The promise offered by Tyler Matzek


We reached the point a long time ago where we watch the Colorado Rockies in 2014 with an eye towards the future. We look for individual players and general progress that might provide hope for the 2015 season and beyond.

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Tyler Matzek has joined Corey Dickerson and Nolan Arenado at the top of the list of “reasons to watch” in recent weeks. He threw an outstanding complete game shutout in his most recent outing against the San Diego Padres, one of the best in franchise history and one that was dangerously close to “a Maddux.” That was just one of a number of solid performances by Matzek in recent weeks.

In his last four starts, Matzek has a 1.52 ERA in 29.2 innings of work. He has 22 strikeouts against nine walks and has gone 3-1 in that stretch. That’s outstanding stuff, of course, and it is encouraging to see Matzek make mid-season adjustments after he was hit hard for much of the summer.

For the season, Matzek is 5-9 with a 4.32 ERA in 16 starts. He has posted a 3.2 BB/9 mark and 6.3 K/9. Entering his start opposite Bartolo Colon on Wednesday night, Matzek has worked exactly 100 innings this season.

Looking ahead to 2015, where do we envision Matzek landing in the rotation? While his recent success has been encouraging, not to mention the fact that it is nice to finally see a high draft pick for the Rockies actually develop into a big league pitcher, it is hard to envision Matzek having a much higher ceiling than a no. 3 starter. That’s not a bad thing, by the way.

Depending on Jhoulys Chacin‘s health, can we envision this rotation next season?

1. Jorge De La Rosa
2. Jhoulys Chacin
3. Jordan Lyles
4. Tyler Matzek
5. A number of candidates

That might be a rotation full of no. 2 and no. 3 guys, but it is a huge success for the Rockies if Matzek enters 2015 in the rotation. It also offers some promise when it comes to the other pitching prospects in the system; it offers hope that this organization is actually capable of delivering capable big leaguers with guys like Tyler Anderson, Eddie Butler, Jon Gray, and others.

Ultimately, Matzek has been a bright spot in 2014 while also serving as a reminder of what it means to have realistic expectations for the organization’s top pitching prospects. He has shown that he does not have to be an ace or a savior to be a success story. Developing into a tough, competitive pitcher who is capable of improving and making adjustments is more than enough to make the Rockies happy with Matzek and his future with the team.