By far the biggest question mark hanging over the Rockies this year is the rotation. In some situations last year, the pitching was actually better than the hitting. For Coors Field, that is an insane thought. The Rockies staff remains incredibly young though, and there are plenty of question marks. They have who they believe to be the ace of the future in the ghostbuster Jon Gray. There are some very solid pieces after him including Tyler Anderson, who somehow got compared to rookie-year Clayton Kershaw last year. Chad Bettis, who just beat testicular cancer is also in there, and rounding out the known part of the rotation is Tyler Chatwood, who came back from Tommy John surgery last year and was a monster on the road. They are all very unique in their own way and it should be a fun year for these four guys. Now, of course, it’s time to go into personal breakdowns for each.
Man, oh man, is this kid good. Gray had a semi-breakout year last year and established himself as the ace of the rotation. While Gray did have a call-up in 2015, his first full season was last year and he dazzled in the role. Last year, he had 20 starts, posting a 10-10 record and an ERA of 4.61. I know that doesn’t sound fantastic, but for a rookie starting his career while having to pitch at Coors, that is not too shabby. The underlying stats are really what’s impressive here. He had an ERA+ of 106, so just above average, an FIP of 3.60, and a whopping average of 10 strikeouts per game. He showed he has what it takes to be our ace of the future, and his pitches are just electric. Sometimes it takes a little bit to get going. Most teams do their damage in the early innings. As soon as he gets that figured out then he should be a force for years.
This was a big question mark coming into last year. At the start of last year, Chatwood had missed around 2 full seasons due to 2 separate Tommy John surgeries. He came out and proved everyone wrong. While he wasn’t great at home, Chatty shined on the road. Tyler had an outstanding ERA of 1.69 on the road. When on the road people basically weren’t able to score off him. His home splits are where it gets messy. He had an ERA of 6.12 at home. If he can stay as good on the road or around there and improve a little at home, then the Rockies have a good, reliable pitcher.
Now this is a guy that came out of nowhere. Anderson came up last year after a couple injuries, but he found himself a place in the rotation. Tyler had an outstanding ERA of 3.54 in his rookie year. Again, not too great, but for a rookie at Coors, not bad. Now when we get into his advanced stats, he had a 138 ERA+. That is just insane considering that an ERA+ of 100 is considered average. Some people tried comparing him to a rookie-year Kershaw and I gotta say, their deliveries are very similar, and based on rookie Kershaw stats, it’s not too crazy to think either. If Anderson can turn into something even close to Kershaw, then the Rockies will be set for a long long time.
Okay, I started this article before Chad got his most recent diagnosis. It completely sucks that such a great young talent like Bettis has to go through something like this. Bettis looked like he could hold down the back of the rotation and be reliable but instead, cancer decided to come in and ruin it. When things like this happen you gotta put baseball aside and think about the person. Chad has been nothing but a great guy and has been a bright spot these past couple years. We here at nationalleaguewest.com hope that Chad makes a full recovery and comes back better than ever.
That is a fair review of the rotation as it stands right now. Due to unfortunate circumstances with Chad Bettis, it may force both Jeff Hoffman and German Marquez into the rotation. Overall, Rockies fans have a lot to be excited about with this rotation. Most everyone is young and show a lot of promise. Until next time guys, have a great day everyone.