The Rockies and the Cubs are both hoping their prospects can deliver more wins in the coming years and redirect the path of losing seasons both are currently enduring. This plan will be on display today as Colorado’s Ryan Feltner (2-8, 6.12 ERA) and Chicago’s Javier Assad (1-1, 2.53 ERA) face off on the mound in the rubber match in Colorado’s final game of this five-game road trip.
Feltner, the Rockies fourth-round pick in 2018, made his MLB debut on Sept. 5, 2021 and has since gone 2-9 with a 6.53 ERA in 18 games (17 starts) with 74 strikeouts and a 1.51 WHIP in 81 1⁄3 innings. After a rough first game last season when he gave up a homer on his first pitch, Feltner is showing growth, despite a high ERA. As the Colorado Gazette’s Danielle Allentuck explained in a feature earlier this month, Feltner is getting better control on a sinker, which directly helps his high-zone, four-seam fastball, and he’s changed the shape of his slider to adjust to right and left-handed hitters.
These changes have come slowly and haven’t helped the 26-year-old yet find his consistency as seen when he gave up four runs on four hits and four walks in 2 2⁄3 innings in his last start against Arizona. He has thrown three quality starts out of 18 this season and has 68 strikeouts, including five games with six or more.
Assad is greener to the MLB level, having just made his debut on Aug. 23. The 25-year-old RHP was signed by the Cubs in 2015 as an international free agent from Mexico. After starting 2022 at the Double-A level, he spent one month in Triple-A Iowa before getting the call to the Major Leagues. He was able to increase his velocity and has good command of his sinker, slider, changeup, and mid-90s fastball.
In his first two starts, he combined for nine scoreless innings with four strikeouts, but also had six walks. In 21 1⁄3 innings over four starts and one appearance out of the bullpen, Assad has given up six runs on 20 hits, including two homers, with 18 strikeouts and 10 walks. In his last start against the Mets, he surrendered only one run on five hits with six strikeouts and three walks.
A new young pitcher could be making his debut for the Rockies today as Gavin Hollowell, Colorado’s sixth-round pick in 2019, has been called up from Double-A Hartford after Alex Colomé was placed on the bereavement list.
The #Rockies are adding RHP Gavin Hollowell, a 6th-rnd pick in 2019 out of St. Johns, to the bullpen while placing Alex Colomé on the bereavement list. Hollowell was 4-2, 3.14 with 16 saves in 42 appearances. He struck out 64 in 48 2/3 IP for @goyardgoatshttps://t.co/I1HinKebBp— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) September 18, 2022
First Pitch: 12:20 p.m. MDT
TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain; MLB.tv
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM; KNRV 1150 (Spanish)
Pair of rookies face off for the rubber match between #Rockies & Cubs: RHP Ryan Feltner vs. RHP Javier Assad— Patrick Lyons (@PatrickDLyons) September 18, 2022
All five rookies on the bench today and two rookie relievers await debut in the pen: Noah Davis & Gavin Hollowell. pic.twitter.com/bet7lmtLN4