The other day, I gave you my rankings on the pitchers who I think have the best chance of winning a spot in the rotation. The contenders if you missed it include: Hendrickson, Nomo, Brazelton, Waechter, Kazmir, Bell, Fossum, McClung, Neagle, Sosa, and Haynes. That makes 11 pitchers going for 5 spots. Of that group, only Nomo, Neagle, and Haynes are not on the 40 man roster. I am not 100% who in the group still has options to go down to AAA and not expose them to waivers, but my guess is Kazmir, Waechter, McClung. Just something to keep in mind as the rotation begins to take shape over the next six weeks of camp.
Now, lets talk about the bullpen. I think the bullpen was one of the teams stronger points last season. The core group that is slated to make up the bullpen for 2005 includes:
THT has a stat called bullpen FIP (fielding independent Pitching) which is a predictable stat which looks at how the bullpens will perform in the upcoming season. The good news is that it ranks the Devil Rays bullpen #7 in the American league. I like the group up above, the only thing is that the core group includes six pitchers, and there are a few pitchers from the starters like Sosa and Fossum who could slide to the bullpen if they don't make the rotation.
I am not sure if you see what I am getting at, but the entire pitching staff will have immense competition. I would not want to be in any of these pitchers shoes come exhibition season. I guess you cant worry about the next guy, just show your stuff, thats all you can do.