Jun 19, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher J. De La Rosa (29) delivers a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
De La Rosa’s reinvention should be good news for the Rockies.
Jorge is 34 years old with one more season left on his current contract, and while he will surely be the focus of trade talks this winter and next season, the Rockies have a pitcher who’s not afraid of Coors Field, and (most importantly for this little exercise) not afraid to reinvent himself as he ages. This reinvention is allowing De La Rosa to pitch to his strengths and lengthen his success as a starter.
De La Rosa has never been a power pitcher by today’s standards, but for the first few seasons in Colorado, his average fastball clocked in well above 93 mph. Now below 92 mph, De La Rosa has (correctly) recognized that losing nearly two miles an hour on his heater means he has to be more flexible with off-speed pitches.
There’s no reason that flexibility couldn’t give De La Rosa several more very strong seasons in the big leagues, whether or not he’s a member of the Rockies for all of them.
This is also good news for De La Rosa personally, who has already reinvented himself once. Remember, he originally came to Colorado as a player-to-be-named later throwaway in 2008 from the Royals in the Ramon Ramirez trade.
At the time, De La Rosa was a struggling 27-year old who had been dumped by the Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Brewers, and Royals. It’s fair to say he resurrected his career in Denver and made a home here.
Now, as a 34-year-old and soon coming to the inevitable crossroads brought on by the combination of age, physical limitations, and contract years, De La Rosa is reinventing himself again to go with what works (cutters, changeups) and abandon what doesn’t (power fastballs, sliders, curves).
Already a late bloomer once in his career when he came to Denver as a 27-year-old with no only big league failures under his belt, De La Rosa is due for a second resurrection of sorts over the next couple seasons.
Let’s hope, for the Colorado Rockies’ sake, that at least some of that success comes in the purple pinstripes.