After he was derailed by serious injuries in 2011 (broken neck) and 2012 (microfracture surgery), Juan Nicasio managed to stay healthy throughout 2013.
Nicasio made a career-high 31 starts and pitched a career-high 157 2/3 innings this year, winning nine games and posting a 5.14 ERA. He also struck out 119 batters.
Pitch count was the biggest issue for Nicasio in 2013, he lasted six innings in just 10 of his 31 starts, but nine of those six-inning efforts were good enough to be quality starts. He was within an inning of a quality start another nine times.
Entering the season, Nicasio was something of a mystery, having been limited to 24 combined starts and 129 2/3 combined innings in 2011 and 2012. However, he turned out to be pretty much what people thought he was, a slightly above replacement level pitcher. He compiled just 0.2 rWAR, but was good for 2.2 fWAR thanks to his 4.25 FIP.
His best start came on July 25 at Coors Field against the Miami Marlins. He pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out nine. However, Adam Ottavino and Wilton Lopez combined to give up five runs out of the bullpen and the Rockies lost, 5-3.
Nicasio's worst start came exactly a month earlier against the American League champion Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. He gave up 12 hits and seven runs (six earned) in just 6 2/3 innings of an 11-4 Rockies loss.
2013 Grade with the Rockies: C
Nicasio was the very definition of average in 2013, so he gets an average grade. He wasn't really anything to write home about, be it to gloat or complain. He was simply an adequate back-of-the-rotation starter.
Despite the injuries in his first two seasons, Nicasio will be a Super Two and arbitration eligible headed into 2014. I would expect the Rockies and Nicasio to work out a deal in arbitration if not before hand. He will look to improve on his 2013 results next year while maintaining his level of health.