The way this year's pen is setting up inspires a lot of confidence. The resigning of Betancourt was a great move and it looks like we will resign Street as well. If all goes well Buchholz will be ready to go sooner than later. He was sensational in 08 with an ERA 2.17 and a WHIP below 1.00. He can throw in the mid 90s and drops a curve ball as confidently as Tiger drops his pants. If he is able to return to form the Rockies may have one of the most solid back ends in the league! A big if for a guy coming off major surgery and who hasn't pitched in a while but something to hope for.
In addition to Taylor Buchholz we can look forward to strong potential from Manny Corpas. Although Manny has not returned to the dominant presence we saw from him in 2007 I'm not giving up hope that he can reemerge as a staple in the Rockies pen.
Matt Daley, well nothing about him really makes me feel comfortable as a Rockies fan. He's not flashy, he doesn't throw hard and he doesn't have an arsenal of pitches. He induces way too many fly balls for a guy pitching in Coor's field. Despite all of that he worked out well for the Rockies last year so I am interested to see where it goes from here. One thing you have to love about the guy is that he throws strikes which is more than we can say for...
Franklin Morales. Going into last year I wondered if he could keep his head in the game well enough to get the job done. I came out of last year in agreement with my initial thoughts. He has great stuff no doubt about it. A great fastball with downward plane and curve ball that completely freezes batters and ends up in the strike zone. Despite the fact that he did it well while filling in for Huston I still don't think he has the mental game down well enough to put the game in his hands. I'll go with him for a left on left situation but I don't think I could stand to watch him walk the bases loaded all year.
I like this bullpen more than in years past because it seems as if it is based around mostly young players with great potential as opposed to years past where it was built around veterans who were well past their prime but you knew what you were gonna get out of them. The few gaps that remain in the pen would be another lefty which looks like it could be Joe Beimel or Randy Flores. There's talk of trying to resign Jose Contreras for the long reliever which I like but can we afford that?? We might also be able to look forward to appearances from Craig Baker and some other youngsters coming up.
All that said, what appears to be a strong pen can strengthen the whole teams approach and give Tracy some great flexibility. There is an array of tools in there that will be great for specific match ups and will take major pressure off of the starting pitching.