Friday Rockpile: Nicasio's Return Delayed, Pitching Depth Remains Thin

DENVER, CO - APRIL 13: Starting pitcher Juan Nicasio #44 of the Colorado Rockies reacts as he works against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first inning at Coors Field on April 13, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. Nicasio was removed from the game in the third inning. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Juan Nicasio's return delayed after latest setback with left knee

Crap, that isn't good. Renck is reporting that Nicasio's left knee was drained of fluid on Thursday, scratching a simulated start and likely leaving the righty out until August.

Despite an unsightly 5.28 ERA, Nicasio's FIP and xFIP were pointing at a guy responsible for merely 4 runs per 9 innings (3.96 FIP, 3.97 xFIP). Nicasio's BB rate has risen this season, but his K rate has risen along with it. His 5.28 ERA is likely due to a .376 BABIP.

As an added bonus, Nicasio lasted less than 5 innings only 3 times in 11 of his starts. One of those starts went 4.2 innings, and he only let 1 run cross on 2 hits. 5 walks and 7 strikeouts will eat up your pitch count. Another start was just "one of those days" where Juan couldn't escape the 3rd inning, letting 6 runs cross on his watch. The final was his most recent outing, where he was removed in the 2nd.

Of the remaining 8 starts, Nicasio pitched at LEAST 6 innings in 6 of those starts. He reached the 7th 4 times, completing it twice. Yes, Nicasio was having roughly the best season of the entire rotation.

Factor in the fact that Jhoulys Chacin, who has been throwing side sessions, will need a very long rehab, and the fact that Jorge De La Rosa may not pitch again in 2012 due to arm setbacks, and we are still looking at a long July. Once again, this will be the time for the long guys like Carlos Torres and Tyler Chatwood to significantly step up their games and continue to be heroes for the rest of the bullpen.

In an extremely limited sample, Torres has been solid enough, posting a 3.68 ERA in 7 innings. This season, I can only hope that he'll magically turn into that Mark Redman character for the Rockies who can confound SABRmetric studies and "grit" his way through the next 3 months in the new weird pitching system.

Off Topic

Speaking of the new weird pitching system, did the decent outings (before Thursday) from Francis, Friedrich, and Pomeranz have anybody else thinking that the relaxation of the pitch count was a sign of "oh... hey, they're pitching well again. Uh... we were just kidding about that whole revolutionary pitching system thing"? I still run down the rabbit hole while pondering the future of this thing, and if it DOES show any signs of limiting injury, does that mean we're right?

I had a conversation with one of our users this week about the new rotation schema, and he suggested that if pitchers lasting beyond 3 or so seasons without injury or unexpected ineffectiveness is really the primary goal, then maybe Tyler Matzek is more important to the Rockies than we realize.

Tyler Matzek is a pitcher in the fashion of the controversial Marshall pitching methodology, which prominently claims to be the first step in eradicating pitcher injuries. Should this new pitching concept the Rockies are looking into fail or work, Marshall pitchers could factor into whatever the solution is, should minimizing pitcher injury time truly be the goal.

Matzek would be the guinea pig of this whole experiment.

Speaking of Marshall, I found this really interesting article from 2007 on Marshall. Basically a primer to Marshall from Jeff Passan.

If the organization is looking outside the box, this could be about as far outside of the box as you could get.

I'm not really advocating this, mind you. I think it would be this big political stink throughout the organization and potentially damage reputations. Brouhahas like that. But drafting Matzek was a sign that the Rockies might be willing to step across that line.

Baseball Video Highlights & Clips | COL@STL: Herrera makes snag, spins and fires to first - Video | ColoradoRockies.com: Multimedia

On a FAR more lighthearted topic, here's a clip of Johnny Herrera making a crazy spin throw last night.

Twitter Pranks With By Ivan Nova | NotGraphs Baseball

Ivan Nova thinks he's clever!

Jeff Karstens: Afro’d Robot | NotGraphs Baseball

CAN THIS MAN POSSIBLY BE UGLIER?

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