Nick Groke of the Denver Post recently discussed the idea of the Colorado Rockies having a six-man rotation but he still mentioned how Rockies manager Bud Black still is a little bit apprehensive of doing that at the moment. However, in the long term, I think that it could benefit the franchise.
The Colorado Rockies have a plethora of young pitchers that can, and will, make at least a few starts for the Rockies this season.
With those young pitchers, none of them have shown previously that they can pitch more than the 168 innings that Jon Gray pitched in the 2016 season. Part of the reason is due to their health but that is part of the reason why the Rockies should do this: less innings means less chance of getting injured or overworked.
With only using five starters in 162 games (which almost never happens), it would give two starters 33 starts and three of them 32 starts. With a six man rotation, it would give each starter 27 starts. None of the Rockies starters made more than 29 starts in 2017.
Also, tied in with that, the Rockies starters could devote more innings to starts in the postseason. If the Rockies were to use a four man rotation in the postseason (like most teams do) or even a three man rotation for a full postseason slate (which is 20 games if all series are played to the maximum), those starts would be going for another five to seven starts).
So, essentially, if the team does well enough, they would still be making the starts they usually would in the regular season.
Say that does happen. In 2019, the Rockies starting pitchers would not be as worn down entering the new season and less prone to injury.
An example of this is Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians. Combined between the regular season and postseason (in which they went to Game 7 of the World Series), he pitched 249 1/3 innings. Even though he won the American League Cy Young Award last season, he was out for 4 weeks with a back injury.
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What would the rotation look like?
We’ve established that it would help lessen the workload of the starters in the regular season to save them for a long postseason run and it would lessen the chance of an injury but would the Rockies be able to realistically do it? With the potential of the starters, they definitely could. Here’s what the rotation could look like.
Even with the six-man rotation, pitcher Jeff Hoffman would still be on the outside looking in. Also, Yency Almonte, who could be somebody that could be in the Rockies rotation later this year or next year would also be on the outside looking in.
As mentioned in Groke’s article, Bud Black said that it’s not something that the Rockies would do at the moment because because “I still think where our starters are at, mentally and physically, I don’t think they need an extra day’s rest.”
However, if you think about the rotation long term with potential injury concerns and using them for postseason play, the six-man rotation should be heavily considered.