[Editors note. Normally this feature runs on Monday’s at noon, but an 18-hour day yesterday threw a wrench in that plan. Apologies.]
Greetings! Welcome to the BSN Denver Power Rankings.
Throughout the course of the 2017 season, we will be providing you with Power Rankings for the Colorado Rockies roster at three positions; Starting Pitcher, Bullpen, and Position Player. The rankings will be released at noon on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday respectively.
Each week, we will update the rankings based heavily on the performance from that time period. This is not meant to be a definitive list of who is the best, but rather a more fluid ranking of where everyone stands at any given moment in time.
Without further ado:
Starting Pitcher Power Rankings:
10. Harrison Musgrave – Musgrave was listed in our Bullpen Power Rankings, but his performance this spring and the loss of Chad Bettis and Chris Rusin – at least for the start of the season, mean he is very much in contention to give the MLB club some run early in the season.
9. Zach Jemiola — Jemiola, at age 22, finds himself still in MLB camp, surviving the most recent cuts. He has pitched seven innings out of the bullpen this spring without allowing a run. He has also allowed just three baserunners and struck out five (0.43 WHIP) while securing two saves, which is interesting because he has never in his life worked out of the ‘pen before. It seems only a matter of time before he is sent to Triple-A to get stretched back out, and if he keeps answering the call every time the phone rings, it may end up ringing in preparation for a call to MLB in 2017.
8. Yency Almonte — Almonte did not survive the most recent cut but his ceiling and performance from a season ago, and a pretty darned good spring, keep him on this list. His heavy sinking fastball showed well against Big League competition and while he might not have earned his spot yet, Almonte has almost certainly earned the promotion to Triple-A and has put himself in the conversation for a potential early call up should the need arise.
7. German Marquez — Coming into 2017, Marquez was ranked in our Top 5, but a rough spring coupled with better performances from the guys above him (now) have led to a momentary decline in his ranking. This spring, batters are hitting .333 against him to the tune of a 7.94 ERA. He is still very young and has shown an ability to adjust already in his career, but for right now, his stock is (slightly) down.
6. Antonio Senzatela — “Senza” has arguably had the most impressive spring of anyone in Rockies camp. He leads the team in innings pitched at 11.1 and has a cool 2.38 ERA. The fastball has been sitting 94-97 and has clearly — and by his own admission — grown a lot in terms of his slider and changeup. He isn’t lacking in comfort or confidence right now, but the simple fact that he has never pitched at the Triple-A level could keep him off the Opening Day roster no matter how well he pitches in March. Jeff Bridich will likely be reluctant to see a repeat of the Eddie Butler situation, but Senzatela is a lot closer to MLB than a lot of people thought.
5. Kyle Freeland — Freeland bounced back after a rough first start to post two consecutive very solid outings. HIs overall numbers aren’t amazing (3.85 ERA over seven innings) but he has shown the maturity and focus that have helped move him so quickly through the system. The fact that he is 23 and already has 73.2 innings at the Triple-A level where he absolutely held his own, give him the edge over Senzatela.
4. Jeff Hoffman — Hoffman has only thrown 3.2 innings this spring, likely as an attempt to limit the wear and tear on a young man with a Tommy John surgery on his resume who may be expected to carry a heavy load in 2017. With Bettis out indefinitely, Hoffman will almost certainly slide into the starting rotation, and he has the tools to follow Jon Gray‘s footsteps and go from promising guy with a ton to prove to potential top guy with substantially less to prove.
3. Tyler Chatwood — Not to belabor the point, but with Bettis out, Chatwood is now the unquestioned leader of this rotation. The “old man” at 27-years-old, Chatwood proved in 2013 and 2016 that he has what it takes to succeed despite pitching half his games at Coors Field. He is universally respected in the clubhouse, and despite a checkered injury history, he is about as reliable as they come when he does take the field. As it stands now, he is likely the only starting pitcher come Opening Day who won’t be in his first or second year in MLB.
2. Jon Gray — Turns out, Jon Gray just may be who we thought he was. Everything that was touted out of Oklahoma showed last season, most famously his record-shattering 16-strikeout game against the Padres near the end of last season. He’s got all the tools everyone loves: a high 90s fastball, a hard biting slider, a change and a curve that throw off timing, and the big, athletic body. There is a reason why he is widely considered to be the Colorado Rockies ace.
1. Tyler Anderson — If the definition of that term … “ace” … is simply the top guy in the rotation, currently we’re giving that designation to Tyler Anderson. He very quietly put up one of the best pitching seasons in Rockies history a year ago, in his very first MLB campaign. Anderson has shown an advanced feel for fooling Major League hitters and has surprised some scouts and evaluators with “stuff” that plays a lot better than originally advertised. His extreme focus and tenacity make him difficult to bet against, even when he does struggle. He’s been through a lot just to get to MLB and takes nothing for granted.