Saturday Rockpile: With Starting Rotation Set, Rockies Move on to Building Bullpen

Mar 20, 2012; Peoria, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Josh Outman (88) throws during the fifth inning against the San Diego Padres at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Outman makes Rockies' team as a left-handed reliever | On the Rox — Colorado Rockies news — Denver Post
Following the announcement of the team's four-man starting rotation, the Rockies are now in the process of setting up their eight-man bullpen, with Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle, Rex Brothers, and now Josh Outman in the fold. That leaves possibly four spots remaining (at least until Drew Pomeranz comes up on April 15th, which will lessen that number by one), with six players vying for those spots. Let's look at those candidates:

Esmil Rogers (spring stats - 9 IP, 8.00 ERA, 10 K, 5 BB). Rogers is out of options, so he is a favorite to land one of the spots, unless the team decides to trade him (unlikely), or cut ties with him (even more unlikely).

Josh Roenicke (spring stats - 9.1 IP, 0.96 ERA, 6 K, 5 BB). Roenicke, too, is out of options, so he'll likely take a spot for now. Deservedly so, I might add, as he finished last season strong and has been tough to hit this spring despite having questionable peripherals in a small sample size.

Alex White (spring stats - 14 IP, 3.86 ERA, 11 K, 7 BB). White has options remaining, and a little more seasoning wouldn't kill him despite being largely big league ready. At this point, it seems best to let White get his innings in the minors while continuing to harness his control and return to full strength following his finger injury last season.

Edgmer Escalona (spring stats - 8 IP, 4.50 ERA, 12 K, 4 BB). Escalona is a bit of a darkhorse candidate despite having as live an arm as any of these candidates and a bit of a mean streak to boot. Escalona, in my mind, is a classic MLB bullpen guy. Though, with options remaining, the club could opt to place him in Colorado Springs to start the season. However, it won't be long before he's a permanent fixture in the 'pen, and I get the feeling that the next time he's up, he won't be back down again.

Tyler Chatwood (spring stats - 11.1 IP, 7.94 ERA, 8 K, 2 BB). I don't know that putting Chatwood in the bullpen to start the season would be the right move, as he needs more innings to continue to work on his control (similar to White), and would be better suited doing so in either Tulsa or Colorado Springs.

Matt Reynolds (spring stats - 7.1 IP, 3.68 ERA, 8 K, 3 BB). Reynolds, along with possibly Roenicke, has the least amount of traditional upside among the guys on this list, but he has already carved quite a niche in the big leagues. For some reason, he has a reputation for struggling as a LOOGY despite maintaining a 5.14 K/BB ratio against lefties during his young career. His success against righties has been a bit more luck-driven (.235 BABIP against), so I really think he fits the role of a left-handed bullpen specialist nicely. The job should be his to lose.

The bullpen race should finish shaping up at the beginning of the week, with a decision on the remaining position players likely coming shortly thereafter.

*I made it all the way through the Rockpile without mentioning Jamie Moyer!*

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