2015 Outlook: Rockies’ Rotation
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
DLR earned the right to be our ace in 2015. Plenty has been said about his overall mediocrity, and I do not disagree with that assessment. However, he is a great Coors Field pitcher, and he has stayed healthy and eaten innings. Maybe that is a low standard to have; oh well. DLR started 32 games for the Rockies last season, at least 10 more than the next guy on the list (Lyles). He averaged under 6 innings a start, not a great stat, but still decent. Perhaps most importantly, he seemed to solve whatever head issues he was experiencing early in the season and regain his confidence, a critical piece for any Rockies pitcher.
2. Jhoulys Chacin
There were a lot of disappointing ends to the season for various Rockies pitchers in 2014, but Chacin’s might have been the worst. After missing all of spring training, he returned at the beginning of May and started 8 games before recording a win. That win, on June 12th in Atlanta, would be his only one in 2014, and really his only good start before he went on the DL again. He never quite looked like himself. Still, we’ve seen flashes of brilliance from Chacin in nearly every season, and he is still my choice to be the Rockies’ next ace. His ceiling is higher than DLR’s. If he can work out his injury stuff for good this offseason and start spring training with the rest of the team, 2015 could be a great season for him.
3. Tyler Matzek
Matzek is another guy who earned his spot. One of the best stories of 2014 was watching this 2009 draft pick, who struggled so mightily in the minors, find his footing in the show. Some of his numbers make him look unsuccessful, but here are a few that might help: a nearly 50% groundball rate, the lowest HR/9, HR/FB rates, and FIP among the 8 pitchers who started at least 10 games for the Rockies in 2014, and a full 2.0 WAR despite pitching only 142 innings. Matzek has great stuff, and we have every reason to believe he will only get better.
4. Jordan Lyles/?????
I’m not sold on Lyles being the #4. He had some terrific starts in 2014, but he had a lot more crummy ones. He also missed about 2 months with a broken hand. Luckily, that was a freak injury, not one likely to flare up again as Chacin’s and Tyler Chatwood‘s have. Lyles’s stats are very similar to DLR’s across the board, meaning he has the potential to provide that level of consistency for us. Other possibilities for this spot include Brett Anderson (I’m hoping we don’t re-sign him), Morales (ditto), and Chad Bettis (please God no). Or, could Bridich go out and get a solid back-end starter from another team? That’d be nice …
5. Eddie Butler
I thought Butler was called up way too soon this past summer, and I still think that. However, he did turn in a solid start when he was recalled in September, holding the Diamondbacks to 1 run over 6 innings. Butler pitches to contact and just needs to keep developing so that hitters are making weak contact. With the proper coaching, this is very possible; Butler has great stuff. I’m still not 100% sure I want him to break camp with the Rockies, but I definitely think he is more ready now than he was in his debut. I’m comfortable with him taking a low-stakes spot in the back of the rotation and continuing to grow.
There you have it. Of course, all of these guys could be attacked by a herd of water buffalo in the next five minutes, meaning I just wasted the last hour. Such is the life of a sports blogger.