Down On The Farm: Yohan Flande


July 6, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Yohan Flande (58) delivers a pitch in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Remember Yohan Flande? He’s in the starting rotation in AA New Britain, and he’s arguably the best pitcher in the Colorado Rockies’ organization so far this year. 

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Yohan Flande made his Major League debut with the Colorado Rockies last summer, and while he finished with bad numbers on a bad team, he threw a lot of innings when the club needed him and showed he was actually pretty decent coming out of the big league bullpen in short stints.

Now, he’s back in the Rockies’ organization, pitching in the starting rotation at AA New Britain. Oh, yeah, and he’s the best pitcher in the Rockies’ organization after his first few starts.

In five starts (30.2 IP), he’s allowed 26 hits and just three walks (0.946 WHIP), with just seven runs (six earned) against 27 strike outs. A 27:3 K:BB ratio and a 4-0 record with a 1.76 ERA is dominant.

Obviously, Flande is better than AA. As we’ve seen last year, he may not be good enough to stick in the big leagues, at least as a starter (his splits were far better in relief last summer, and I believe he’d be a good long reliever in the big leagues if he only had to face hitters once or twice in a game). But, he’s at least earned the right for a promotion to Albuquerque.

Flande is 29 years old – more than four years older than the average player he’s facing in AA. If the Rockies didn’t see any value in him as a 29-year old minor leaguer, they could have easily cut him loose in the winter, or at the end of Spring Training.

But they kept him around for a reason when guys his age and skill level are a dime a dozen, and they stashed him in AA as one of their “organizational depth” pieces presumably with some plan in mind.

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In light of how well he’s throwing, and how poorly pitchers above him in both AAA and the big leagues have been doing, it’s time to give him a shot in Albuquerque and see what happens.

Leaving him to lay waste in New Britain doesn’t do the organization any favors, it doesn’t help Flande’s career, and it hinders the development of some younger pitcher who could be in New Britain’s rotation right now.

Let him sink or swim in Albuquerque, and if he swims… you might be looking at a future Rockies’ long reliever, which is probably where Flande should have fit from the very beginning.

UPDATE, Saturday May 9th, 8:45 pm: After posting this, Flande made us look oh so very good, tossing a complete game one-hit shut out Saturday afternoon in New Britain to lower his ERA to 1.36. Seriously, call the dude up to Albuquerque. Give him a shot.