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The Rockies starting rotation will benefit from pitching prospect depth

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Rockies news and links for Friday May 19, 2017.

Rubbing Mud: The Rockies' Many Starters, and What to Do With Them | Baseball Prospectus
Matthew Trueblood writes about the suddenly crowded bunch of starters the Rockies have, and he advocates something we wrote about here recently: a six-man rotation. He's an advocate for it because the talent level below Jon Gray is relatively flat. That's a good problem, because in other words it means that the Rockies number two starter isn't a remarkably better option than their number six would be (and possibly also number seven and even eight, as Trueblood identifies Ryan Castellani as a potential contributor).

It remains an idea worth thinking about, even if it also remains one I don't think would be helpful or likely. It would take innings away from Gray, and the Rockies rookies don’t seem to need a lot of innings management given their previous workloads. Castellani might be more valuable in a trade than as a member of the rotation this season. If the Rockies roll out a six-man rotation, it probably will only be in September, and only then depending on what the playoff picture looks like.

Rockies' Nolan Arenado striking gold in first inning this season | Denver Post
Here, Patrick Saunders writes about that pitching depth. The Rockies could call up Jeff Hoffman to make a spot start on Monday. This will get all starters back on a regular rest schedule, as the Rockies don't have another scheduled day off until June 5.

Saunders also notes that Nolan Arenado had a pretty good run of first innings in the Twin Cities this week. In addition to his homer, he completed a bare-handed play to throw a runner out in the first inning of last night's game. It was the type of play that we've come to sort of expect from Arenado. It was new to much of the Minnesota crowd though.

Banjo Hitter: Gimme a Quarter's Worth: Rising Odds | Baseball Prospectus
According to Baseball Prospectus's model, the Rockies' play odds have risen more than any other team this season. The team's odds have risen from about 17 percent to about 60 percent. Among BP staffers, the most popular prediction was that the Rockies would finish in third place, behind the Dodgers and Giants. Only one person picked the team to win the division. (I participated in this poll and picked the Rockies to finish behind the Dodgers and nab a Wild Card.)

As others have written recently, the Rockies have been winning due to pitching and defense in general, and getting loads of groundballs and turning them into outs at an extremely high rate in particular. The offense has not fully showed up yet. Aaron Gleeman concludes his write-up: "Being skeptical of a pitching-and-defense approach in Colorado is fair, but they’ll get a boost from Gray’s return next month and my guess is the offense won’t lay this low for much longer." The other teams to have seen their playoff odds rise dramatically are the Yankees, the Diamondbacks, and the Nationals.