Rockies Bold Predictions: Surprise pitcher will be the team's best in 2024

Could the hard throwing righty be in line for a breakout 2024?

Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

The former fourth rounder out of Ohio State, 27-year-old right hander Ryan Feltner debuted in 2021 and has impressed with his high 90's velocity mixed with a curveball, slider, and now a changeup. The stuff has never been the issue with Feltner up to this point in his career, but the ability to control and effectively place pitches has been less than desirable, leading to a high ERA in his first season as a member of the rotation in 2022, ending at 5.83. During that season, he surrendered 16 home runs and 35 walks in 19 games started.

Early on in the 2023 season, it was looking to be more of the same, as Feltner was still being bitten by the big inning, bloating his ERA and WHIP. A Nick Castellanos line drive off the back of his head, leading to a fractured skull and a concussion, would effectively end his season, though he would miraculously come back for a start against San Diego in late September, in which his fastball was sitting around 98.

Feltner's biggest issue early in his career has been consistency, and if Feltner learns how to better control damage and keep away from the big inning, there is nothing to say he shouldn't be the Rockies best arm in 2024; and though some would say being the best pitcher on the Rockies, is kind of like being valedictorian when you are homeschooled, there is still something to be said about being the best pitcher on any major league staff, and that is exactly what I expect Ryan Feltner to be in 2024.

Coming into 2024, Feltner enters his third full year and is due for a breakout. He has looked good this spring with a fastball sitting around 97, and he has reportedly decided to lean more into the "power pitcher" role and has effectively replaced his sinker with a four-seam fastball, which, while straighter, will be thrown harder than a sinker, and for a pitcher with the kind of velo that Feltner has, that is most certainly the right move.

Additionally, Feltner has added a changeup, which he threw frequently before being drafted by the *checks notes* Rockies... The changeup will play very well off of his four seamer and will open up the door for him to use his curveball and slider as true secondary pitches and will make his fastball appear that much faster to hitters.

So far in Spring Training Feltner has received praise from manager Bud Black, who said "he can make pitches, because he's got good stuff" (print the t-shirts). Although Black has yet to name the opening day starting pitching rotation, it is assumed that Feltner has the edge over Noah Davis and Peter Lambert based simply off the potential of a massive breakout for Feltner, which he seems primed for.

Ryan Feltner will be the Rockies best pitcher in 2024, with a new pitch arsenal, we are going to see a huge improvement in control of his fastball, which carves the path for him to use his off-speed more effectively and will set him up for a huge 2024. I'm talking 30 starts, an ERA under four, over 100 strikeouts, and maybe even a couple complete games thrown in the mix. I have full confidence that THIS will be the year for Feltner, and I know I'm not alone in that sentiment, there is no shortage of confidence within the Rockies organization that this is someone who will be a strong, top of the rotation arm for years to come. Ryan Feltner will be the Rockies best pitcher in 2024, and if he is not, I'll hope you haven't read this article!

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