Kyle Freeland of the Colorado Rockies put together an amazing season in 2018. Now, could that success equal an opportunity for the Rockies to lure in other starting pitchers in free agency?
It has long been thought that Denver’s altitude and the challenges of pitching there would be a deterrent for many starting pitchers who might look at the Colorado Rockies in free agency. The thought of inflated earned run averages by pitching at a mile above sea level has often been used as a reason why a big-time free agent would choose another location other than Denver as his new home. However, Freeland proved this season that starting pitchers can succeed at altitude.
Freeland pieced together the best season ERA ever logged by a Rockies pitcher, piecing together a 2.85 ERA in 33 starts covering 202.1 innings in 2018. The 25-year-old southpaw was particularly effective pitching in his hometown of Denver, posting a 10-2 record and 2.40 ERA at Coors Field. Opposing batters hit just .228 against him overall in Denver last season.
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It is logical to think that this certainly will be used when recruiting other free agent starting pitchers to come to Denver. Among those names in 2019 are Dallas Keuchel, Patrick Corbin, Lance Lynn and even possibly Clayton Kershaw. Now that the thought of “starters can’t succeed at altitude” has been broken and the Rockies are positioned to once again compete for the National League West in 2019, could it be the proverbial “perfect storm” that could help the Rockies land another frontline pitcher to already go along with a strong rotation?
Colorado’s rotation could certainly receive a boost from landing a veteran starter who could pitch alongside Freeland, German Marquez, Tyler Anderson, Jon Gray and Antonio Senzatela. With Freeland’s season as a blueprint for success in Denver, the chances of landing a starter may have been upped.
The Rockies have not spent big on starting pitching since the Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton debacle. Could that change soon? Possibly … and it is even more possible now that the hometown kid has proven that one can pitch very effectively at Coors Field.