Amidst all of the excitement in Spring Training (and by excitement, I mean the constant articles and commentary regarding the 5th starter in the rotation and who's going to "win" the dubious honor of being the Rockies 3B), Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus took some time out of his evening to chat with Purple Row. In the past, we've posted the long-form transcriptions, but given the informal nature of this conversation, I figure that I'll just kind of post the results of the conversation.
For starters, I asked Goldstein how he felt about the Rockies' pitching acquisitions this offseason (outside of Guthrie and Pomeranz - and I guess White, seeing how he came in with Pomeranz, but he should still probably be lumped in with the rest). I mean, we picked up Guillermo Moscoso, Josh Outman, Tyler Chatwood, and Jamie Moyer, to name a few. One looks at that motley crew and one might think "wow, they pretty much just snagged a pile of 4/5 starters." When poised with that question, Goldstein simply replied "Well, they didn't give that much away, either."
See, at this point, I wanted to argue with him. Come on, a .800 OPS catcher is downright solid. A strong-side platoon RF isn't something to sneeze at. Ian Stewart still has upside or something. Well, the fanboy in me wants to still argue for Chris Iannetta, and yes, there's still value in Seth Smith, but realistically, the moves were pretty much lateral, despite potential salary inefficiencies, and accomplishes pretty much what the team wanted to do. Furthermore, the Rockies pitching depth was pretty questionable, and now it's much less questionable, as 3 of the 4 aforementioned pitchers were the returns in these trades.
So what do these pitching acquisitions say about the Rockies' depth? About their ability to develop their own pitchers? Why are guys like Casey Weathers and Christian Friedrich seemingly struggling so early? Is it because the team likes to mess with pitchers and screw with their development? Maybe they just don't know what they're doing.
"I don't think it's anything systemic to Colorado. You look at a lot of teams going into the 2012 season and look at their top pitching prospects at the upper levels; a lot of them have things go wrong. It just comes with the territory; it's just part of the natural attrition of developing players...pitchers get hurt. I don't think there's some sort of thing we can point to and say 'Oh, the Rockies are doing this wrong.' That's not the case. There are plenty of teams in baseball that have trouble developing pitchers because pitchers are hard to develop. I don't think the Rockies are to blame."
Well, THAT'S a load off of my mind.
At some point in here, I made the mistake of likening Tyler Anderson to Jeff Francis. Come on, even I know better than that.
"Pre-injury Jeff Francis, maybe. He looked like he could be a possible star... he was one of the better pitching prospects in the game for awhile... he had more stuff than Tyler Anderson does. He was one of - if not the best - left handers in the minors."
Sometimes I forget that players do exist between the levels of "bust" and "hit their ceiling". Francis is a perfect example of that. He was never PHENOMENAL, but he did start Game 1 of the 2007 World Series. He's still pitching in the Major Leagues. Dude was a beast of a prospect (don't forget how good his 2004 in the minors was).
Quick notes past the jump.
How about some bullet points?
- Tyler Anderson is probably going to start in Modesto. "Tulsa by mid-to-late season" is probably an overstatement, but his progression is kind of up to him. Anderson is also an example of polish vs upside.
- Edwar Cabrera - Despite eye-popping numbers, is a bit of a trick pitcher. Let's see what Tulsa brings.
- Chad Bettis - Still a good chance for the rotation - not this season, but going forward.
- Alex White - 3 or 4 starter, likely a starter - again, probably not to start the season, but eventually.
- A #3 starter is a fine pitcher - there are a lot of #3 starters pitching Opening Day this season. Don't underestimate the value of a #3 pitcher.
- Tyler Chatwood would make sense in the minors to start 2012. Which level is probably going to be determined by things we can't see on Baseball-Reference.
- Guillermo Moscoso may not have the highest ceiling of the potential #5 candidates, but he might just have the highest floor. That right there might make him a favorite to start the season in the rotation.
- Jamie Moyer also has a good shot at the rotation this season. Sure, he may not
register onlight up the radar guns, but he's pitching well.
- Tyler Matzek is pretty much where we think he is: throwing hard again, still projectable, still has a lot of potential, etc. 2012 will start to turn back some answers.
So yeah, not a massive amount of stuff we haven't discussed at length here, but it's good to know that someone with an outside perspective on the Rockies is seeing some things similar to the way we're seeing them around here. The Rockies are looking for more "Known Quantities" than they've seen over the past couple of years, so they went after a pile of guys with attainable ceilings, regardless the height.
Anywho, clearly nothing groundbreaking has happened between Thursday Morning and the writing of this post, as you're reading this post still. I personally enjoyed the conversation with Mr. Goldstein, and found it to be a nice break from reading about how Jamie Moyer is old and still throwing baseballs and such.