Holy Pitchers, Rockies! (Rockies 2012 Rotation)

The Colorado Rockies are overloaded on pitchers that could potentially fill their rotation in 2012. During the off-season, the Rockies acquired Kevin Slowey, Tyler Chatwood, Josh Outman, Guillermo Moscoso, and Jamie Moyer to compete for major league spots. They'll be joining Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio, Jason Hammel, Alex White, Drew Pomeranz, Esmil Rogers, and Clayton Mortensen in the DMV line of starters the Rockies already have on their team. The only player listed above that I believe is guaranteed a spot is Chacin. The rest can battle it out during spring training. However, I'd like to see who'd be the best options for the Rockies based off of their previous statistics. Some of them will only have small sample sizes, and some of them have sample sizes so large that you'd think it was a joke...Jamie Moyer.

The three main stats that need to be decent for a pitcher to have success in Coors Field are WHIP (Walks plus Hits per inning pitched), SO/9 (Average Strikeouts per 9 innings pitched), and GB/FB rate (Ground Ball to Fly Ball rate). The first stat is an obvious choice because you don't want your pitchers allowing people to get on base. The second stat I like to see is a high SO/9 because the batters aren't getting the opportunity to put the ball in play, and as we all know in Coors Field, any ball hit fair has the potential to find a hole. The last statistic of GB/FB is another obvious choice for a Coors Field pitcher because fly balls in Coors can find the gaps and the seats, whereas ground balls can find Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton. These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to evaluation, but it should allow us to see some obvious choices and some obvious red flags. For further evaluation, I'll look at the pitcher's IP% (Balls in Play Percentage), HR/FB (Percentage of Fly Balls That Were Home Runs), GO/AO (Ground Outs to Air Outs), and LD% (Line Drive Percentage). I believe these will give us the best idea as to who has the ability to translate well in Coors Field. I'll also take into account innings pitched and age, because none of this matters if the pitcher can't make the long haul throughout the season. I'll rank each pitcher one through twelve by each individual career stat. One being the best and twelve being the worst. I'll then do the same for their 2011 statistics. After that, I'll combine both totals and rank them accordingly.

Here's the ranking based off of career performances: (12=Least Likely Starter, 1=Most Likely Starter)

12. Jamie Moyer (53 points)
11. Tyler Chatwood (50 points)
10. Jason Hammel (49 points)
09. Josh Outman (48 points)
08. Esmil Rogers (48 points)
07. Alex White (47 points)
06. Clayton Mortensen (46 points)
05. Kevin Slowey (46 points)
04. Guillermo Moscoso (45 points)
03. Drew Pomeranz (35 points)
02. Juan Nicasio (30 points)
01. Jhoulys Chacin (26 points)

Here they are ranked from last year's 2011 statistics (Age and Innings Pitched were also included): (12=Least Likely Starter, 1=Most Likely Starter)

12. Jamie Moyer (Did Not Play in 2011)
11. Esmil Rogers (81 points)
10. Kevin Slowey (78 points)
09. Jason Hammel (72 points)
08. Josh Outman (67 points)
07. Alex White (67 points)
06. Clayton Mortensen (61 points)
05. Tyler Chatwood (60 points)
04. Guillermo Moscoso (59 points)
03. Drew Pomeranz (56 points)
02. Juan Nicasio (37 points)
01. Jhoulys Chacin (35 points)

The Overall Rankings (Career + 2011 Stats):

12. Jamie Moyer (53 points + DNP in 2011 = NO CHANCE!)

  • Moyer will need to prove that a 49 year old finesse pitcher can keep up with these young guns. Outlook is bleak, but he will be a nice mentor for the young guys. 

11. Esmil Rogers (129 points)

  • Rogers had a horrific 2011 season, and now he's lost amongst all of the new additions. He really needs to work on his control. His WHIP in 2011 was 1.829 and his BB/9 was 5.1.

10. Kevin Slowey (124 points)

  • Slowey had a poor 2011 season and failed to win a single game in eight starts. He had really high fly ball and home run rates, and that's while pitching in pitcher friendly Target Field. He needs to get ground balls or else he's going to be eaten alive by Coors Field. The only thing that he has going for him is that he hardly walks batters.

09. Jason Hammel (121 points)

  • Hammel is the oldest starting pitcher on the Rockies big league club right now at the age of 29. He's been consistent for the Rockies, but his consistency hasn't been too great. He needs to focus on keeping the ball down in the zone.

08. Josh Outman (115 points)

  • He's supposed to be better than Moscoso, but he's never pitched more than 68 innings in a season. He also had Tommy John surgery in 2010 and didn't pitch in the big leagues at all that season. He does get more ground balls than Moscoso, but he also gets more runners on base by the way of hits and walks. He'll need to bring up his SO/9 to get the success he wants in Coors Field.

07. Alex White (114 points)

  • He's one of the pieces from the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, so hopefully he can find his groove this season. He has a very small sample size, but he can keep the ball out of play (IP% 65) and he has a high GO/AO ratio (1.17). He hurts himself with walks and trying to be too perfect when pitching.

06. Tyler Chatwood (110 points)

  • Chatwood was picked up in the Chris Ianetta trade and he looks like he has some potential to crack the rotation. He's the youngest one on the list at 22, and he pitched the third highest amount of innings last season. He needs to increase his SO/9 (4.7) and decrease his BB/9 (4.5). He's a ground ball pitcher which will bode well for him in Colorado.

05. Clayton Mortensen (107 points)

  • Mortensen has seen some starts with the Rockies and he's also been the long relief guy. Based off of the research, Mortensen looks ready for the #5 spot in the rotation. He has a high GO/AO ratio (1.47) and when the ball does get hit, it's not getting hit hard. His LD% is a career 14%, which is the lowest on this list. 

04. Guillermo Moscoso (104 points)

  • He's a fly ball pitcher, and I was a little shocked when I saw him at the fourth spot on this list, but he knows how to get outs. He has the lowest career WHIP on this list and his HR/FB was a shocking 5.5% which is the second lowest on this list. That means the fly balls that are getting hit aren't getting hit hard. We'll see how this translates to Coors Field, but I don't see it being pretty for Moscoso. Maybe he'd be good for starts in San Francisco and San Diego?

03. Drew Pomeranz (91 points)

  • This is the season for Pomeranz to make all the Rockies' fans forget about Ubaldo. He was the major piece in the trade, and now it's time for him to show us why. He had an extremely small sample size last season, but based off of his minor league statistics I didn't see anything out of the ordinary. I like his high SO/9 (6.4) and his low BB/9 (2.5). It's also nice that he's a big lefty that can bring heat, something the Rockies never had before. The only thing that worries me is his maturity.

02. Juan Nicasio (67 points)

  • He's making a fast recovery from the line-drive that struck him in the neck last season. Before the neck incident, he showed that he was a talented young pitcher with a ton of upside. He'll have to overcome the initial fear of being on the mound again, but I believe he'll be able to push past that and find his form from last season. He strikes batters out and he gets ground balls. 

01. Jhoulys Chacin (61 points)

  • The ace of the staff! He learned how to pitch last year and I don't see that changing this season. He not only has to anchor the staff, but he also has to fill Ubaldo's shoes, which we've seen are very large. He's my only certified pick to be in the rotation. 

I'm aware that Jorge de la Rosa wasn't on this list, but he doesn't have a chance to be in the opening day rotation. He'll be back during the summer and I'm sure he'll find his rightful spot in the rotation when he returns.

It really is anyone's guess as to what the Rockies' rotation will look like in 2012, but this is my attempt to see into the future. If nothing else, I hope it introduced you to some of the new guys.

My prediction (in January...):

Rotation:
1. Chacin
2. Nicasio (If Healthy)
3. Hammel
4. Moscoso
5. Pomeranz

Long Relief:
Mortensen

Bullpen:
Chatwood
Outman

AAA:
White
Rogers

Trade:
Slowey

Pitching Coach:
Moyer

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