Eddie Butler is one of the top prospects in the Colorado Rockies organization. But with some setbacks in 2014, where will he be in 2015?
If we were scared of what would happen to top pitching prospects in Triple-A when the Rockies’ affiliate was in Colorado Springs, how are we supposed to feel about them in the even thinner air of Albuquerque?
That is just one of a number of questions that looms as the Colorado Rockies try to answer a simple question: what they heck are they doing to do with Eddie Butler?
Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler, Eddie Butler and Jonathan Gray. Those two names have been thrown around for well over a year now as the guys who will rescue the Rockies. I have been as guilty of it as anybody. But a couple harsh realities set in over the course of the 2014 season.
First: neither of these guys might actually project much higher than a good, no. 3 starter. And that’s OK, by the way. We just need to quit talking about them like aces in waiting.
Secondly, Butler dealt with some health issues. First it was a shoulder issue (right rotator cuff), then a back issue from the end of the season that forced him to miss the Arizona Fall League. Here is what Butler had to say about that back pain (from MLB.com):
"“When I got here to Arizona, sat with the training staff and went over how things were going, they checked me out and said my body was fatigued,” Butler said. “They said it would be a better idea for me to stay here and get stronger, rather than go pitch.”"
That’s the second red flag for Butler injury-wise in the last calendar year. The Rockies need to proceed carefully. In three big league starts in 2014, Butler went 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA, two home runs allowed, and just three strikeouts against seven walks.
It feels like the Rockies need to take a step back with Butler. Like, a big step back.
At almost any point last season, Butler would have been projected to start the 2015 season in the starting rotation. But now? I’m not even sure if he should start 2015 on the big league roster, and I’m not sure the Rockies should be in a big rush to get him there once the season is underway.
Unless Albuquerque is really that bad, I suppose.