Label me, I’ll label you, so I dub thee DLR

I don’t know if Jorge de la Rosa refused to sign a baseball card, stole somebody’s lunch money, kissed someone’s daughter, stiffed someone on a tip, held up an “I hate Donald Trump” sign, or screwed up someone’s fantasy league. I don’t really care why some RWOers have labeled him. And, I’m not too fond of Drew Goodman’s “de la” shorthand, it just doesn’t sound right. By whatever label, statistically, DLR is the Rockies’ best starting pitcher. Let’s do this by the numbers:

His 4.10 FIP leads starters. He leads the club in strikeouts, and the source of that is three things: his mix is fastball/cutter/splitter, his fastball has the best horizontal movement on the club, 7.5″, and he has the highest swinging strike percentage at 11.8% and the lowest contact rate at 74.5%.

Juvenile name calling aside, the knocks I hear are his pace, he’s “soft”, and he’s not an “ace”.

Pace is easily quantified. Bettis gets the ball and fires, 19.9 sec. DLR and Kendrick are both in the 24 range. DLR does slow down drastically when runners are on base. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. He is controlling his emotions and the sequence.

“Soft” is what soft does. We know in earlier years, he’d lose it between the ears. I agree, this 2015 finger cut issue is irritating, but he’s the only guy on staff throwing a splitter which is probably not helping the issue at all. (Yes, Tuf-Skin is still sold. Crazy Glue works for broken nails but it isn’t the best choice for cuts.) The groin issue was real and we seem to be past that. He’s peaked out in 2009 at 185 IP, and 184.1 last year, but other than that he’s not a horse. His career average for innings/start is 5.5, his best year was 2010 at 6.1, and he’s at 5.4 this year. He can’t be counted on to go super deep, and never has been.

“Ace” is a tough label at Coors. The fact is DLR has had more success than many. Many have tried, few have survived. Pedro Astacio wasn’t the prototypical ace but played it well on TV. Jason Jennings didn’t do it long enough. Aaron Cook was not exactly a #1, either. Personally, I would have liked Ubaldo to hang around, but that’s neither here nor there. Importing has failed completely. Until another ace develops, we don’t have one.

In 2015, the only two guys above .500 in team W/L % – outcomes of games they start, not decisions they get – are Bettis at .636, and DLR at .615. (Sorry, Matzek doesn’t qualify.)

I’d prefer the label “stopper” for DLR, the guy who can halt a bad outing streak from the rest of the rotation. On any other team, he’s not a #1, but on this rotation, right now, he is.

Kyle Kendrick. Rocket launcher. Innings eater. Loss guarantor. Only good news is we got him out of the #1 matchup situations, and he does stay in games and take abuse.
Chris Rusin. The guy with the best quality start % and the best IP/start at 6.0. Gets huge run support, allowing him to stay in games longer.
Chad Bettis. Mostly solid and developing, good story, best value right now. Still throwing up occasional snowman against power offenses. It’s a learning process.

And now we have a mess with Hale going down. I tweeted way before game time last night we were getting a piggyback, nothing more, out of Germen and Laffey. I don’t know why people were shocked at that, the intent was never to let Germen go for long – not stretched out at all, and never has been. Maybe it was because they were up against Shelby Miller and we expected the worst.

It may finally be Jon Gray time when that slot comes up – but that won’t be until after the ASG.

There is still one stopgap measure: John Lannan. I think they might be saving him in case another injury occurs. There’s the possibility Eddie Butler comes back, but it appears he still has a lot of work to do (just look at the WHIP).

Bring your numbers, and not Wonderlic scores or off-field anecdotes, to the DLR debate.

Here’s the lineups for today’s scheduled 6 inning DLR outing. There’s that Arenado guy in the 2 hole again, and it’s a day game. Hopefully the offense got a scouting report on Matt Wisler.

Atlanta Braves
CF Cameron Maybin (R)
2B Pedro Ciriaco (R)
RF Nick Markakis (L)
1B Chris Johnson (R)
3B Juan Uribe (R)
LF Jonny Gomes (R)
SS Andrelton Simmons (R)
C Ryan Lavarnway (R)
P Matt Wisler (R)

CF Charlie Blackmon (L)
3B Nolan Arenado (R)
SS Troy Tulowitzki (R)
RF Carlos Gonzalez (L)
C Michael McKenry (R)
1B Ben Paulsen (L)
2B DJ LeMahieu (R)
LF Brandon Barnes (R)
P Jorge de la Rosa (L)


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6 years ago

Thank you Dinger for an excellent article on DLR. I’ve gotten frustrated often when finger or groin issues arise, but I’ve never forgotten how he many games the Rox win when he starts. In my mind he is in the Coors Pitcher Hall of Fame. I believe he is practically the only pitcher who lasted as long as he did at Coors without a TJ or shoulder injury. Truly a Coors Field ace. Rockies developers heed his word: you must… Read more »

6 years ago

W what’s the matter with you Walt Weiss? DLR did not bat in B6, yet you remove him for 7th inning in favor of wild Rex Brothers?

6 years ago

New call up, tie game, WW says, “sounds good”

6 years ago

Hate to see the Grilli injury.

DJ to start All-Star game.

Tulo named to All-Star team.

6 years ago

I’ve always been a fan of De La Rosa and i’ve aways referred to him as The DeaLeR…that’s my nickname for him from way back and i will always think of him as such. He does get a bad rap around here from some, but the only major issue i have with the kid is how much he “adjusts” his jock-strap during a game – come on, this is supposed to be a kid friendly show!!! 🙂

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