The hits just keep on coming this season. After watching Jhoulys Chacin fall to the DL with nerve damage, Jorge De La Rosa experience major setbacks in his recovery from Tommy John Surgery, and Juan Nicasio's season end after knee surgery, the Rockies have had to rely on any number of inexperienced and/or last-chance pitchers to try and make some semblance of a MLB rotation. The upside to this is mostly for the people intently following the development of pitching prospects such as Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, and Christian Friedrich.
Well, we can scratch yet another pitcher off of that list now, as Christian Friedrich will miss the remainder of the 2012 bloodbath after an MRI revealed a lower back stress fracture.
Friedrich, 25, was the Rockies 1st round pick in the 2008 draft. After very strong performances in the 2008 and 2009 between A Asheville and High-A Modesto, Friedrich suffered several injuries in AA Tulsa that had many Rockies fans thinking that Friedrich was going to end up in the land of lost prospects like so many young baseball players before him.
Instead, Friedrich had 5 very strong starts in AAA Colorado Springs (3.00 ERA, 27K, 4BB, 2-1 record) before being promoted to the Majors.
While Friedrich's MLB 6.17 ERA is downright awful, metrics such as FIP, xFIP, and SIERA all suggested that Friedrich's peripherals were pointing to better production than the actual results would imply. A strong strikeout rate (nearly 8 batters per 9 innings) and reasonable strike zone command (3.2 walks per 9) did show that his stuff was still there, but the long ball and general hittability (1.5 HR/9, .342 BABIP) showed that he he still has a long way to go.
— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) August 4, 2012
#Rockies LHP Christian Friedrich felt his back "grab" during bullpen session and had an MRI: season-ending stress fracture
Certainly a shame. For a lot of fans, Friedrich even reaching the majors was a long shot, something to dream on.
In the frame of the rotation, the Rockies are going to have to rely on guys like Edwar Cabrera being able to hold down the fort until Chacin can somehow resurface in Colorado. Things are getting desperate now. Not in the sense of "we need to win!" but more "ok seriously are we going to have to start Josh Roenicke tomorrow?"
Best wishes to Friedrich in a speedy recovery so he'll be ready for Spring Training 2013.