Full Rotation: The St. Louis Cardinals and starters in the NL-Central

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 27: Tyler Lyons
ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 27: Tyler Lyons /
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CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 16: Starting pitcher Homer Bailey
CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 16: Starting pitcher Homer Bailey /

The Cincinnati Reds and the once former GM of the St. Louis Cardinals would love to find the top of the NL-Central, but will they?

Anticipated Starters: Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Brandon Finnegan, Robert Stephenson
In the Wings: Sal Romano, Jackson Stephens, Rookie Davis (hip surgery), Tyler Mahle

Well, wow. I’m not really sure what to say. This is one big hot mess.

Oh, I’m not knocking any individual pitchers. No disrespect intended. It’s just that when you add the parts, they comprise maybe two-thirds of a reasonable MLB rotation. There’s just something wrong with everyone, in some way or another.

Take DeSclafani as an example. He was really rounding into the pitcher the Reds expected of him during 2016, when he had a two-month hiatus from an oblique injury. Then, alas, injury sidelined him for all of 2017.

Then Bailey. He was a first rounder with high promise…in 2004! Since then, he’s tried to live up to his lofty promise. But ultimately, Bailey has proven a .500 pitcher with a career 4-ish ERA, good enough for a number three or four starter on an average team but nothing life shattering.

Luis Castillo has real live potential, with a strong showing in 2017, giving up only 64 hits in 89 innings and scoring 98 strikeouts. The Dominican may well be the real deal but to put it in perspective, he has about as many major-league innings as the St. Louis Cardinals’ Luke Weaver, but instead of having a CMart, Wacha, and even a Wainwright surrounding him, he has a…well, a DeSclafani and Bailey.

From there, we have Brandon Finnegan, a lefty sidelined for most of 2017; Robert Stephenson, another first-rounder who hasn’t even been that consistently great in the minors and definitely hasn’t touched great in the majors; and Sal Romano, another maybe-prospect and a project in the making. Young Tyler Mahle, great at AA last year, could get a shot too at one point this year.

I’m not going to go into the wings in any great depth, because while there’s some future hope — Tyler Mahle, for instance, who’s far too far away to make a difference for a year or two — this is just a really, really, really…well, you get the idea. The starting rotation would at the very best get a D+ and the depth, being hugely generous, a C. In other words, there’s no there there.