Pitchers Report With Big Questions

Colorado Rockies pitchers and catchers reported for duty this weekend, but until they clear their physical on Monday they are busy shooting commercials for the upcoming season.

If it isn’t too late to submit a suggestion, perhaps the team could shoot a commercial with the pitching staff standing around, looking confused and in pain for about 486 hours, roughly about how long last seasons games lasted.

Going into the Winter Meetings the big news was new manager Walt Weiss and his off-season approach, with most of the front office absent.  When all was said and done, it was as dismal a trip as could be had for a team really hurting on the mound.  The one step forward, two steps back dance in Nashville saw the team relinquish two pitchers for one reliever.  Giving up starter Alex White and minor league pitcher Alex Gillingham for Wilton Lopez, a right-handed reliever with questionable health issues after the Phillies passed on him.

There is upside to Lopez.  He is a ground ball pitcher, unlike last years “big” pickup Jeremy Guthrie, so at least they’ve learned their lesson on that one.  Lopez will complement lefty Brothers in setup situations, giving a one-two punch that could be very effective in front of Betancourt.

But, does the team really need another pitchers with questionable health?  What did the Phillies see in Lopez’ health that drove them to call off a deal that the Rockies didn’t see?

Also, was the bullpen really the place the team needed to focus this off-season?

The potential starting day lineup for the Rockies could look like this:

Jorge De La Rosa
Jhoulys Chacin
Juan Nicasio
Jeff Francis
Drew Pomeranz

 

There are others in-line for the starting five, but let’s look purely at those five. If you remove all of the question marks (health, pitch limits, etc.), then you have to believe it isn’t a bad rotation at all.  Looking back at what these guys can do when healthy and on their game, some of the highlights include:

 

  • De La Rosa: Going on a 16-3 stretch in 2009 to help take the Rockies into the play-off’s.
  • Chacin: Going 8-4 with a 2.81 ERA, which included a complete game shutout of the Cubs, in the first half of the 2011 season.
  • Nicasio: Coming back from a broken neck and major head trauma.  Enough said.
  • Francis: Going 17-9 in the magical 2007 season and then coming back last year to be our most consistent pitcher.
  • Pomeranz:  Drillers debut he pitched seven innings of two hit, no run ball and then he pitched 3 perfect innings two weeks after an emergency appendectomy.

 

Yes, there are many low-lights for each of them, but having watched these guys pitch over the years, you’d have to believe that if the stars aligned that we’d have a pretty potent lineup.

Except the starts haven’t aligned in Colorado for many a moon and the health/pitch limit question mark still covers the night sky to this day.

Which is where Weiss steps in.

Weiss has stated that if the team is to be successful then the big three, De La Rosa, Chacin and Nicasio, have to pitch well.  And while that goes without saying, it was a statement made later in the interview that hinted at what many fans hope to be true (emphasis added):

Everything that has gone on this winter with them has been positive. As far as I am concerned, there will be no limitations. They will hit the ground running.
While the first part of the statement, about them having a good winter workout, is great news it is the second part of the statement  that leads one to believe that either, A) all three are healthy enough to pitch 30+ games this season and/or B) the dreaded pitch limit / piggyback fiasco of 2011 is behind us for good.

While Weiss’ seems to be excited at the prospect of “outlasting the opposing starter”, his philosophy rides on big bats more than shutdown innings.  While that might be exactly what the pitchers need, big numbers on their top of the line, it remains to be seen if that will give them enough confidence to throw strikes consistently.

Ah, but that’s baseball now isn’t it…

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Doc
Doc
7 years ago

Hope springs eternal, Jared, but I’m afraid last year drained away most of my optimism about the Rox. Every year the SMIB tells us not to worry, that the planets will align perfectly and certain players will have career years. This year it seems as if that list of “certain” players has expanded to the entire squad. Nevertheless, I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed.

Bob in WV
Bob in WV
7 years ago

Hope does spring eternal every year, Doc, no matter how unlikely things really seem. It’s one of the beauties of baseball. We each can remember instances of really bad teams one year suddenly having a very good season the next after being picked to be at the bottom in spring training. That brings the hope each year. One thing we can all be optimistic about is that the Rockies can’t possibly be worse than last year. As bad, but no… Read more »

TJinPhoenix
TJinPhoenix
7 years ago
Reply to  jaredean

Pitchers and Catcher report…and I’m stuck in the office. Hoping to go out on Sunday, family schedules permitting. Great that its right around the corner!

jaredean
jaredean
7 years ago
Reply to  TJinPhoenix

Let me know your thoughts when you get out there to see them…hope what i’m hearing is right, that they all look good and healthy and ready to compete…

IggyRox
IggyRox
7 years ago

Happy ST to all! Nice to see springtime on the horizon. While I consider myself a knowledgeable baseball (and Rockies) fan, many of my observations in the past have ended up off the mark… maybe because I grew up on the south side of Chicago for 10 years, then moved to Denver to be a Broncos fan in the late 60’s and 70’s, where losing was an annual tradition and the beginning of each new season brought an optimism steeped… Read more »

GARY
GARY
7 years ago
Reply to  IggyRox

I would consider a .500 season on a par with the “miracle on ice” hockey gold metal!

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
7 years ago

Not saying he will, but I’m betting on DLR being the staff ace now that he’s two years removed from the TJ surgery. I was a huge fan of DLR before the TJ with his command, K rate, and pitching well at Coors.

I think Nicasio is better served by going to the bullpen unless he can show better second and third pitch.

Agbayani
Agbayani
7 years ago

“They won’t lose 90 games this year. They won’t win 90, either. They might be fun to watch. That’s all I want in 2013.” Well said. That’s pretty much all I’m hoping for too. A competitive team that gives us some good moments and some reason to look forward to 2014 and beyond. Actually, Iggy, I agree with you that the path to .500 isn’t that hard to chart out. – Tulo is the Tulo of 2011: .302/.372/.544, 30 HRs,… Read more »

GARY
GARY
7 years ago
Reply to  jaredean

god,I love you guys and this site.Apparently prop 64 has you all smoking the purple bud!I would never presume to argue with Ag or the other positive outlooks above,at least in the season of “hope springs eternal”.My argument would not be to refute the optimism but point out your comments are totally in a bubble of Rockies only.Fellas,have you noticed what the rest of the division did this winter? If you apply the same paradigm to the Dodgers they should… Read more »

IggyRox
IggyRox
7 years ago
Reply to  jaredean

“The press conference today with the 3 (Albert, Mike and Josh) sounded a lot like a revival meeting…a lot of talk about Christ, which I’m not opposed to, but it made me wonder why D’oD didn’t sign these guys for the Rox clubhouse good feelings…” Yes Jared, DOD is all about good feelings, but the closest to Christ he’ll come regarding the Angels studs is looking at their salary and exclaiming “Jesus Christ!”. After all, good character only goes so… Read more »

Cisco Kid
Cisco Kid
7 years ago
Reply to  jaredean

Unfortunately JD, we still have the Three Stooges running the team. That has to detract from some of the positive things that might happen.

GARY
GARY
7 years ago
Reply to  Cisco Kid

Iggy,had me laughing out load with that one,I’m still smiling.

Rocky Mountain High
Rocky Mountain High
7 years ago

Interesting article written by “Cowboy” on mlb.com titled “New age statistics just part of evaluation equation. Basically he’s saying you cannot put too much weight on WAR, BABIP, and other stats. One stat floored me: “Colorado, meanwhile, which had a Major League-worst 5.22 ERA, had the fourth-best pitching WAR in the NL (14.5). Houston, which had the second-worst NL ERA (4.56) had a 5.4 pitching WAR, 14th in the NL, ahead of San Diego (2.5) and the Chicago Cubs (-0.1).”… Read more »

jaredean
jaredean
7 years ago

Going along with what RMH said, I do like reports like this: “Weiss led his pitchers and catchers through their first spring training workout Tuesday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and made one thing certain: His team will play defense, and that will start by turning double plays. Plenty of them. He preached fundamentals in the field, knowing he has the offensive talent to score runs.” LOVE that he is getting them defense minded! ESPECIALLY after how we… Read more »

Jim Moore
Jim Moore
7 years ago

As was said before “hope springs eternal!” I am thinking somewhere between 78 and 84 wins on the year depending on how DLR, Chacin, and Nicasio do coming back from their injuries. I love this site and thoroughly enjoy the intelligent discussion of our favorite team (without all the rancor that you see on other sites such as the Post). Just want to thank JD et al for their hard work and time on the site and the posters for… Read more »

Cisco Kid
Cisco Kid
7 years ago

All this positive vibe of ST may be short lived when it concerns the pitching staff. Already, less than a week into ST you’re reading that Edwar Cabrera has been placed on the 60-day IR with a shoulder injury and Friedrich is behind schedule and only doing long toss because he still hasn’t fully recovered from the back injury that shelved him late last season.

Bob in WV
Bob in WV
7 years ago
Reply to  Cisco Kid

I was thinking the exact same thing, Cisco!

sdcarp
sdcarp
7 years ago

So is any of this group at ST? Any reports? More importantly (because we all know its all about fashion) – what do you guys think about the new BP hat? I think I like it. I’ve never been a fan of the Rocky Mountain logo because I think it’s too busy – but this version of it seems simplified just enough to really work. Get used to it guys – we suck – so we might as well look… Read more »

TJinPhoenix
TJinPhoenix
7 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

Carp-saw them in person today. I have to say they look better in person than I thought they would. I like the logo, but couldn’t see it working on a cap. Not in the “need to buy one” category yet..but better in person than I thought.

sdcarp
sdcarp
7 years ago
Reply to  TJinPhoenix

Right on – I ordered one.

Who knows, they might be a historically significant distraction, sort of like the Disco Album burning at Comiskey, or 10 cent beer nights in Cleveland during the 60’s.

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