1) Todd has excelled in the minors so far. His ERA in 2 season is 2.85. He has shown very good command and the ability to miss bats as well with nearly a 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio. He has also shown an ability to keep the ball on the ground with over 50% GB in his career. That has translated to a low homer rate, and a 3.51 FIP. He topped out at AAA last year, and pitched poorly in just over 20 innings, but his overall success shows that he is capable of being a good starter.
2) Starting over relieving is never a good idea. Even if Todd pitches much better in the pen, he wouldn't be as valuable as if he was in the rotation. I'll show you:
- Say Todd, as a reliever, would pitches 60 innings in the pen with a 3.00 ERA/FIP/tRA*, meaning that he would give up 20 runs. That would be incredible. The guys who pitched like that in the majors last year were usually closers. A replacement level reliever would pitch 60 innings with a 4.50 ERA, meaning that he would allow 30 runs. So Todd as a great reliever would save the club 10 runs.
- So then say Todd would only pitch like like a league average starter. He would pitch, say, 180 innings with a 4.40 ERA, or 88 runs allowed. A replacement level starter would allow a 5.50 ERA, but he probably wouldn't be allowed to pitch more than 150 innings if he was really that bad. If you give those extra innings to a replacement level reliever than that tandem would allow 107 runs. So Todd as a league average starter, would save the club 19 runs.
With some more uber-advanced calculations (19/10), we can figure out that Todd would be nearly 2 times as valuable as a starter. And that is assuming that he could be really, really good out of the pen. If you project him as a league average reliever (around a 4.10 ERA), than he would be nearly 10 times more valuable as a starter!!!
3) We have a plethora of young right handed relievers who have already had success in the bigs (Motte, Perez, McClellan, Kinney), and a few more who figure to be good in the minors (Salas, Samuel, Reifer). However, we only have a couple of young starting pitchers who figure to be long term options on the club (Boggs?, Garcia?, Hooker?). Adequate starting pitching is much harder to find on than adequate relief pitching, hence the much higher replacement level ERA for starters.
4) Who the hell cares if he is small? So is this guy and this guy. The have eleventy-billion Cy Youngs combined, and their career FIPs are like 1.5. A pitcher more representative of Todd potential might be 6'0" Roy Oswalt, and he has been the most consistent pitcher in the game over the decade. Todd's stuff is good, and he has very good groundball and low-walk tendencies that should translate well to the majors. All of the scouts rave about his makeup and poise on the mound as well. So who the hell cares if he is short?
I don't know why Moz, or whoever, made this decision. Maybe Todd has some health concerns, and they think that putting him in the bullpen will help. Maybe, they just saw 5'10" and decided that they was no way that he could be a quality pitcher in the rotation. However the quote from the PD was:
The major-league staff’s evaluation of Todd was that he could be a contributor in the big leagues as a reliever sooner and possibly better than as a starter.
I don't get that reasoning. History will tell you that Carpenter will be injured and Piniero will suck. We have almost no depth in the upper minor leagues, as Boggs and Walters are mediocre at best. However, the bullpen looks pretty deep, especially considering that "our closer of the future" is in the minors and is ahead of Todd on the depth chart. It would seem to that Todd as a starter would have a lot more chances to pitch than Todd as a reliever. And obviously he would pitch better as a reliever, everyone does, but he would be much more valuable as a starter.