Those who follow and comment on the Rockies, myself included, put a lot of pressure on Jhoulys Chacin before the 2012 season started. He needed to turn the corner and solidify his status as a consistent top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. Furthermore, the success or failure of the Rockies was said to rest largely on whether or not he was able to do so.
Even with two full seasons under his belt, that simply was not fair to a young player like Chacin. That pressure was only made worse when he got into a staring contest with general manager Dan O’Dowd about his conditioning in the offseason and whether or not he was entering Spring Training out of shape. With all of that drama I couldn’t help but think that it didn’t seem like that long ago that I was watching Chacin, as a 20 year old kid rushed to the show, warming up in the bullpen in that awful stadium in Florida to pitch against the Marlins. The way things almost went sour last year seemed like something that would happen after a longer tenure than Chacin’s in Colorado. Four years shouldn’t be long enough for things to get so complicated.
After missing most of the 2012 season with a unique pectoral injury, Chacin did indeed return to the team and make 14 starts. He pitched well in those starts, and thankfully was not subjected to the four man rotation thing. For those of us desperate to see the glass as half full with Chacin’s brief 2012 campaign, he did show glimpses of the shutdown guy the Rockies need him to be. And we know from his previous success that he can log a high number of innings in a season and that his nasty off-speed stuff translates at altitude.
Bottom line: Chacin misses bats and, at age 24, still has a lot of development in front of him. With a new coaching staff and a somewhat fresh start, he ought to be able to settle in at the top of the rotation and find success. There were some grumblings at the Winter meetings that the Rockies might explore trading him; they need to squash those rumors so as to minimize the drama that surrounds Chacin as he enters camp in March.
Where should Chacin be in 2013? At the top of the Rockies rotation.
Where will Chacin be in 2013? Pending a desperate trade or a fistfight with O’Dowd, at the top of the Rockies rotation.