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February 21, 2009 at 6:15 am ET
Ranking The Starting Pitchers

Franklin Morales comes in at number...From the “news that really isn’t news” file…

Jeff Francis is out for the season with a torn labrum — aka the worst possible scenario.テつ The injury will require surgery and a likely 6-12 months recovery time.テつ I think the only person who didn’t see this coming was Francis – or maybe he really is just too damn stubborn.

Buster Olney,テつ Rotoworld and Dave Krieger all agree that the Rockies can survive without Francis — although I don’t know why we need Matt Holliday’s opinion on everything pertaining to his now former club.

I’ll make it a unanimous decision.テつ The Rockies will not be a worse team this year without Jeff Francis.テつ Obviously he would have helped the team a lot had he come to camp healthy, but it’s not a devastating loss.

The Rockies have their best pitching depth ever, which is exactly what I said last season.テつ By June, Mark Redman, Valerio De La Santos, Kip Wells, and an unprepared Greg Reynolds, were all making regular starts as the ship sank below sea level.

Forget that.テつ That was last season.テつ I really mean it this time!テつ Just look.

  1. Aaron Cook
  2. Ubaldo Jimenez
  3. Jorge De La Rosa
  4. Jason Marquis
  5. Franklin Morales
  6. Jason Hirsh
  7. Josh Fogg
  8. Greg Reynolds
  9. Matt Belisle
  10. Glendon Rusch

The top four are locked in, although not likely in the order I rank them.テつ Cook is the undisputed, though not overpowering, ace.テつ The Rockies simply ask for low pitch innings and endless groundballs from Aaron.

I believe De La Rosa is the third best pitcher on the staff, however, I support the decision to separate him from #2 Ubaldo Jimenez. テつ As you may know,テつ Jimenez has struggled to get through 5-6 innings his entire time at the big league level.テつ Backing him up with an inning eater like Marquis is the best (though not guaranteed to be successful) way of keeping the bullpen fresh. The ultimate cause of death in 2008 was mainly attributed to the overuse of the bullpen in April.テつ Any measure needed to avoid repeating that will be taken by the coaching staff.

I’m firmly on the Franklin Morales bandwagon because I believe the reports he wasn’t healthy last season.テつ I’ve also heard reports that his fastball is back in the 95 MPH range which, if harnessed and controlled, means bad things for the NL West.テつ Don’t forget all those reports from teams in 2007 rating Morales as the best left-hander they faced all season.

Jason Hirsh is really tall.テつ That’s all I know for sure.テつ I want him to be good.テつ I want him to come out this spring and show us how damn good he can be.テつ I won’t hold my breath, though, and I’ll probably cover my eyes and wait for the crack of the bat.

If it gets down to Josh Fogg starting the season in the rotation I won’t get too upset or panicky.テつ If we get to July and Josh Fogg is STILL in the rotation, I’ll probably be ready to call the season off.テつ I can live with him as a seat warmer, an injury replacement, spot starter even.テつ I can’t live with him as a permanent fixture.

Greg Reynolds will be in the Rockies 2010 rotation, or he’ll be labeled a bust.テつ It will take at least two more injuries for him to be a real factor come April 6th.テつ Now, he could be a guy Josh Fogg keeps the seat warm for, but I don’t see the Rockies pushing him yet.テつ He needs to develop some swagger – and pitches that don’t tumble into the hitting zone.

Panic is acceptable and encouraged if it comes down to Matt Belisle and Glendon Rusch.

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2 Responses to “Ranking The Starting Pitchers”
  1. Andrew says:

    Good article for casual fans to check out…but what about Greg Smith?

  2. That was a mental lapse on my part. I’ll have more to say on Greg Smith in my next piece. For now I have him between Hirsh and Fogg in my rankings.

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