Sunday, March 8, 2009

A New BAM! Topic: The 5th Starter

Today marks BAM!'s first attempt at analyzing a position battle for the 2009 Cubs that doesn't involve Aaron Miles.

After his performance on Sunday, it appears Sean Marshall is going to be difficult to overtake in the battle for the fifth spot in the rotation. Just like in 2008, Sean has done everything asked of him, and more.

Of course, the Cubs will likely need to decide on at least a sixth starter, and perhaps a seventh.

I'll be keeping an eye on Aaron Heilman's next few spring starts. I really enjoyed his last start, for a number of reasons.

First, if I'm not mistaken, I thought I saw three good pitches from him: the fastball, the change-up, and the slider. The break on the slider was outstanding, and the change-up was really working.

Perhaps more importantly, however, I was impressed with Heilman's location. He was absolutely keeping the ball down, which is crucial for pitching in Wrigley.

In his next few appearances, I'm going to continue to watch for Heilman's ability to keep the ball down, and get strikeouts. I'm almost certain he'll have an opportunity to start a few games this year; I hope he does well.

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