Let’s take a look at the Cubs starting rotation – despite the awful, disappointing season, the Cubs pitching staff actually performed very well. The quartet of Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Rich Harden pitched well despite injuries and rookie Randy Wells rounded out the rotation once he was called up to replace Zambrano after his 1st injury problem.
Ryan Dempster – 2009 Report Card Grade – B.
Ryan Dempster was the Cubs 3rd best starting pitcher during the 2009 MLB schedule.
2009 stats – 200 innings in 31 starts; 11-9 record with a 3.65 ERA and 1.30 WHIP; 172 K’s; 65 walks; .260 opponents’ batting average.
2008 stats – 206 2/3 innings in 33 starts; 17-6 record with a 2.96 ERA and 1.21 WHIP; 187 K’s; 76 walks; .227 opponents’ batting average.
After a sub-par start to the season and a frustrating toe injury in July (he injury occurred after a Cubs win when Dempster jumped over the fence guarding the Cubs dugout), Dempster actually finished strong to make his numbers look good. He was 6-3 in August and September and pitched at least 6 innings in each of those 12 starts. In 8 of those starts, Dempster allowed just 2 runs or less. Dempster’s 2008 numbers show that he still has what it takes at the age of 32. He definitely has 3 solid years left in the tank – he just needs to regain that form in 2010.
Dempster just finished the 1st year of a 4-year, $52 million deal that he signed before the off-season. That seems like a lot given the 11 wins, but if he can be a little more consistent early on, and stay healthy, he should be worth the payment over the long run. Dempster has been a class act with the Cubs. He has made Chicago his home and given back so much to the community. Dempster is a fan favorite at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field and he will surely go down as one of the most popular Cubs players during the 2000′s. He is a great locker room presence and a good mentor for some of the Cubs younger players, so let’s hope he can help the team win a World Series during one of the next 3 years – we all deserve it…