the way.
Morton and Cole haven't been bad, but they haven't been great either. Cole has a 3.76 ERA and a 3.43 xFIP. Morton has a 3.29 ERA and a 4.23 xFIP. The biggest disappointment here has been Liriano, who has a 5.06 ERA, but a 3.58 xFIP that suggests he should be better going forward. Even if everyone pitches to their advanced metrics -- which would see a big improvement from Liriano, an improvement for Cole, and a decline for Morton -- the Pirates wouldn't be seeing a number one starter from this group. Coming into the season, it looked like they could have two number one starters, with Liriano and Cole.
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.