2014 Rockies Player Season Review – Juan Nicasio

Colorado Rockies vs the Texas Rangers Juan Nicasio

ONE OF THESE IMAGES IS FROM JUAN PITCHING IN RELIEF AND ONE STARTING. GUESS WHICH IS WHICH. SADLY, IT ISN’T HARD

Even though Juan wont be with the Rockies in 2015, I will give a bit longer of a review on 2014 for this long-term Rockie.

 

Juan had already shown issues with starting in 2013, his first healthy year since his rookie campaign. In 2013 he went 9-9 with an ERA of 5.14 and a WHIP of 1.471. The Rockies already were having their patience challenged with Juan, but that arm has real electricity in it, and from time to time he has shown the ability to be a decent major league starter. And so he earned his rotation spot during spring training in 2014 and many were thinking this would be his break-through season. And it was – we now know he is a reliever.

 

S 14 games 5-5 5.92 ERA 1.589 WHIP .318 BABIP 46/26 K/BB
R 19 games 1-1 3.48 ERA 1.065 WHIP .241 BABIP 17/5 K/BB

 

Juan had a nice start to the season, going 7 innings of 1 ER ball against Arizona on opening day at home. But it was literally all downhill from there. Oh, he had a few great starts still.

 

4-15 @SD 6 innings 6 hits 2 ER 3:1 K/BB
5-1 NYM 7 innings 3 hits 0 ER 2:1 K/BB
5-24 @ ATL 6 innings 2 hits 0 ER 5:4 K/BB

 

 

But when the end came, it came big time. His last four starts were:

5-30 @ CLE 4.2 innings 9 hits 5 ER 2:0 K/BB
6-5 ARI 5.1 innings 11 hits 7 ER 3:1 K/BB
6-10 ATL 3.2 innings 11 hits 10 ER 2:2 K/BB
6-15 @ SFG 2 innings 5 hits 3 ER 2:4 K/BB

 

And remember, they pulled Juan from the rotation just as the pitching staff was becoming the walking wounded, so that tells you just exactly how bad he was.

 

And then he became a reliever. And he was pretty good at it (I had been calling for him to be given the chance to pitch the 8th with an eye towards closer, because his stuff is nasty in short spurts). In his 19 outings he had 5 in which he gave up runs, but only 1 in his final 9 outings. He seemed to always give up a hit every time out (7 hitless), but he was pitching a lot of multiple outings. Juan seemed to have found his place in the game – as a hard throwing reliever who could get a strikeout or could give you multiple innings.

 

As his reliever splits show, a 1.065 WHIP and a BABIP of .241 are pretty impressive. And given how bad this team’s bullpen has been the past 3 years, you figure they would hold onto Juan as a new anchor of the bullpen.

 

Nope. The Rockies traded Juan after taking him off the 40 man roster…to the Dodgers! I already wrote a post on Juan Gone, and I still don’t get it. Okay, I do somewhat. There is a lot of competition for the 40 man roster spots. He is going to make around $2.3 million this year, which is a lot for the 7th or 8th man in the bullpen (I still don’t seem him as being that low in the depth chart). But, he isnt a free agent until 2018. He is a guy you know very well. You saw how good he was in the bullpen. I just don’t get it.

 

So it comes to this. The team believes the guys they have accumulated this offseason (guys like Diaz and Rondon) are better than Juan. They are cheaper than Juan, allowing money to go to starter. And they must see something in his makeup we don’t. Remember, when a team gives up on a power arm like Juan for no easy to see reason, it is probably because they see something in the player that only the current team can see. So I will give Bridich the benefit of the doubt on Juan’s disposal. But if he goes out and give the Dodgers 60 outings of 3 ERA, 1.065 WHIP performance, I am really going to have to ask again what they were thinking.

 

2014 Grade

Starter:   D-. I won’t give Juan an F because he had some nice outings. He was their 5th starter essentially this season and you expect up and down from the 5 spot. But his downs were out of the world bad. Still, give credit for the good games to raise him to a D-.

Reliever: B. Moving from starting which he had done his whole career to relieving isn’t as easy as we think it is. But after having to figure it out in June and July, Juan turned into a really solid reliever in September, and his stuff was pretty nasty at times. Too many outings with runs and lots of traffic to give him an A, but he bailed out an exhausted and hurting bullpen down the stretch to help the team avoid a 100 loss season.

 

Overall Grade: C- Juan shouldn’t have been starting in 2014. Had he been in the bullpen the whole season things would have turned out very differently. If you look at his game logs he had about 50% positive outings both from the pen and the starting spot. So a C- seems fair…and maybe I should have given him a solid C, but when you get pulled from the Rockies rotation in June when it was already a disaster, you really have hurt your team.

 

2015 Projection:

The Dodgers were undone by their bullpen in 2014, despite having former closers all over the place. If their bullpen was better Kershaw is on his way to becoming a playoff stud. Juan will help the Dodgers with that, now that he knows his place and can prepare for it.

 

65 appearance 3-5 3.25 ERA 1.110 WHIP

 

And I bet he has his best nights against the Rockies. Good luck Juan. Remember to duck on those liners.

 

 

 

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