In only the most difficult task I could place on myself, I asked to help select RoxPile’s pitcher of the year for the Colorado Rockies.
If there was ever an article one could write that would need a montage, it would be this one. A slow guitar melody plays as I pour over paper after paper, my head sweating and the night turning to day behind me. “Connor!” my nonexistent wife would call from the bedroom. “Come to bed, honey.”
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I shake her off. She doesn’t understand what I’m going through.
Finally, after long hours and neglecting my fictional family beyond repair, I hold up one single sheet of paper with one name on it.
“This is it,” I say. “The answer I have been waiting for.”
I know this may be a bit of a stunning selection. Matzek struggled through many of his 19 starts in 2014 and his value may be in the future projections, but he had quality starts in six of his final seven appearances. He was the best pitcher on staff through the month of September, including a three hit shutout at home against the Padres on September 5th.
The 23-year-old lefty was dominant, not allowing more than three earned runs in his final seven starts, racking up nearly half his season total of strikeouts in that time period with 43 and never showing the control issues that labored his starts previously and forced his call up to wait until 2014.
Now, this might be the time people start to comment: “You’re picking your best pitcher based on one month of starts!” And that’s true, I am. But what other Rockies pitcher deserves a mention? What else are you supposed to do with this team after that season?
But neither of them had the impact Matzek had. If he hadn’t had the seven starts he had, providing the Rockies a solid starting option, the team would absolutely be staring down a 100 loss season and the promise of the rotation would be even bleaker without him.
The excitement and promise of Matzek may outweigh his 2014 contributions, but the young left hander easily contributed the most to an abysmal Rockies pitching year and is now the RoxPile Pitcher of the Year for 2014.