After coming over from Houston with outfielder Brandon Barnes in the Dexter Fowler trade last winter, not much was expected of Jordan Lyles coming into 2014. In fact, he wasn't even slated to make the big league roster coming out of Spring Training.
However, Tyler Chatwood pulled a hamstring in one of the final games of the spring and the Rockies turned to Lyles to fill in, jump-starting what would turn out to be the best of his four big-league seasons.
Lyles came out of the gate with a stellar April, posting a 2.70 ERA in 36 2/3 innings over six starts, allowing 30 hits and nine walks while striking out 19. In fact, the Rockies went 6-2 in Lyles' first eight starts of the season as he personally went 5-0 with a 2.66 ERA in that span.
Lyles' first loss of the season came on a rainy day in May at Coors Field against the Padres as he lost the strike zone, walking six and allowing six runs in 3 1/3 innings of an 8-5 Rockies loss.
However, because he was a Rockies starting pitcher in 2014, Lyles got hurt. Covering home after a wild pitch on June 4, Lyles broke his non-throwing hand when Arizona's Martin Prado slid into it. The injury sidelined him for two months.
Lyles showed some rust when he returned in August, allowing 11 runs in his first three starts off the disabled list, but settled back down and was, aside from a start against the Giants in early September, solid the rest of the way.
The broken hand limited Lyles to just 22 starts and 126 2/3 innings in 2014, but those numbers were tied for second-most and solo third-most on the team respectively. He ended up with a solid-for-a-guy-at-Coors Field 4.33 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. The ERA was best among the Rockies' right-handed starters and third-best among all Rockies starters. He gave up 127 hits, walked 46 and struck out 90 while posting a 4.22 FIP and 3.98 xFIP. He contributed 1.1 rWAR and 1.6 fWAR. Also, Lyles was pretty average in the luck department with a .295 BABIP against him and a LOB% of 71.3.
2014 Grade: B+
Lyles was a reliable, consistent starter for the Rockies and really was better in 2014 at age 23 and anyone expected. Before the injury, this would have been an A, but he struggled to a 5.31 ERA in 10 starts after coming back, so it gets knocked down a bit.
What to expect in 2015
Somewhat overlooked in the Rockies' 2015 outlook, Lyles looks to be one of three pitchers, along with Jorge De La Rosa and Tyler Matzek, that has a secure spot in the starting rotation next season. As a guy who will be just 24 next year and in already his fifth big league season, look for Lyles to improve even more and solidify his rotation spot in Colorado.