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2014 Rockies season review: Jhoulys Chacin goes from ace to question mark in one season

Jhoulys Chacin went from one of the most promising pitchers in Rockies history to one of the biggest question marks in 2014.

Doug Pensinger

When the 2014 season began, the Colorado Rockies had a lot of question marks on the roster but Jhoulys Chacin wasn't one of them.

According to fWAR, Chacin was the single most valuable Rockie in 2013 and around this time a year ago I was tasked with slotting players into categories based on trade-ability and picked Chacin as the player the Rockies should least want to trade.

Here is what I wrote in Nov 20th, 2013:

"Chacin represents a rare breed of human being; a young, team-controlled, elite level pitcher with proven success at Coors Field.

Jhoulys is still only 25 and is arguably one of the top three pitchers the Rockies have ever had. If he has reasonable approximations of his healthy production for two or three more seasons as a Rockie, it won't even be an argument anymore."

Oops.

Suffice it to say that Chacin didn't produce anything in the same galactic neighborhood as a "reasonable approximation of his healthy production" in 2014.

What happened

Things got off to an ominous start when Chacin reported to spring training complaining of shoulder soreness. He began the season on the disabled list but at that time it was widely believed he would make a quick recovery and return strong.

He made his season debut on May 4th. He pitched in only 11 games before having to be shut down again, this time for the rest of the season, opting not to go with surgery. I'm not anywhere close to being a doctor but reports aren't good for players who have frayed labral cartilage.

The injuries manifested themselves in Chacin's performance. In his short stint on the diamond, he posted a 5.40 ERA and walked nearly four batters per nine innings at 3.98 BB/9.

His velocity -- while never his primary weapon -- was noticeably down much to his detriment and that issue was compounded by an inability to throw off-speed stuff in the strike zone.

Chacin's season was a microcosm of the Rockies season; everything that could go wrong did.

For me, Chacin just edges out Rex Brothers and Carlos Gonzalez for most disappointing 2014 campaign because pitching is the name of the game and Chacin started the year as one of the most reliable and promising pitchers in Rockies history and leaves it as neither of those for their future.

2014 Grade: Incomplete

He gets the incomplete instead of an "F" because the injuries aren't his fault but it is hard to imagine a way in which 2014 could have been worse for Jhoulys Chacin.

What to expect in 2015

He began 2014 challenging for the mantle -- albeit an inauspicious mantle -- of being the greatest pitcher in Rockies history, and now at only 26 years old, he may never be a valuable rotation piece again.

But I am as far from being a doctor as one can get. I don't play one on TV, and talk of "torn ligaments" and "labral fraying" -- not to mention even stepping foot inside a hospital -- sorta gives me the "heeby-geebies."

So, as we've said with many player in this series, who knows what to expect from Chacin in 2015?

Good and healthy Jhoulys Chacin completely changes the outlook for the club and is something that absolutely, unequivocally, cannot be counted upon.