How close is Colorado to putting something fantasy-worthy in the rotation?
Now that Jim Tracy and his four-man deal are history, the Rockies are a little closer.
Jorge De La Rosa is more than a year and a half removed from Tommy John surgery. Throw out his limited numbers from 2012 - which are completely useless as far as his projection is concerned - and recall that, before the injury, he was making steady, seemingly long-term progress in BB/9. The TJS procedure and corresponding rehab program have become commonplace, so the effects on performance after a pitcher returns aren't so drastic. Fantasy owners may have all but forgotten about this potentially high-strikeout lefty, and he's a worthwhile sleeper.
Beyond him are no reasons to be excited, however. (That'd remain true if the organization were to sign Derek Lowe, in case you were wondering.) The combination of the ballpark and the franchise's poor track record in development (which is also, to some degree, the fault of the ballpark) just don't make their hurlers attractive. Still. Yeah, it's true. Shocking, huh?
Righty Jhoulys Chacin displayed a lot of promise in 2010 but has since seen his K/9 plummet. Last season, his pitches had no life, and he struggled to keep the ball down and was sent to the minors. Upon his return, he was much more effective, although he wasn't manufacturing the K's.
Southpaw Drew Pomeranz has the pedigree and polish and made big-time strides in K/9 as well as BB/9 in the second half of 2012. He may be closest to realizing some semblance of upside for the Rockies, despite his lack of pro experience.
Serious injuries have cut right-hander Juan Nicasio's season short two years in a row. His resume includes great K/9 and BB/9 proficiency, particularly in the minor leagues. Those items will hint at future success, but it'll be difficult to achieve (at any rate, in Colorado) because he's so hittable.
And, of course, there's always the slight possibility that Jeff Francis remains healthy and doesn't stink.
Those on the outside looking in have similarly depressing-yet-hopeful stories, all of which end at the Mile High Stadium. But, at minimum, the Rockies' rotation should feature a few arms with above-average ability. In some cases, it was there once and may reappear; in others, it has put one on the verge of a potential breakthrough. Don't write any of them off, but don't set high expectations, either.
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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