Snakes and (Climbing the) Ladder

It’s no secret that pitching has been a big problem for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season. The MLB club is last in the Majors in ERA (5.75), FIP (5.14), and has allowed the most hits in the Majors (455).

Of the pitchers currently in the starting rotation, Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, and Ian Kennedy have future value to the organization as starters. Cesar Valdez, Billy Buckner, Kris Benson and Rodrigo Lopez likely do not. The future of former ace Brandon Webb is up in the air due to his recent injury problems.

That leaves one or two starting rotation slots in flux. The organization does not have a lot of money to plug the hole(s) via free agency; the best thing is to look within. Unfortunately, the depth in the upper levels of the system is not good. With that said, there are a few arms in the system that could provide value to the big league club.

Wes Roemer: The right-hander was a supplemental first round pick out of Cal State Fullerton in 2007. He’s moved fairly slowly through the system given his pedigree but Roemer was recently promoted to triple-A after a strong start in double-A. The 23-year-old pitcher made 22 starts in double-A in ’09 and posted a 4.16 FIP with a modest strikeout rate of 6.5 K/9. This season at double-A, he allowed 52 hits in 52.2 innings with 11 walks and 43 strikeouts. Roemer has a modest repertoire (87-91 mph fastball, slider, change-up) but solid control (career 2.4 BB/9) and must keep the ball down to be successful, especially in Phoenix.

Barry Enright: Enright was selected shortly after Roemer in the ’07 draft and is a similar pitcher. The right-hander was selected in the second round out of Pepperdine University. Enright, 24, spent all of ’09 in double-A and posted a 4.00 FIP. In 156.0 innings, the durable starter showed excellent control with a walk rate of 2.13 BB/9 but he put a lot of balls in play with a strikeout rate of just 5.94 K/9. Back in double-A for 2010, Enright currently has a 3.40 FIP and has given up just 44 hits and 10 walks in 51.2 innings. He has struck out 40 batters. Like Roemer, he has a modest fastball (87-91 mph fastball) and needs to keep the ball down to be successful. His four-pitch mix also includes a slider, curveball and change-up.

Josh Collmenter: Another ’07 draft pick, the 24-year-old Collmenter has proven to be a solid value as a 15th round pick out of Central Michigan University. Not known as a big-time strikeout pitcher, the right-hander posted a K-rate of 9.41 K/9 in ’09 in high-A ball mainly due to his ability to mix all his pitches. Collmenter also posted a 3.12 FIP. He’s also done a nice job of keeping the ball in the park despite a modest ground-ball rate. This season, Collmenter has pitched at three levels (high-A, double-A, and triple-A). Combined, he’s allowed 36 hits and 15 walks with 44 strikeouts in 45.0 innings of work. His FIP sits at 3.66. His repertoire includes an 86-90 mph fastball with cutting action, curveball, and change-up.

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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I had no idea Chutes and Ladders was originally called Snakes and Ladders as a game invented in England.