27-year old Ubaldo Jimenez really stepped up last year for the Rockies. He started 33 games for the Rockies last season and he was 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. He only gave up 164 hits in 221 2/3 innings while whiffing 214 batters which showed just how nasty his stuff was last year. He finished 3rd in the Cy Young Award voting while also tossing a no-hitter in 2010. Jimenez has now pitched in 117 games (116 starts) in his first 5 years with the Rockies and he is 50-36 with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. Jimenez is the unquestioned ace of the Rockies and he will be one of the best starting pitchers in the N.L. once again in 2011.
29-year old lefty Jorge De La Rosa will serve as the Rockies’ #2 starter in 2011. He started 20 games for the Rockies last year and he was 8-7 with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. De La Rosa has now pitched in 81 games (75 starts) in his first three years with the Rockies and he is 34-24 with a 4.49 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. He has whiffed 434 batters in his 436 2/3 innings with the Rockies but he has also walked 200 batters. If De La Rosa could just tighten up his control a little bit, he would be a big winner with the Rockies.
23-year old righty Jhoulys Chacin will be #3 in line for the Rockies and he has a HUGE upside. Chacin pitched in 28 games (21 starts) for the Rockies last season and he was 9-11 with a 3.28 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. He whiffed 138 batters in only 137 1/3 innings last season while only giving up 114 hits which shows just how nasty his stuff is. Chacin has now pitched in 37 games (22 starts) for the Rockies in his first two years with them and he is 9-12 with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. Chacin will likely challenge Jimenez for the team lead in wins for the Rockies in 2011.
32-year old righty Aaron Cook is going to miss at least the first month of the 2011 season due to injury. He started 23 games for the Rockies last season and he was 6-8 with a 5.08 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. Cook has now pitched in 220 games (189 starts) in his first 9 years with the Rockies and he is 69-58 with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. The Rockies should be able to weather the storm without Cook until he’s ready to return to action.
28-year old righty Jason Hammel will be the #4 starter for the Rockies when the 2011 season starts. He started 30 games for the Rockies last season and he was 10-9 with a 4.81 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. Hammel has now pitched in 64 games (60 starts) in his first two years with the Rockies and he is 20-17 with a 4.57 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. He is a very solid pitcher at the back end of the rotation for the Rockies.
29-year old righty John Maine could win the #5 job for the Rockies at the outset of the 2011 season. He started 9 games for the Mets last season and he was 1-3 with a 6.13 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP. Maine has now pitched in 108 games (105 starts) in his first 7 years in the majors and he is 41-36 with a 4.35 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. Maine might really help the Rockies if he proves to be healthy.
25-year old Esmil Rogers is likely the favorite to open the season as the Rockies’ #5 starter. Rogers pitched in 28 games (8 starts) for the Rockies last season and he was 2-3 with a 6.13 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP. He gave up 94 hits in 72 innings while whiffing 66 batters last year. So he has a huge problem missing bats despite having pretty good stuff, and that isn’t a good combination. Rogers has now pitched in 29 games (9 starts) in his first two years with the Rockies and he is 2-3 with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.
25-year old righty Clayton Mortensen was once a very highly rated prospect so the Rockies hope that a change in scenery will bring out the best in him. Mortensen started 1 game for the Oakland A’s last year and he was 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. He also pitched in 26 games (all starts) in AAA-ball last season and he was 13-6 with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. Mortensen has now pitched in 8 games (7 starts) in his first two years in the majors and he is 2-4 with a 7.12 ERA and a 1.72 WHIP.
27-year old righty Billy Buckner is a big time longshot to start some games for the Rockies in 2011. Buckner started 3 games for the Diamondbacks last year and he was 0-3 with a 11.08 ERA and a 2.39 WHIP. He gave up 26 hits (4 of which were homers) in only 13 innings for the D-Backs, so he got destroyed by major league hitters in 2010. Buckner has now pitched in 36 games (21 starts) in his first four years in the majors and he is 6-11 with a 6.25 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE ROCKIES STARTING ROTATION IN 2011: B