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Tuesday Rockpile: Alex White, Christian Friedrich to Audition For Role of Savior


You really can never have too much pitching. By tomorrow night, just 30 games will be in the books, with 19 different pitchers taking the mound for Colorado. They will have used eight different starting pitchers, just two shy of the total employed in the entire 2009 season.

With all the comings and goings, freak accidents, inconsistencies, ominous injuries and flat out incompetence, the opportunities are becoming plentiful for young arms to lay claim to a longterm job. That is all any prospect can really ask for. The window in which to wrestle with and nail down that chance, with a depth chart of roughly 23 starting pitchers, is another matter.

Drew Pomeranz, who has managed to get hurt himself already, will have the longest leash of anyone on the roster. Both his potential and standing as the key piece in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade dictate so. Two others might be a bit different. The Rockies officially will call up Alex White to pitch tonight. Christian Friedrich will make his MLB debut tomorrow. If you're keeping track, that is three first round picks starting in this Padres series, with less than 100 MLB innings total among them. This series could be an important franchise starting line.

White will have a decent-sized leash, but with his extreme struggles with Colorado in 2011 and bullpen-esque stuff, continued struggles could point a future to the pen. Christian Friedrich has been a nice story this season, but he is still just five AAA starts removed from back-to-back 5.00+ ERA seasons in AA. His leash figures to be fairly short. Neither leash will be long enough to truly gauge either pitcher's ability to stick at the MLB level, but that is the nature of any audition.

That audition starts now for White and Friedrich. If they struggle, there is always Tyler Chatwood, Jorge de la Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Rob Scahill and Edwar Cabrera climbing up or back. More than anything, 2012 is an important year for the Rockies to identify their best rotation going forward. Guillermo Moscoso got two starts, and his audition is (likely) over. How much will White and Friedrich get?

Josh Roenicke A Keeper?

When Matt Belisle signed as a free agent on February 1, 2009, it did not make waves. It didn't even get mentioned on Purple Row in a story. Picked off the scrap heap, Belisle has transformed into a reliable stopper for the Rockies. When the Rockies claimed Josh Roenicke off waivers last June, there was a little more conversation about Roenicke, but not much. After impressing last fall and having a strong spring, many Rockies fans wanted to tab him as the next Belisle. He has not disappointed.

2012 - Josh Roenicke 0-0 12 0 0 0 0 0 18.1 13 7 6 1 9 13 2.95 1.20

After throwing three shutout innings in long relief last night, Roenicke now sports a shiny 2.95 ERA. While it is easy to start falling for the narrative we want to see, it is important to notice Roenicke is still walking too many batters. His 4.42 BB/9 is two to three times higher than any season Belisle had with Colorado. Without improving, his ERA will bounce up and he won't reach Belisle levels. With that said, he certainly does not have to be Matt Belisle to be a valuable middle relief option.

Off Topic


Rockies Mailbag: For Bob Apodaca, pitching is coaching vs. environment - The Denver Post Troy Renck has a long mailbag this time, partly due to a 500-word response addressing how much blame Bob Apodaca deserves the for the rotation (yet no the bullpen at all) being a collective sanity-sucking group.

Leaderboards of Pleasure – 5/7/12 | FanGraphs Baseball Carson Cistuli's formula might need some tweaking, as the Rockies come in with a tie for second for most pleasurable team to watch, with the Royals and Rangers, behind the Cardinals. The reason? Runs and home runs, mostly. Jeremy Guthrie is one of six pitchers that earned a zero. Guthrie also has a familiar companion with a zero score.

Baseball Prospectus | Overthinking It: Bryce Harper Takes the High Road If you missed it yesterday, read Ben Lindbergh's take on Bryce Harper and Cole Hamels. It is very ood.

Baseball America | Blog | Baseball America Prospects Blog | Minor League Classification All-Stars For April - Exactly zero Rockies made the list. Trevor Story was good, but it is hard to argue with their choice for Low-A shortstop.

Yesterday's Purple Row Pick 6 Top Ten

Rank Player Points
1 Nickmembrez 73.4
2 Magic Rat 70.5
3 waterboy31321 65.6
4 nodakroxfan 62.3
5 A_Sandiwch 53.9
6 ShadowPenguin 53.7
7 alacy9513 53.4
8 papality 53.3
9 zmiko 51.4
10 AlexWhitesChauffeur 49.4