Thursday Rockpile: Chacin machine just warming up...

Jhoulys Chacin told the Denver Post that his change-up yesterday was the best it's been since he was in the minor leagues and with a curve that was also on, he seems very confident that he can more fully utilize a four pitch mix in 2011 rather than being the predominantly fastball/slider pitcher he was in 2010. I think the upshot of all of this is that we can expect Chacin's K/9 numbers to drop from his 2010 levels, but that he should be able to maintain a fairly high level of overall performance.

Todd Helton also claims having a breakthrough in game action this week, as he says that Tuesday he was able to implement swing plane adjustments that had been working in the batting cages but not in Spring games to date. I'm a bit dubious of this type of claim as a bit of confirmation bias. It's going to take more than one solid game at the plate to convince me that Helton's back to form.

Meanwhile, further down in the rotation, Tracy Ringolsby points out that the Rockies could work it so they need a fifth starter only three times in April. If they do lack confidence in whoever replaces Aaron Cook at the start of the season, they don't have to see him that often. Due to his contract status and the fact he's pitched okay in the Spring so far, Felipe Paulino would still seem to be the front-runner for that role. Esmil Rogers pitches today and will continue an attempt to make the decision more difficult.

It seems Purple Row's confidence in the Rockies has taken a bit of a dip of late if our recent poll results are representative. A 52 rating for a nominally contending club seems to go against the conventional wisdom that in Spring, everybody's a duh! Winner! Spring attendance at the new facility is already well ahead of the pace the Rockies set last season at Tucson, however, so maybe it's just that all the optimists are actually in Arizona right now and unable to log on.

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