Colorado Rockies’ Jorge De La Rosa Is Quietly Reinventing Himself

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Jun 13, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher J. De La Rosa (29) congratulated by team in dugout after he scored a run during the third inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies’ ace is throwing his pitches differently in 2015, and it’s leading to higher strikeout rates and, yet again, a reinvented career.

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Jorge De La Rosa has been the Colorado Rockies’ ace almost since the day he joined the club way back in 2008. Except for a calendar year he lost away from the game while dealing with Tommy John surgery, De La Rosa has been one of the Rockies’ only bright spots on the mound for the last seven years.

He’s had great seasons spoiled early by injury (2011, the surgery), pretty damn good full seasons (2009), and really good full seasons (2013). Oh, and the average year (2008, 2010, 2014) hasn’t been too bad for him, either.

But as he ages, things about De La Rosa’s game seem to be subtly changing, and the pitcher is reinventing himself a little bit to prolong his success in the big league as he nears 35 years old.

In 2015, through 16 starts entering Monday night’s game, De La Rosa is on pace for 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings. As a starter, that’d be his second-highest strikeout rate, only behind the 8.9 K/9 he put up in 2008. Plus, 2015’s rate is significantly higher than his last two seasons, at 6.8 (2014) and 6.0 (2013) strikeouts per nine innings.

To do that, he’s also walking batters at a higher rate than he has in his entire career with the Rockies (as it stands today, his 4.5 walks per nine innings in 2015 would be his all-time high in Denver), while giving up fewer hits per nine inning (8.2) than his career big league average (8.8).

So what’s driving these rates and De La Rosa’s success; are they outliers that we should even be focused upon; and, how is the lefty actually missing more bats, even as he gets older?

Next: De La Rosa's Become More Deceptive To Hitters