With Kyle Freeland throwing earlier today for the Colorado Rockies, all of the primary candidates for Colorado’s fifth starter position have now seen action in the spring.
While it’s still very early and there’s still plenty of time before the Opening Day roster is shaken out, let’s take a look at some of the candidates and what they’ve done to impress (or not) as the calendar prepares to turn to March.
Freeland took the mound for the Rockies on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers and had a tough outing. The 23-year-old left-hander gave up four runs (three earned) and two hits and also walked two batters in his two innings of work. One of those hits was a two-out, three-run homer to Henry Ramos that accounted for all of the Dodgers’ runs in the second inning.
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German Marquez allowed two hits and no runs in his first spring start, part of a loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
Chris Rusin got the start against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday and gave up just one run over two innings.
Those have been the three pitchers who could potentially be the fifth starter who have gotten starts in spring training. Another candidate is Jeff Hoffman, who surrendered three hits and an unearned run in 1.2 innings of action against the Dodgers in Glendale on Monday.
So who has the early lead in the race for the fifth starter? Marquez looked good in his start and has a lot of potential, plus gained valuable experience at the Major League level at the end of last season. Rusin, however, has experience at Coors Field as well. Last season, he was more effective out of the bullpen (2-1, 2.98 ERA) than starting (1-4, 5.08 ERA). However, Bud Black singled out Rusin’s performance as a starter after Sunday’s outing in this article.
"“Chris pitched well, and he pitched well last year,” Black said. “We are thinking about this fella as a starting pitcher. We know that he’s versatile enough to go back in the bullpen, if needed, and if that’s what’s best for our staff. But (Sunday’s performance) was a snippet of what he can do.”"
There’s still plenty of spring left. However, Marquez and Rusin seem to be the early favorites for the fifth starter role.