Are The Rockies Expecting Too Much From Jhoulys Chacin?

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As the Colorado Rockies try to piece together their starting rotation for the 2015 season, there will be a lot of pressure placed on Jhoulys Chacin.

Are the Colorado Rockies expecting too much from Jhoulys Chacin?

For all of the injury conversations that center around the team’s offensive stars, there is also plenty of focus placed on the fact that Chacin could not stay healthy last year, thereby sabotaging the top of the starting rotation.

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For all of our frustration that Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez cannot stay healthy, there is relative quiet around the fact that starting rotation stud Jhoulys Chacin also cannot stay healthy (not to mention the troublesome injury history of the beloved Jorge De La Rosa).

My sense of the assessment of the Rockies’ situation is that we might be a little quick to glaze over the situation at the top of the starting rotation. The glaring areas of need, if I am gleaning a fair sense of things, are listed as follows:

  • the bullpen
  • a new catcher
  • the back of the rotation

If that is fair, it seems like the leap of faith that we are making with the top of the rotation might be a little unwise.

It is without question that Chacin and De La Rosa are immensely important to the Rockies. They both have proven track records as starting pitchers in Colorado, something scant few pitchers can actually say.

Consider the fact that Chacin has pitched his entire career in Colorado and has a career 3.78 ERA. Or consider the fact that De La Rosa has pitched for the Rockies since 2008, winning double-digit games in four of those seasons. There are good reasons that the Rockies want to keep these guys around and build their rotation around them.

Unfortunately, they both have also missed extended periods of time due to injuries.

Chacin was limited to 14 starts in 2012 and just 11 starts last season, dealing with shoulder and pectoral injuries. De La Rosa was limited to 10 starts in 2011 before missing essentially the entirety of 2012 after having Tommy John surgery.

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So when people give a rundown of the Rockies’ situation and note that they have De La Rosa and Chacin at the top of the rotation, that duo might be shakier than we want to admit. In De La Rosa’s case, he is coming off an outstanding 2014 season, but there is still plenty of uncertainty with Chacin and how he will look this season.

I believe that people understand Chacin is no sure thing. For example, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post noted that Chacin’s health remains a big question mark near the beginning of the off-season. With that question of health comes a fair question about his effectiveness. If he is not the same guy, then the Rockies might have been taking for granted that they had an option at the top of the rotation that doesn’t end up being there.

And yet, the Rockies are not in pursuit of a front-line starter, at least not at this point. To me it feels like the front office has a checklist for the roster, and as they have prioritized things, they have checked off the lineup (except for catcher), checked off the starting rotation save for adding some depth, and then moved on to their other areas of need.

Maybe that will be OK, but that places an awful lot of pressure on Jhoulys Chacin to come back and be the good version of himself in 2015.

Next: Troy Tulowitzki Won't Be Traded

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