Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Can Brett Anderson be the Colorado Rockies' ace?

All things equal, could Brett Anderson be the best starting pitcher for the Colorado Rockies?

With no disrespect to the fine accomplishments of Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa for this franchise, could Anderson be the guy in the rotation with the best stuff? The guy most qualified to be the number one starter?

All things are not equal, of course, as Anderson has some serious injury troubles. The onus on Anderson this season is to prove that he can stay healthy as much as it is to emerge as one of the team’s best pitchers.

If he does stay healthy, though, expectations will ascend in a hurry. Take, for example, what Troy Renck wrote about Anderson in the Denver Post this morning:

Anderson’s role is impossible to overstate as the Rockies look to post their first winning season since 2010. He could be slotted anywhere from first to third in the rotation. Manager Walt Weiss hasn’t decided where the former Oklahoma high school star will fit, other than acknowledging that he will split up Anderson and Jorge De La Rosa, his other left-handed starter, in the order.”

Or consider Michael Cuddyer‘s ringing endorsement:

A lot of people don’t know about this guy…But he’s a bona fide ace. He can really help us.”

Or consider this: Anderson was the Opening Day starter recently for the Oakland A’s, a franchise far more successful than the Rockies when it comes to to assessing and developing quality pitching. He was their ace before injuries derailed those plans.

Anderson made 30 starts in 2009. He made 19 starts in 2010. He made 13 starts in 2011. He made six starts in 2012, and only five starts last season (with another 11 appearances out of the bullpen). If he stays healthy this season, it will not just be a rebound from last year’s struggles; he will have to buck a trend that dates back to his rookie season in 2009.

That will be a tall order for Anderson, especially given the reluctant admission that pitching half his games at altitude stands to take an additional toil on his already fragile body. But if he does manage to stay healthy, as he believes he can, he could be the best pitcher on the Rockies’ staff.

Tags: Brett Anderson Colorado Rockies

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