Colorado Rockies 2015 Crystal Ball: Jordan Lyles

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Sep 26, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jordan Lyles throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

As the season gets underway, RoxPile.com is making some fun (but completely unqualified!) predictions about how members of the Colorado Rockies will fare this summer. In this edition: Jordan Lyles.

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Jordan Lyles was just beginning to assert himself as a member of the Colorado Rockies rotation in 2014 after a solid start, when a freak non-throwing hand injury disrupted his season.

As such, he still started 22 games last year, and did well enough in those starts (7-4, 4.33 ERA, 4.22 FIP, 51.7% ground ball rate and a career-low .258 batting average against).

Now just 24 years old, it looks like Lyles could possibly become a solid mid-rotation starter with the Rockies if last year was any indication.

What The Numbers Say

FanGraphs lists various projection systems, which you can learn more about here.

FanGraphs believes Lyles is going to regress this season, tossing higher ERA and FIP numbers and significantly higher opponents’ batting averages than his career averages and his 2014 season.

They also think he’ll only start around 24 games for the club, so we’ll see if he lasts the entire season in the rotation (whether due to injury or being replaced).

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  • Best-Case Scenario

    In a best-case scenario, Lyles could, as I mentioned above, assert himself as part of the Rockies’ future and win 15 games this summer.

    It’s not out of the realm of possibility considering his age, experience, and where he was going last year before the left hand injury.

    It’s not the most likely situation, of course.

    But a 15-10 (or so) season with an ERA right around 4.00 across 30+ starts and 190+ innings would be a career year for Lyles and an incredible help to a team that needs a consistent rotation.

    Worst-Case Scenario

    Lyles could also absolutely blow up early, make eight starts, and be banished to Albuquerque early this summer. In his career, batters hit .273 off him, and his career ground ball rate is below 50%, which is a bad thing for a pitcher in Coors Field.

    Plus, he doesn’t strike out many guys (6.9 per nine innings), and he doesn’t miss many bats (an 84% career contact rate), so his margin of error on balls in play isn’t great. Depending on how he locates pitches, things could certainly get away from him early.

    I think we’ll know by the end of April if the worst-case scenario comes true for Lyles, if he starts the year 1-3 with a 6.00ish ERA.

    And look on the bright side! Jon Gray probably replaces him, right? That’d be awesome!

    Crystal Ball

    Lyles, in my very humble and quite often hilariously incorrect opinion, will be a surprise for the Rockies this season. I think this will be the first year he spends the entire summer in the big leagues. He’ll start 32 games, win 14 of them, throw more than 180 innings, have an ERA at 4.15, and hold down a spot in the rotation all summer.

    He won’t wow anybody (he’s not Opening Day Kyle Kendrick, you guys!), but he will get about 17 outs every fifth day, and keep the club in games all summer.

    There’s some value to that.

    Give us your predictions!

    Comment below, find us on Facebook, or tweet us @RoxPileFS and let us know. You can also use the hashtag #RoxCrystalBall.

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