The Rockies’ 2011 Rotation

Ubaldo Jimenez, Jhoulys Chacin and Jason Hammel will probably be in the Rockies' 2011 rotation, but the remaining two spots are considerably harder to predict. Jimenez is a Cy Young candidate, Chacin is striking out a batter per inning as a 22-year-old and Hammel is putting together a second consecutive solid season. The Rockies could theoretically fill the rest of the rotation from within, but that's not necessarily what they'll do. Here are their options:

Esmil Rogers and Aaron Cook are under team control for 2011, so Jim Tracy could just slot the pair into the rotation. It's not that simple, though. Rogers recently joined the rotation after pitching out of the bullpen for much of the season and Cook, who is under contract for 2011 at $9.25MM, could become trade bait. The Rockies entertained the idea of trading him this summer, so there's no guarantee that he starts next year in Colorado. 

This could be the final season in Denver for two of the team's most recognizable left-handers. The Rockies have a $7MM option for Jeff Francis but they may decide that's too much to commit to a pitcher who missed all of last year and much of this year with injuries. Francis is on the DL with left shoulder soreness now, but he has struck out three times as many batter as he has walked, so the 29-year-old can pitch when healthy. 

Another left-hander, Jorge de la Rosa, is sure to hit free agency after the season. He missed time early in the year with a finger injury, but has posted solid numbers since. The 29-year-old has a 4.74 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 68.1 innings, which should be enough to attract serious interest in the offseason.

The Rockies probably can't count on Greg Reynolds and Christian Friedrich, a pair of prospects who don't appear to be big-league ready. Many expected Reynolds, the second overall selection in the 2006 draft, to be an option by now, but he is still pitching at AA and his numbers are just OK, so the Rockies certainly aren't about to hand him a rotation spot. 

Friedrich, 23, entered the season as the 33rd-best prospect in the game, according to Baseball America. He has been hittable at AA and his 8.0 K/9 strikeout rate is impressive, but not as eye-catching as the career 12.0 K/9 rate he had going into the season. Meanwhile, 2009 first rounder Tyler Matzek is striking opponents out, but he has posted 6.2 BB/9 batter so far and certainly needs seasoning. 

Letting Francis and De La Rosa walk would leave the Rockies with a thin rotation, especially if they trade Cook. Their best pitching prospects are either adjusting to the upper minors or still in the lower minors, so it's hard to imagine immediate help coming from the system. 

Troy Renck of the Denver Post suggested on Twitter that the Rockies will add a veteran pitcher to next year's rotation. It does seem likely that the Rockies will pursue one or more starting pitchers this offseason, whether that means bringing back Francis, bidding on De La Rosa, or pursuing a different free agent starter.

17 Responses to The Rockies’ 2011 Rotation Leave a Reply

  1. Rex Brothers and Casey Weathers are both coming up as relief pitchers. Neither one has started a game.

  2. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    I think they should re-sign Jeff Francis.

  3. the buccos should make a play for some of these guys. there numbers would look alot better if they didnt play half their games at coors field too

  4. Francis is still decent however he needs to be coached a bit better. Righties absolutely destroy his down and in off speed stuff. He was injured much of the last year and a half. I’d resign him.

    Cooke is intriguing in that he’s a sinker baller. However, he’s not been good at all and has arthritis in his toe.

    We really need to trade some of our prospects. No reason to have Ey, Herrera, Barmes, Chris Nelson all competing for 2B. We could give up on Morales as well and include him.

    Hopefully ownership pays some money

  5. rockiesmagicnumber 5 years ago

    Greg Reynolds is pretty much a lost cause. Tragic, but true.

    • 5_tool_MiLB_fool 5 years ago

      Evan Longoria, Brandon Morrow, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum,

      Need i say more?

      Drew Stubbs, Tyler Colvin, Ian Kennedy

      dammit, just dammit

      • rockiesmagicnumber 5 years ago

        That the Rockies made a poor draft choice? These things happen. Sucks not having Longo or Kershaw, etc, but this organization has been great in the later rounds.

        • 5_tool_MiLB_fool 5 years ago

          you don’t seem to understand. no team should ever screw up the 2nd overall pick, or anything in the top 3 for that matter, regardless if it is a rich or poor draft class. if the rockies had the say 20th pick, then it would be understandable. the 2nd pick should never be a bust, never never never. its even more painful considering 2006 was a solid draft class, and the rockies could have drafted any of the above i mentioned.

  6. progmatinee 5 years ago

    if the rockies never select a pitcher with their 1st round pick again it will be too soon.

    • rockiesmagicnumber 5 years ago


    • st3akman 5 years ago

      I can’t agree with that when Christian Friedrich and Tyler Matzek are looking like they can be top of the rotation starters within 3-4 years and MLB quality by as soon as the September callups next year.

      Although, granted, Greg Reynolds also came up really quickly and just bombed his way out of the majors.

  7. $1742854 5 years ago

    I just can’t agree with MLBTR’s assessment of Jorge this year. Since coming back from injury he looks like the DLR of old–high walk rate, constantly looking frustrated, laboring to barely get through 5 innings. I thought he had turned a corner after his solid ’09 finish and hot ’10 beginning, but I don’t think he can be trusted with big multi-year money.

  8. st3akman 5 years ago

    I agree with the idea that the Rockies must sign a solid vet pitcher over the offseason this year (NOT Francis or DLR) to round out the starting 5, assuming Jimenez, Hammel, Chacin, and Rogers as the other four.

    With the amount of talent in the minors, though, the Rockies could well have an exclusively home-grown rotation by the 2012 season. You look at Christian Friedrich and Tyler Matzek of course, but also Samuel Deduno (by the way, anyone know what happened to him? He’s only started 5 games this year), Chaz Roe, Cory Riordan, Juan Nicasio, Ethan Hollingsworth, even new draftees like Tago and Bettis…I think we’re LOADED. Just hope that management doesn’t tear the team apart before then.

  9. The rox need sinkerballers/Strike out guys. Francis is neither unfortunately. HR’s are Hr’s but the gappers and flairs really hurt in coors field.

  10. The rox need sinkerballers/Strike out guys. Francis is neither unfortunately. HR’s are Hr’s but the gappers and flairs really hurt in coors field.

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