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Chad Bettis proves his ceiling is still high

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Chad Bettis turns in the best start of the season by a Rockie

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

When you think about the Rockies and the young pitching that could help them over the next few years, you may not think about Chad Bettis, but yesterday he illustrated why you should.

Bettis is one of eight starters I've highlighted who began the 2015 season 25 or younger that could have a significant role with the club by the end of 2016. The other seven are as follows:

1) Eddie Butler

2) Tyler Matzek

3) Jon Gray

4) Jordan Lyles

5) Tyler Chatwood (returning from TJ end of this year / next year)

6) Tyler Anderson

7) Kyle Freeland

As mentioned a few weeks ago ...

There’s no way to tell where this group of eight guys is going to be in their development a year from now. So far the results have been disappointing from this group (Matzek’s loss of the strike zone chief among them), but it’s way, way too early to draw any major conclusions here. With young pitchers, things can change for better or worse, really, really quick, and as long as the story of these eight are still being written, I’ll continue to leave open the possibility of things turning around pretty fast at one point. Young pitching is extremely volatile, but if the Rockies can even hit on three of these guys, their fortunes should turn sharply in the next 18 months. If they all bust, yeah, then we would have a big problem.

So far, 2015 has been a perfect example of how unpredictable young pitching can be right before it either breaks through or flames out. Of the five pitchers who have been active so far this season, Butler, Gray, and Matzek have produced underwhelming to disappointing results while Lyles and Bettis are the ones to show serious signs of growth. I doubt anybody predicted that combination, but here we are.

With all of that said, I do think some folks have been underrating Bettis' ceiling. He's been around a while now, but a quick review of his journey through the system reminds us of how good he's been when he's up, and why he has two very good excuses for not producing a gem at the major league level until yesterday. Let's go year by year:

2010: Bettis is drafted by the Rockies in the second round, immediately signs, and posts a 1.07 ERA in 12 combined starts between Tri-City and Low-A Asheville.

2011: Bettis posts a solid season at High-A Modesto, and his numbers are even better than his 3.34 ERA when you consider that A) he was pitching in a very hitter friendly league, B) he got better as the season wore on, showing serious signs of growth, and C) he had a 4.09 K/BB ratio and led the Cal League in strikeouts. He seemed on his way to really breaking through until ...

2012: Shoulder injury. Out for the entire season.

2013: Bettis comes back with the Double-A Tulsa Drillers and looks solid in 12 starts, posting a 3.71 ERA and an even better K/BB ratio (5.23) than he did with the Nuts in 2011.

Here, the Rockies made their first significant blunder in the development of Bettis. After just 12 starts above High-A, and just 12 starts after major shoulder troubles, the club leap frogs Bettis over Triple-A and straight into a major league role in August. Not surprisingly, he struggles in eight starts, at which time he's moved to a bullpen role for latter part of September.

2014: Here, the Rockies make a second blunder with the development of Bettis. They not only decide to keep him in the bullpen, further derailing the years of progress he made as a starter through Double-A, but they allow him to open the season in the major league bullpen. In other words, they had him learning to be a reliever in the majors.

While converting failed starters into relievers at this level is not completely unheard of, it also came with a guy who the club really had no business of giving up on as a starter at that point. For the rest of 2014, Bettis struggles as a reliever and is yoyo-ed between Denver and Colorado Springs, until the Rockies finally make a good move.

In August of 2014, one year after the club first yanked him abruptly off a development path that seemed to be going fine, they finally put him back in a starting role at Colorado Springs. He was hot and cold in five starts there to end the season, but he did turn in an eight-inning shutout performance with seven K's and no walks, showing how good he can be on days where he brings his "A" game.

Yesterday, Bettis got his third start at the major league level in 2015. He brought his "A" game, and boy was it beautiful. That sort of performance isn't just going to be the norm all of the sudden. There's still more growing pains ahead, but at the very least, Chad Bettis showed yesterday why he belongs in the same discussion as those other seven young Rockies starters who will shape the fortunes of the club during the second half of the decade.

For more on Bettis' outstanding performance yesterday:

Chad Bettis leads Rockies to win over Giants - Denver Post (Patrick Saunders)

Aggressive Bettis tosses gem - MLB.com (Dargan Southard)

* * * * *

Yesterday's game also had some offensive fireworks. The most interesting moment, however, came in the fourth inning when the Rockies blew the game wide open, specifically on Nolan Arenado's three run bomb that made it 9-0. Here, Buster Posey didn't take kindly to Arenado reacting positively in any way, shape or form to his home run.

As usual though, the Giants feel they have the authority to be the fun police every time something doesn't go their way.

Here's Madison Bumgarner chewing out Yasiel Puig after he apparently didn't round the bases fast enough after his home run in a game last May.

And here's Hunter Strickland shouting things in potentially racist overtones at Salvador Perez in last year's World Series after giving up a home run to him. And here's Ryan Theriot, a member of the 2012 Giants on yesterday's incident.

So I guess the Giants just don't expect any other team or fan base to have any fun with this game. Or at not at their expense. That's pathetic!

Knowing how much these trolls act like a six-year-old who didn't get everything they wanted in the cookie aisle every time something doesn't go their way, I would go out of my way to put on excessive celebrations every time I did something good against them. This team, its media, and its fans act like they have a patent on baseball fun, and that they have a right to tell you how to do it correctly if you dare use it.

I don't think Nolan Arenado pimped that home run anywhere near as much as he could have yesterday, but after seeing the incredibly immature way the Giants, and specifically Buster Posey reacted to it, I hope Nolan goes out of his way to pimp the next one he hits against these power tripping blowhards as much as humanly possible.