From today’s season preview of the Colorado Rockies…
How much of an improvement will the Rockies rotation overhaul be in 2012?
Let’s do a quick recap of the Rockies rotation.
IN: Jeremy Guthrie, Drew Pomeranz,Tyler Chatwood
OUT: Aaron Cook, Jason Hammel, Kevin Millwood, Esmil Rogers, Alex White
INCUMBENT: Juan Nicasio, Jhoulys Chacin
The five starters no longer in the Rockies rotation combined for a 5.67 ERA and a 1.51 strikeout to walk ratio. That’s….really, really not good. Of the three new Rockies starters, the only one of them without significant major league experience in 2011 was Pomeranz, who spent time with four different clubs in 2011, totaling 119 1/3 innings with a 2.34 ERA and a 3.07 strikeout to walk ratio. Guthrie had a 4.33 ERA and a 1.97 strikeout to walk ratio. Chatwood spent most of his season in the Angels rotation, though he did get some time in AAA, and had a 4.78 ERA and a 1.04 strikeout to walk ratio.
The Rockies new rotation looks a lot better than the old, but a lot of that depends on Pomeranz, the crown jewel of the Ubaldo Jimenez trade last July. If Pomeranz struggles, this new rotation could look a lot like the same. Chatwood is a throroughly unimpressive young starter, who walked nearly as many as he struck out last seaosn. Guthrie is capable of eating innings, something this Rockies rotation lacks. Guthrie has thrown over 200 innings in three straight seasons. The injury-ravaged Rockies featured just three pitchers that threw more than 100 innings last year, and only one of those three (Chacin) returns for 2012. At worst, he’ll add some veteran presence and stability to the rotation.
While the Rockies new rotation might not be worlds better than the 2011 rotation, they’re taking the correct steps forward. By jettisoning unimpressive veterans Cook and Millwood, the rotation is getting younger. Hammel was dealt for Guthrie, a more proven commodity who survived in the pressure cooker that is the AL East. Rogers is being moved to the bullpen, where his 94 mph fastball could result in him ending up as a closer or a dominant setup man. And then there’s White, the other top prospect in the Jimenez trade, who was dominant when healthy in the minors in 2011, but struggled in the majors. The DUI he got this offseason could hamper his progress in Colorado, though.
Colorado is at least on the right track in 2012. Their new rotation lacks veteran presence like they’ve had in the past, but they more than make up for it in upside. Pomeranz-Chacin-Nicasio is a solid core three, and they could surprise a lot of people in 2012.