The Colorado Rockies youth movement is on. Earlier than most Rockies fans expected. A recent plague of injuries and abysmal play on the field have caused the Rockies organization to accelerator the major league call-ups for several young pitching prospects.
It’s has been a tough few weeks for the Rockies. Just two wins in their last ten games and only four total in the last three weeks and the Rockies find themselves 11.5 games out of the division lead.
In less than a month the Rockies starting rotation, which had been fairly solid in the early stages of the season, has taken a nose dive. Jhoulys Chacin has been disappointing since coming off the disabled list, he’s currently sporting a 0-4 record with a 5.35 ERA. Franklin Morales, with his 4-4 record and 5.56 ERA has reminded Rockies fans why the organization traded him away originally in 2011. Along with the injuries to Jordan Lyles, Tyler Chatwood and Bret Anderson, it is not surprising that the Rockies have had to raid their farm system for young arms.
Eddie Butler was the first member of the recent Rockies youth movement. Butler, the 23-year-old from Chesapeake, Virginia, made his major league debut almost a week ago agianst the Los Angeles Dogers. Pitching 5.1 innings, surrendering ten hits, six earned runs and walking three batters. Butler, like many young pitchers, found out that there is a huge difference between minor and major league hitters. Unfortunately for Butler, and the Rockies, shoulder pain after his start has forced him onto the disabled list.
Christian Bergman followed Butler’s lead on Monday making his major league debut against the Atlanta Braves. The 26-year-old, former 24th round selection of the Rockies out of the University of California at Irvine, went six strong innings giving up just six hits and two earned runs in a no decision. While Bergman does not have the same quality of pitches Butler does he was able to take advantage of a slumping Braves offense and looks to be a solid arm for the Rockies in the future.
Most impressively of the recent major league debuts by young Rockies pitchers was Tyler Matzek. Matzek locked down the Braves last night after seven strong innings giving up just 5 hits and only two earned runs and fanned seven batters. The performance was a welcome sight for Rockies fans who had eagerly awaited the former 2009 first round selection’s debut. While Matzek was never spectacular in the minors hopefully he’s saved his best performances, like last night, for the majors.
Despite being forced into calling up Butler, Bergman and Matzek their debuts were all promising and hopefully their addition to the club will spark the slumping Rockies.
Additionally, the youth movement may not be over yet. With both Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer out with injuries for the foreseeable future it may open up a spot for the Rockies top outfield prospect, Kyle Parker.
At this time it appears that the Rockies season going forward will rely on the teams recent youth infusion.
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