Not every path to big league success is created equal. If Tyler Matzek develops into a reliable, successful big league starter for the Colorado Rockies, he will have gone through an awful lot of hard work and rough patches to get there.
If Matzek makes meaningful contributions to the Rockies or some other team, that young man will have earned it.
Part of Matzek’s journey will be his trial-by-fire this season. Pitching on a bad Rockies team with a truly horrible bullpen, Matzek has been forced to grind through some bad starts, eyeball some gross statistics, and learn on the job.
Given that hard work, it had to be especially gratifying for the 23-year-old lefty to log seven scoreless innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night. En route to doing so, Matzek showed the type of raw stuff that made him a top prospect in the first place. He kept hitters off-balance and got a couple ugly swings on his slider.
With the successful outing, Matzek lowered his ERA on the season to 4.75. It was his fourth win, making him 4-9 on the year.
He has a 4.26 FIP, a 6.33 K/9 mark, and is walking hitters at a 3.46 BB/9 clip. Those stats are not spectacular by any means, and they tell the story of a guy who is still developing. In Matzek’s case it feels like there is real value being gained at by struggling through some ups and downs at the big league level.
We always talk about the need for Rockies’ pitchers to have thick skin, after all. Matzek had that anyway, and he certainly will now. It also just so happens that he has plus stuff, is left-handed, and is only 23 years old to go along with that thick skin. All in all, the arrow is pointing up for Matzek, a rare bright spot this season.
Oh, and the bullpen didn’t blow the lead on Saturday, so the Rockies won 2-0.
Seriously, it happened. Somehow, someway, it happened.