Apr 8, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Colorado Rockies pitcher Eddie Butler (31) pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-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: Eddie Butler.
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Eddie Butler broke on to the scene for the Colorado Rockies last summer as a much-ballyhooed prospect, but disappointed in a very short stint in Denver while managing to injure himself in the process.
In 2015, much bigger things are expected of both him and Jon Gray, as they represent the future of the Rockies’ rotation and some of the (faint) hopes Rockies fans may have of their club becoming an all-around team known for more than just doubles and dingers.
What The Numbers Say
FanGraphs lists various projection systems, which you can learn more about here.
Butler is the first player we’ve Crystal Ball’d who has very differing ideas in the projection system. Steamer believes he’ll start 10 games for the Rockies this summer; ZiPS believes he will take the hill in 24 tilts.
Either way, neither system projects him to throw very well, with ERA and FIP numbers hovering around 5.00, his strikeouts per nine innings below 6.00, and batters hitting anywhere from .276 to .289 off him this summer. Yikes.
Call to the Pen
In a best-case scenario, Butler asserts himself as the future and, hopefully along with Gray, starts 30 games for the Rockies this summer and keeps himself in the Rookie of the Year conversation.
12+ wins and an ERA and FIP around 4.10 (think similar to what Tyler Matzek did last season, in some ways, but across more innings and with better peripheral numbers) would be a monster year for Butler and something Rockies fans could be excited about for the future.
Butler’s worst-case scenario this year would be similar to what we see last season and/or this spring: general ineffectiveness mixed with poor strikeout numbers (he struck out just 1.69 batters per nine innings in a very limited sample last year), combined with shoulder injuries and fatigue.
In a worst case, he starts fewer than ten games and struggles mightily.
In doing so, that’d make us all question whether he’s a prospect on the cusp of being a big leaguer, or a bust in the making that will never get it together. Struggling in 16 innings in 2014: no problem. The big leagues are difficult! Struggling again as a top prospect in your second chance in 2015? Well… you probably wouldn’t feel as good about it. Remember Chad Bettis?
I’m nervous about Butler as a savior for the club’s rotation, and I think he very well could blow up a little bit and lose some of the shine from his prospect status.
I don’t believe he’ll spend the entire season in the rotation, and I’ll make the call now: in a case of irony, Butler will be replaced by Jon Gray in the rotation at some point in the first month or two of the summer.
Look for him to start 10-15 games and spend a considerable amount of the season in AAA Albuquerque until he truly develops his sinking fastball and reaches the big leagues (for good) in 2016.
Give us your predictions!