After a strange 2020 season, the 2021 MLB season will be starting on time. Currently, teams are slated to play all 162 games which means pitchers’ workloads will return to normal. More innings and more batters on more teams mean pitchers will actually have time to ramp up, unlike in 2020. During spring training, teams will need to start getting a feel for what their rotations might be. Here is an early look at the Colorado Rockies projected 2021 pitching rotation.
1. German Marquez
German Marquez impressed in 2020. He led the league in games started and innings pitched, at 13 and 81.2, respectively. His 344 batters faced was also an MLB-best. With all this work in an unprecedented season, he still managed to post a respectable ERA of just 3.75.
Even though his ERA has been up-and-down, he still has five seasons with the Rockies under his belt. Marquez’s season may indicate an uptick in production. Even if he returns to his old ways, he is still a solid choice for the top of the rotation.
2. Kyle Freeland
Freeland was also tied for an MLB-high 13 games started in 2020. His ERA sat at 4.33 and his strikeout to walk ratio was 2.00.
He may seem like he is skating on his excellent 2018 campaign, in which he posted a 2.78 ERA in 33 starts. This is even more impressive, considering he played half his game in the thin air of the Rocky Mountains.
But that season does not alone tell Freeland’s story. He is a young, solid pitcher who can eat up innings near the top of the Rockies’ rotation. His outlier 2019 season, which was not great, should be scrubbed from Colorado’s memory and he should be given a chance at becoming an ace.
3. Jon Gray
The most encouraging parts of Jon Gray’s are his health and his ability to eat up innings. He is also the old guard in the Rockies’ rotation, but has only played six seasons. But that is becoming the norm for starting pitchers recently.
His numbers do not jump off of the page, but in a place like Colorado, a team needs confidence in the middle of the rotation. Gray can give them that in spades, while also giving them solid, if not fantastic, production.
4. Antonio Senzatela
An argument can be made for Antonio Senzatela to be as high as second in the rotation. His 2020 season was pretty excellent, all things considered. A 3.44 ERA in 12 starts in a shortened season is nothing to sneeze at.
However, putting Senzatela at fourth creates better opportunities for the rotation. If his production stays the same or improves over a full 162 game campaign, then he can move up if the matchups make sense. But keeping Gray and his veteran presence above Senzatela could translate to more wins for each pitcher, and the team.
5. Ryan Castellani
Castellani’s only MLB work came in 2020. He went 1-4 in nine starts, throwing for a 5.82 ERA. The lack of wins and abundance of no decisions do not inspire too much confidence. He is a rookie, after all, though, and cut his teeth in an unprecedented season.
More work needs to be given to Castellani. The Rockies should absolutely keep him in the lineup, even if it is at the very bottom. Expect him to stay in the rotation, even if he struggles, as the Rockies find out what they have in the young pitcher.
Featured Image courtesy of The Denver Post
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