An Ode to Pitching, Part 1: Jorge De La Rosa

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When I lived in Kansas City, I had an opportunity to interview Royals General Manager Dayton Moore. At the time, KC was in dire need of pitching and had all of this assumed talent in the minors. Moore said he would always look to sign and draft pitching because you should have five good starters at the Major League level and five good starters at the Triple A level.

Fast forward to 2015. The Colorado Rockies has pitching. I’m not sure if you call it good or not, but they do have starters. Problem is, in Colorado more so than anywhere else, starters get hurt.

When the Rockies broke camp for Opening Day, they had Kyle Kendrick, Jordan Lyles, Eddie Butler, Tyler Matzek and Christian Bergman. All of whom have started.

When the Isotopes broke camp, they had  Jorge De La Rosa (on Rehab), Jon Gray, Chad Bettis, Chris Rusin, Jair Jurrjens and John Lannan. All of whom have started.

Since Opening Day, the Rockies have needed four replacement starters and the Topes, partly due to the Rockies needs, have needed seven replacement starters. Combined there have been 22 starters for the two teams.

So have there been ten good starters between the two teams, like Moore says an organization needs? This series will look deep into it. We’ll start with the top candidates to fill in the ten spots. Up first, Jorge De La Rosa.

Jorge De La Rosa: 2 starts at ABQ in rehab, no decisions, 9 innings pitched, 9 hits, 3 Earned Runs, 7 Ks and three walks. In Colorado,  6 starts, 1-2 record, 6.51 ERA. He has struck out 31 in 27.2 innings. He has allowed 22 runs on 30 hits with 15 walks.

The season started rough both in rehab and back at the majors for De La Rosa. His first start for the Rockies, on April 20th against San Diego, was just 2 innings allowing 7 runs on 9 hits. He would take the loss. He’d then have a 5 inning start against the Giants allowing two runs and striking out seven. Next came a rematch with San Diego with another loss waiting. He would allow just 3 runs on five hits in five innings but struck out nine in a much improved start.

The improved De La Rose would then have a set back against the Dodgers, allowing 5 runs on 5 hits in four innings. He would walk six, while only striking out four.

His next start would be his best. De La Rosa would blank the Philadelphia Phillies, allowing only 2 hits in 7-and-a-third innings. He would strike out three. But just when things were looking up for De La Rosa, disaster would strike. A cut finger on his pitching hand would shorten his next start and force him to be skipped a start, opening the door for a great start by Chris Rusin. More on him in an upcoming piece. De La Rosa’s next start could be against those same Phillies that he posted his best start of the year against.

“We wanted to wait the last few days to see how that cut healed and make a decision,” Weiss said. “We’re going to push him back a couple of days.”

De La Rosa is the twelve million dollar man and needs to preform as such. There is a $12M team option for next year, that I am sure De La Rosa would like to earn and the Rockies would like him to be good enough to earn it. If you are an advanced stats kind of person, $12 Million is approximately a WAR of 2.5, which he could easily do with a solid run the rest of the way.

De La Rosa gets an incomplete, more information needed, to see if he fits in as one of the ten necessary starters. De La Rosa should be one of the ten and if he’s not, it will be a huge setback for the Rockies which need an anchor at the top of their rotation.

Up Next: David Hale. A quick note on Hale. After his excellent start in Colorado, he was sent back to Albuquerque, not because of his own fault but because there was no opening in the Rotation. He had an excellent start back for Albuquerque on Thursday.

We are working with the Isotopes to have David join us on “Talking Topes with Troy” part of the Friday “Sports Bar” on 610 KNML, beginning at 5:35 p.m. Mountain Time. I hope you all listen on the website or locally on 610. David has been amazing to interview in the past and I expect nothing different tomorrow.

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