The pitching staff of the Colorado Rockies is, well, pretty rocky. The Rockies had the second worst ERA in the National League last year at 4.73 and at least on paper, things are only getting, well, rockier.
Gone is ace Ubaldo Jimenez from a July trade. Gone is veteran Aaron Cook who has opted for free agency. Promising southpaw Jorge de la Rosa has had Tommy John Surgery and won’t be back until at least June, 2012.
Colorado has been active in pursuing Roy Oswalt, but the consensus is that Oswalt will likely land somewhere other than in Denver. The Rockies would be happy to pick up a # 3 or # 4 starter to go with Jhoulys Chacin. Esmil Rogers and Juan Nicosia are expected back after tough seasons last year. Rogers was especially awful: 7.05 ERA and 1.89 WHIP!
Juan Nicasio, who went 4-4 with a 4.14 ERA in 13 starts after jumping from Class AA, has made a remarkable recovery from the broken neck he suffered when a line drive hit him in the head Aug. 5. Nicasio, 25, is throwing simulated games and is expected to be ready by the spring.
It seems like a very depleted pitching staff, but the Jimenez deal, however, brought in two major prospects. Alex White was 3-4 with a 1.69 WHIP and 7.01 ERA after joining the club. A big strong left-hander, acquired in the Jimenez deal, Drew Pomeranz, is likely going to get his chance also this year. Pomeranz was 2-1, 5.40, 1.31 in 18 big league innings.
But, Drew Pomeranz did impress in Double-A during the regular season in the Indians organization. Coming out of Ol’ Miss, Pomeranz earned some frequent busser miles in the minors last year as he pitched for Kinston, Akron, and Tulsa before jumping right past Triple-A and to the Rockies. Pomeranz was 4-3 with a 1.05 WHIP and a 1.78 ERA. In 101 IP, he fanned 118. He held opposing hitters to a .189 average. Pretty impressive numbers.
Pomeranz is an imposing lefty at 6′ 5″ and 230 pounds. His fastball tops out at 95 MPH with movement and is his go-to pitch. He throws an excellent knuckle-curve as well which is especially nasty after seeing the mid-90′s fastball. Like most young pitchers, he needs a little more polish on his change-up.
The bar is very high for Drew Pomeranz and he’s a definitely a rookie to watch for 2012. Pomeranz will almost surely get a shot in the Rockies’ rotation.