Colorado Rockies: The Ideal 2016 Rotation Looks Like This

May 31, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray (55) delivers a pitch in the third inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
May 31, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray (55) delivers a pitch in the third inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Because of injuries, the Colorado Rockies rotation has seemingly changed on a weekly basis this season.

Colorado manager Walt Weiss half-joked recently that roles can be changed at a moment’s notice because of the ever-shifting landscape that is the Colorado Rockies pitching arsenal.

“As we sit here now, that’s how we stand,” Weiss said, referring to who might start and who might be a reliever as the season goes along. “Things change pretty much daily around here. That’s not something where we say, ‘You’re a bullpen guy now.’ That’s not the case. It is as we sit here today.”

Those injuries have shifted some pitchers’ roles around constantly as well. Eddie Butler has gone from being a starter to reliever to starter again while the Rockies continue to search for the hurler who will fill the “long reliever” role.

With Tyler Chatwood going on the disabled list over the weekend, the Colorado pitching staff is once again going into patchwork mode. The aforementioned Butler is expected to move back into the rotation … again … for now.

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With all of the shifting and moving around, plotting the optimal Rockies rotation bears some thought. If injuries were no issue and we knew at the start of the season what we know now, what would the ideal Rockies starting rotation look like?

So far this season, nine Rockies pitchers have started a game. Which of those would make the best rotation in a perfect world? Here are my thoughts…

#1 starter – Jon Gray

When you think back to the fact that Gary didn’t start his first game in 2016 until April 22, it’s truly amazing how far he has risen in a very short amount of time. He leads the rotation in strikeouts with 72 and his WHIP of 1.18 as a starter is only bested by Tyler Anderson, who has a pretty small sample size so far.

Gray has proven he has the makeup to be the staff ace that Colorado envisioned when they drafted him with the third overall pick in 2013.

#2 starter – Tyler Anderson

Let’s face it … the rookie has shown us a lot in a very short amount of time. The southpaw has a 2.25 ERA through his first two starts and has looked at times spectacular during his 12 innings of work. He’s also only walked one batter and struck out 10. Not too shabby.

#3 starter – Tyler Chatwood

Chatwood has been amazing this season, leading the Rockies with eight wins and a 3.15 that no other starter other than Anderson can top. It’s been well documented, but his 5-0 mark and 1.25 ERA away from Coors Field is truly head-shaking.

Much like Gray, there were a lot of questions about Chatwood coming into the season. Also like Gray, he’s answered many of them and outperformed most expectations.

If there’s a Rockies pitcher who could make the All-Star Game, it’s Chatwood.

#4 starter – Jorge De La Rosa

Here’s where things really start to get interesting. Originally, I had Chad Bettis slotted into this spot. However, looking at the last month, I decided to put De La Rosa as the fourth starter. That’s strange to say considering he was Colorado’s Opening Day starter. However, the veteran has clearly been surpassed by Colorado’s next generation of pitchers.

De La Rosa has had his troubles this season but, as he seems to do, he’s heating up as the weather heats up. Over the last 30 days, JDLR is 2-1 with a 4.41 ERA. Considering for the season he’s 3-4 with a 7.61 ERA, you can see exactly how far he’s come as the season keeps progressing.

#5 starter – Chad Bettis

I wavered between Christian Bergman and Bettis in this position, but went with the guy who is currently tied for the most starts on the team (14, with Chatwood).

Bettis has struggled recently but Bergman settling into the long relief role makes more sense than putting Bergman here and assigning Bettis to the bullpen.

No, I don’t feel confident in Butler being in this position any more than I do Jordan Lyles or Chris Rusin, who is 1-4 as a starter in seven tries.

I know some of you reading this are wondering why Jeff Hoffman wasn’t listed in here or considered. I based this solely on pitchers who have already thrown this season for the Rockies. Hoffman will absolutely be a member of the rotation soon, but will have to wait (for now) until we discuss Colorado’s 2017 rotation.

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What do you think? How would you slot the rotation? Let us know in the comments section below.