Sunday Rockpile: Fowler might be with the Rockies for awhile, and the 2013 rotation takes shape

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 22: Dexter Fowler #24 of the Colorado Rockies (C) is helped off the field by medical personnel and manager Jim Tracy #4 (R) in the fourth inning during game action against the New York Mets at Citi field August 22, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jason Szenes/Getty Images)

Dexter Fowler's switch from Scott Boras to Casey Close as his agent could mean that the outfielder will more readily consider contract extension offers from the Rockies during the off season. Fowler's strong year has been a bright spot for the Rockies, and at 26 years old, he seems to be entering his prime, batting .306/.391/.497 year to date. The power Fowler displayed early in the year has largely disappeared (11 first half home runs compared to just one in half as many PA's since the All Star break,) but his OBP and average have been inching up and he remains a valuable table setter.

While there is a small possibility that the Rockies could develop into a contender again without Drew Pomeranz reaching his potential, the easiest scenario for that path back to the playoffs for Colorado relies on him being as effective as hyped. So the Rockies have been careful with his health and his learning process in 2012, and have seen some dividends of late. Pomeranz, along with Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa and Jeff Francis seems to have an inside track on next year's starters job.

Meanwhile, 2012's "other starters" not slated for the 2013 rotation include Juan Nicasio, Tyler Chatwood, Alex White and Christian Friedrich. As evidenced by the relatively gaudy won loss records of this season's piggyback and middle relief crew those latter four figure to reap some benefit from the ridiculous way that baseball ascribes wins or losses to individual pitchers. No offense to Josh Roenicke or Adam Ottavino, who've been very effective (the Rockies third and fourth most valuable pitchers according r-WAR) but the four young pitchers above would amp up the quality of the piggyback squad considerably.

It's interesting to note that Ottavino and Roenicke are good examples of the differences between the two predominant methods for determining a player's WAR value, as mentioned above, Baseball Reference's WAR, which is a better indication of how valuable has been values them at a combined 3.2 wins, while FanGraphs, which is a better predictive model showing closer to a pitcher's true talent level shows the pair at just .2 combined wins. In other words, counting on them repeating 2012's performance in 2013 might not be such a good idea.

Finally, the Dodgers.., man... wow... we kind of figured this was coming at some point, but I was hoping we'd be able to ease into it. Nope. Don't expect the rest of the division to get into an arms race, but the margin of error on decisions by the three bottom payroll teams has become very small at this point. The Rockies need to be much more effective in their process if they hope to compete for an NL West title going forward.

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