Apr 21, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Tyler Matzek (15) delivers a pitch in the third inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-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: Tyler Matzek.
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Tyler Matzek had a rough beginning to 2014, but by the end of the year, he asserted himself in his final six starts and became the Rockies’ best pitcher down the stretch.
A former top prospect, Matzek has always dealt with bouts of wildness, but he’s also thrown well in the minors and big leagues, and is fast becoming a staple in the Rockies’ rotation. Is he due for a full-season breakout this year, or a regression? Let’s examine…
What The Numbers Say
FanGraphs lists various projection systems, which you can learn more about here.
Projections think Matzek will start most, if not all, of the season for the Rockies, ranging from about 30 starts (ZiPS) down to the low to mid 20s (Steamer). Interestingly, both projection systems are bullish on him having a similar year to 2014, regressing just a little bit but not as much as I’d expect.
Both systems think he’ll walk between 3.8 and 4.5 batters per nine innings, and both believe he’ll strike out more than seven batters per nine, which would be significantly higher than his rookie year.
Call to the Pen
Matzek’s best-case scenario involves, well, staying in the rotation all season. Assuming Jon Gray comes up to the big leagues at some point during the season, he’s going to take someone’s starting rotation spot (most likely because of ineffectiveness, but, you know, there’s always an injury potential with the Rockies, too).
Anyways, a best-case scenario involves Matzek keeping his spot all season, and making 30+ starts that are somewhat similar to the final six he made last year. He won’t duplicate those numbers (I mean, if he did, he’d win the Cy Young Award), but a strong continuation of last year’s numbers could solidify him in the Rockies’ rotation for the next few years.
Matzek has dealt with a lot of wildness in the past as a minor leaguer, walking 8.5 hitters per nine innings across his minor league career. It’s not inconceivable that he could find himself wild again this season, especially considering the walks and hit batsmen he’s allowed already this season.
Let’s hope he doesn’t burn the Rockies with free passes like he did several straight seasons in a row before reaching the pinnacle.
I’m very high on a Matzek regression; he ended the season so strongly last year and finished with solid numbers for a starter, but I think he’s a prime candidate to regress away from what he did in 2014 for the Rockies.
An ERA in the high 4.00s, 5+ walks per nine innings, and maybe… just maybe he loses his spot in the starting rotation to Jon Gray.
Let’s hope that regression doesn’t include a total fall off the horse.
Give us your predictions!