Randy Wells' Journey from AAA Castoff to Potential Ace

The young Andrew Cashner is scheduled to start for the Cubs this afternoon, a day after the team's rotation officially went from 60% set to 80% following Randy Wells' dominant performance yesterday. That's right, dominant: after giving up two singles to start the game, 18 batters faced, 18 batters sent back to the dugout, with seven strikeouts. Nasty.

And this wasn't just a control guy nibbling on the corners and getting lucky with weak contact; Wells' changeup was totally sick-looking, and his fastball was staying down. When Wells first broke into the rotation, we thought of him as a pitcher with OK stuff and good control. I think that impression might change this year.
It's admittedly foolish to think Wells is due for 200 super duper innings based on a good March. Plenty of guys look great in spring, and then end up being terrible over the course of a season (like, for example, Tyler Colv... wait, hold on a second...). But combined with his 360 innings of great pitching over 2009 and 2010, plus what at least appears to be a concerted effort to improve his focus and mental game for the 2011 season, I think Wells has a high ceiling.
In fact, I think he might end up being the Cubs' best pitcher this year. The way I see it, there's only one other legit candidate, that being Ryan Dempster. Z could win 15 games, but I'm almost certain he'll hit the 15-day DL at least once this year with some sort of cramps; and Garza should be solid, but his flyball tendencies scare me a bit. 
So as of today, I'd rank them this way: Wells, Demp, Z, Garz, Cash. How about you? Who's your pick to lead the team as the staff ace this season? 

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  • I'd order them Z, Demp, Garza, Wells, Cashner... of course I haven't seen them pitch this Spring, so who knows.

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