The Rockies have a lot of unknowns going into 2013 from a pitching perspective. If nothing else, they need to use the 2013 season to get a few answers.
Can you believe it's been three weeks of spring training already? What's that? It seems like six? And there's almost four more weeks left. I like the WBC quite a bit (honkbal!), but this extended spring training business is trying for someone who doesn't much care for fake baseball. News and notes time, folks:
Troy Renck gives us a mid-camp positional analysis, which is welcome if only to neatly summarize some of the major happenings at Rockies camp. These capsules go a little more in depth if that's what you're looking for.
Obviously, the big concern is still starting pitching with this team - questions abound and answers are not to be found. Jorge De La Rosa, who may I remind you is the highest paid player on this team, looks pretty shaky even if he is healthy. Juan Nicasio looks out of sorts, Jhoulys Chacin may or may not be injured (just his toe this time). Only Jeff Francis has really stood out (you know, insofar as spring training stats mean anything at all) and he's a 32 year-old lefty a couple of years removed from major shoulder surgery.
Meanwhile Patrick Saunders is throwing around names like Chris Volstad and Dan Rosenbaum making the starting rotation (among a number of other interesting observations). If that's the case, Drew Pomeranz would once again be on the shuttle down to Colorado Springs - though I think he's probably a better option that Nicasio (who also has a minor league option) in the rotation.
In my interview with Geoff Young of Baseball Prospectus, we put on our GM hats and talked about the strategy the Rockies should be pursuing this season with their young arms (that portion will be posted tomorrow). The main takeaway was the Rockies should be using 2013 to find out answers to the myriad questions posed by their pitching staff.
If I'm Dan O'Dowd, that means rolling with a rotation that includes both Nicasio and Pomeranz to answer the question of whether they can be consistent ML starting pitchers. Christian Friedrich might be a factor too if he can get healthy in time to compete this spring. Not that Chris Volstad isn't an intriguing question mark either. I mean, he's only 26 and he's been a passable starter in multiple MLB campaigns already.
Something else that will help the pitching staff is having an able receiver. Owen Perkins writes about the improving defense of Wilin Rosario. I firmly believe that Wilin is an All-Star if he can prove that he belongs behind the dish, provided he maintains his offensive prowess...and that improved defense will put Colorado's young pitchers in position to succeed.