Pitch­ing prog­no­sis

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

The Rock­ies will be look­ing to im­prove their pitch­ing this win­ter, ei­ther through free agency or a trade. Their ma­jor fo­cus is the bullpen, which posted a ma­jor league-worst 5.13 ERA this year. Den­ver Post Rock­ies beat re­porter Pa­trick Saun­ders of­fers a snap­shot of the team’s cur­rent crop of pitch­ers and top prospects:

ES­TAB­LISHED STARTERS

LHP Tyler An­der­son: The 2011 first-round pick blos­somed in 2016 into a crafty con­trol pitcher with a solid 3.54 ERA. RHP Chad Bet­tis: Staff work­horse won 14 games and went 7-2 with 3.75 ERA over his last 14 starts. RHP Tyler Chat­wood: Won­der­ful on the road (8-1, 1.69 ERA) but er­ratic at Coors Field (4-8, 6.12 ERA). RHP Jon Gray: Con­sis­tency is nec­es­sary next step for the Rock­ies’ strike­out king and most dom­i­nant pitcher.

FIFTH-STARTER CAN­DI­DATES

RHP Jeff Hoff­man: Prod­uct of the Troy Tu­low­itzki trade flashed tal­ent but was un­even in six ma­jor-league starts. RHP Ger­man Mar­quez: Be­gan his 2016 sea­son at Dou­ble-A; a Septem­ber call-up who shows prom­ise as a starter or as a re­liever.

BULLPEN RE­TURN­ERS

RHP Car­los Estevez: Er­ratic flame-thrower who made 63 ap­pear­ances this year but was only 11-of-18 in save chances. The rookie was er­ratic. RHP Jor­dan Lyles: Ap­pears best suited as a mid­dle re­liever af­ter go­ing 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA in 35 ap­pear­ances. LHP Jake McGee: Huge dis­ap­point­ment with a 4.73 ERA and di­min­ished fast­ball ve­loc­ity, due in part to an in­jured knee. RHP Ja­son Motte: Shoul­der prob­lems lim­ited his work­load; 4.94 ERA made his two-year, $10 mil­lion con­tract look like a bad deal. RHP Adam Ot­tavino: Re­turned from Tommy John surgery but strug­gled, blow­ing five saves in 12 chances. RHP Chad Qualls: In­jury and ill­ness lim­ited Qualls to an in­ef­fec­tive 44 ap­pear­ances and an ugly 5.23 ERA. LHP Chris Rusin: Ver­sa­tile and re­li­able, he has be­come Colorado’s best long re­liever.

IN LIMBO

RHP Ed­die But­ler: For­mer first-round draft pick posted an ugly 7.17 ERA this year. RHP Miguel Cas­tro: Showed dy­na­mite stuff early, but shoul­der woes lim­ited him to 14M big-league in­nings. RHP Jairo Diaz: Tal­ented, hard thrower missed the 2016 sea­son be­cause of Tommy John surgery; fig­ures to be late-in­ning re­liever in 2017. RHP Scott Oberg: Suf­fered blood clots in his right arm; Rock­ies are hope­ful he can make a full re­cov­ery.

ON THE HORI­ZON

RHP Yency Al­monte: Has a 96 mph fast­ball, hard slider; projects as a No. 4 or No. 5 starter or as a long re­liever. RHP Shane Carle: Moved to re­liever in Triple-A and posted 3.60 ERA with 18 strike­outs, four walks in 15 in­nings. LHP Kyle Free­land: Posted a 3.91 ERA in 12 Triple-A starts and prob­a­bly will make his ma­jor-league de­but in 2017. LHP Sam Moll: Strug­gled at Triple-A, post­ing a 4.94 ERA. Projects as a left-on-left spe­cial­ist in the ma­jors. RHP An­to­nio Sen­za­tela: Dy­namic fast­ball-slider com­bi­na­tion brought him to Dou­ble-A by age 21; lost most of the 2016 sea­son be­cause of shoul­der in­flam­ma­tion.

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