DENVER, CO - AUGUST 02: Starting pitcher Alex White #6 of the Colorado Rockies delivers against the St. Louis Cardinals at Coors Field on August 2, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Cardinals 8-2. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Troy Renck writes that the Rockies front office shift will only make sense if the team's pitching improves. In similar veins, filling out job applications only makes sense if you get a job. Or going to school only makes sense if you get educated. So beyond the obvious "that's the point," nitpick with the headline, the root problem remains that the Rockies have yet to find an effective pitcher development strategy for Coors Field. Renck and I agree that the Rockies amateur drafting has been perhaps the single major issue in this. There's been an almost incomprehensible run of bad luck and bad drafting by this organization when it comes to starting pitching from the team's inception, with only a handful of minor successes to show for almost twenty years of drafts.
In the meantime, while the Rockies view a third starter as a major success on the draft front, all the other teams in the division have seen aces like Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Jake Peavy and Brandon Webb come and go through their drafting efforts. Comparing the results of current young division pitchers like Kershaw, Wade Miley and Madison Bumgarner to those of Rockies draftee Christian Friedrich shows that this trend continues to this day. It doesn't take much more than a look at the standings to see how this consistent talent deficit eventually adds up to a major disparity.
Because of the structure of baseball's minor league system, fixing the input problem usually requires years before the results are seen in the output, and for a team like the Rockies that already has a front office staff that's struggling in the mire, there won't be the time given to see if this switch at the top is actually meaningful. I don't think after years of fairly consistent subpar performance that this front office deserves what we'd usually allow a new management group to fix those input issues. This seems to leave Bill Geivett in a particularly difficult spot of having to figure out a way of improving the Rockies immediate pitching performance without sacrificing the real long term cure that's needed for this franchise on the farm.
That leaves me with the feeling that while the cure for the disease, the draft, can't be ignored, the real key for the Rockies front office to survive will be to see some clear signs of development from young trade acquired pitchers like Alex White, Drew Pomeranz and today's starter Tyler Chatwood, and then to be able to supplement the best of those with an infusion of a high quality pitcher that can adjust quickly to pitching at altitude. So Geivett needs to identify what makes a pitcher like Jason Marquis figure out the mysteries of Coors Field so quickly compared to other pitchers that don't, and get more of that kind of arm. In the meantime, he has to be pouring everything into getting the young pitchers the Rockies already have on their MLB or AAA teams to the next level.