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The Colorado Rockies are giving their rotation a facelift and - perhaps - asking a couple of their pitchers to engage in their own version of "The Hunger Games." Former Cleveland Indians prospect Alex White and once touted Rockies prospect Christian Friedrich will join the club's rotation early this week.
White may deserve consideration in very deep mixed leagues already. He was 1-3 for Triple-A Colorado Springs but had a 2.92 ERA, a 7.66 K/9 and a 2.92 BB/9, with no home runs allowed. The righty has continued to induce ground balls more than half the time, which as has been mentioned before both fits the club's philosophy and bodes well for anyone who pitches at Coors Field.
Friedrich has battled injuries for the past couple of years and did not pitch well when healthy, but Colorado pushed the left-hander to Triple-A this season. His peripheral marks in previous seasons were solid despite some bad results. Very deep mixed leaguers should watch him because he likely has more upside than White, but even NL-only players are taking a gamble right now.
For the SkySox this year, Friedrich began 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA, a 8.10 K/9 and a 1.20 BB/9. Of particular interest is his vastly improved control rate; even if it doubled, it would still be by far the best mark he's posted at any level. His lack of experience above Double-A ball is likely to work against him in some manner. He coaxes grounders often, too, but not quite at the rate that White does.
The Rockies had one opening because last week they demoted Jhoulys Chacin, whom they've since placed on the big league disabled list with an undisclosed ailment. It'll be quite some time before the young right-hander is ready to rejoin the parent club.
Jeremy Guthrie (sprained right shoulder) is expected to go on a rehab assignment soon and threatens to take one of these youngsters' rotation spots when he's activated. That may give each of them only one start, maybe two, to make his case.
The safer bet of the two young hurlers to stick around is White, who didn't have good results when he debuted last season. He has a chance to be a solid NL commodity this year and could help round out a staff in a deep mixed affair if he proves that he's ready to take on MLB hitters again. Friedrich could succeed on talent alone and make Colorado's decision, if they even have one, tough. He should be stashed in NL formats, at minimum, anyway.
Both players face the San Diego Padres, who particularly struggle against southpaws, so either could be a solid spot start in very deep leagues this week.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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