The Rockies rotation looks pretty solid despite the fact that they only have 1 starter (Aaron Cook-31) in the projected rotation over 30 years old. 26-year old righty Ubaldo Jimenez has the stuff to be a ace for the Rockies if he just tightens up his control a little bit. Jimenez started 33 games for the Rockies last season and he was 15-12 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. He only allowed 183 hits in 218 innings while whiffing 198 batters which shows how nasty his stuff is. But, he walked 85 batters also last season and that sometimes got him into some trouble. I look for Jimenez to be the ace of the Rockies winning at least 17 games with 200+ strikeouts in 2010 if he stays healthy all year long.
31-year old righty Aaron Cook is the cagey veteran of the staff. He started 27 games for the Rockies last season and he was 11-6 with a 4.16 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. Cook is the kind of pitcher who will likely win 13-15 games and give the Rockies a lot of innings if he can stay healthy. Stuff-wise, Cook would likely be the Rockies’ #5 starter but he definitely knows how to pitch which moves him up in the pecking order.
28-year old Jorge De La Rosa had a true breakout year in 2009. He pitched in 33 games (32 starts) for the Rockies last season in which he was 16-9 with a 4.38 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. De La Rosa only gave up 172 hits in 185 innings for the Rockies last season and he whiffed 193 batters showing what kind of stuff he has. But, he walked 83 batters which usually got him into a lot of trouble. If he fixes his control problems the sky is the limit for the lefty with the electric stuff.
29-year old Jeff Francis missed all of last season due to injury. He has pitched in 130 games (all starts) in his five years with the Rockies and he is 51-44 with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. If Francis can stay healthy the Rockies will be even better in 2010 as he was just coming into his own when he got injured. Having a healthy Jeff Francis will give the Rockies a nice lefty/righty balance in the starting rotation.
27-year old righty Jason Hammel was a solid starting pitcher for the Rockies last season. Hammel pitched in 34 games (30 starts) for the Rockies last season and he was 10-8 with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. Hammel will be one of the best #5 starters in the National League in 2010 as the Rockies have great depth in the starting rotation.
22-year old righty Jhoulys Chacin is the Rockies’ #4 rated prospect heading into this season according to Baseball America. He will likely be the first pitcher called up in the Rockies’ need a starting pitcher unless he makes the bullpen out of spring training. Chacin pitched in 9 games (1 start) for the Rockies last season and he was 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. Chacin pitched in 22 games (all starts) in AA+AAA ball last season in which he was 9-8 with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. In his four years in the minors this season he has worked in 78 games (77 starts) in which he is 37-17 with a 2.47 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Chacin doesn’t have much left to show in the minors so he will be with the Rockies in some capacity at some point in 2010.
32-year old righty Tim Redding will likely be the long man in the bullpen but he could win a job in the starting rotation if needed. Redding pitched in 30 games (17 starts) for the Mets last season in which he was 3-6 with a 5.10 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. The Rockies have a lot of depth for the starting rotation in 2010 with Redding in the fold.
26-year old lefty Greg Smith had a terrible first year with the Rockies but he still has potential. He pitched in 11 games (all starts) in A+AA+AAA ball last season in which he was 2-3 with a 6.57 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP. Smith pitched with the A’s in 2008 as a rookie in which he worked in 32 games (all starts) in which he was 7-16 with a 4.16 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP so there still is hope for him.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE STARTING ROTATION IN 2010: B+