Position Preview: Starting Rotation

jon-gray-dustin-bradford-getty2.jpgSports Illustrated Online

The Rockies have one of the best rotations they have ever had and they also have some depth to go along with that. While a lot of the pitchers in the rotation are young and mostly unproven, they still have high ceilings and the potential to be great is there. With Chris Rusin as the oldest potential starter at age 30, the Rockies have a young staff filled with high upside.

Number 1: Jon Gray

Jon Gray will likely make the opening start of the season and he has earned that right. As a top pick for the Rockies, Gray has fought his way into the rotation and had mixed success. Gray made his major league debut in 2015 and had a pretty rough year. He finished nine starts with a 5.53 ERA. Last year however, Gray showed why he was a top pick as he started to shine through as the Rockies potential ace. Gray threw 168 innings and struck out 185, finishing with an ERA of 4.61. There were certainly some rough starts for Gray over the course of the year, but his 16 strikeout shutout performance was more than enough reason to believe this young guy could lead the rotation to a playoff spot.

Number 2: Tyler Anderson

Tyler Anderson is another of the Rockies top picks, coming in the 2011 draft. Anderson took a long time to get up into the bigs, but he showed some excellent success once there. Anderson pitched in 19 games and had an ERA of 3.54 with an ERA+ of 138. Anderson started to show some fatigue towards the end of the year, but that is likely from pitching in the rigor of a big league club and schedule. Anderson is a finesse pitcher which doesn’t always bode well for a Coors Field pitcher, but if Anderson can do what he did last year the Rockies will have an excellent 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation.

Number 3: Tyler Chatwood

Coming off of Tommy John surgery, Chatwood was one of the best road pitchers in the game. His pitching at home was a completely different story though and that will define his season. Chatwood has had good success at Coors in the past, having a 3.50 ERA in 2013, so we know he can pitch at Coors. This year will be a showcase for Chatwood at home and not coming off of Tommy John surgery should be beneficial to the 27 year old righty.

Number 4 & 5: Up for grabs

With Chad Bettis sidelined as he goes through Chemo, the Rockies will have a couple of rotation spots up for grabs. Between German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, Jeff Hoffman, Antonio Senzatela, and Chris Rusin, there will be some competition for the spots. The front runners now appear to be Chris Rusin, because of his success with the club and his experience in the big leagues, and either Hoffman or Marquez. Rusin is likely to start with the rotation until he starts to struggle and then he will give way to whichever of Hoffman or Marquez doesn’t make the rotation. It is a good problem to have with too much depth as there are always injuries over the course of the season. This will allow the Rockies to slot in their extra pitchers as need be, and will also allow them to have a sold long relief guy coming from the pen, a spot always needed when at Coors Field.

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