Last night Jhoulys Chacin pitched farther into a no-hitter at Coors Field than any other pitcher in team history. At 25, he is still young but is also the veteran leader of the pitching rotation - a pitching rotation that appears to be having one of its best seasons and has plenty of young talent waiting in the wings.
With Jorge De La Rosa being the savvy veteran on the team with only one option year left and Juan Nicasio (26 yrs old) being a peer of Chacin who has been erratic but more effective of late, we have seen the first tier of help arrive this year in the form of Tyler Chatwood (23), Drew Pomeranz (24), and Chad Bettis (24). Tyler has been phenomenal but injury prone (first rehab start in AAA was Tuesday). Drew struggled mightily and is injured but still has lots of promise and Chad is filling the role of fifth starter as well as anyone has for the Rockies this year.
The next layer could be ready as early as the start of next season and consists of Eddie Butler (22), Tyler Matzek (22), and Christian Bergman (25). Tyler and Christian have had strong seasons but will likely be reinforcements waiting in Colorado Springs next year. Eddie, meanwhile, is likely to start at a minor league team but he is an intriguing talent that doesn't have much to prove other than pitching past 75 pitches/5 innings.
The layer below that needs to prove itself in the higher half of the minor leagues next year. This group includes top prospect Johnathan Gray (21), but also consists of Tyler Anderson (23) and Dan Winkler (23). Other names to keep in mind include Christian Friedrich (26) and Edwar Cabrera (25), who have been beset with injuries this year.
This current group of youthful pitchers seems to have the most talent and largest numbers in the history of the Rockies. While Ubaldo and Franklin Morales (with Chacin behind them) was exciting and the two Thompsons back in the day gave fans of the Rockies hope, at neither time was there this large a group of talent. There is a poll below for all of you to say who you think will make the biggest impact for the big league team next year.
Patrick Saunders has a few interesting tidbits about Jhoulys Chacin. It seems athletes do better when they are a little under the weather.