by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
It’s easy to ignore Jorge De La Rosa for two significant reasons:
- He’s a Colorado Rockies starting pitcher
- He owns a 4.55 career ERA
However in recent seasons the southpaw has actually begun reinventing himself, giving us reason to believe that there’s potential for 2016. Not only has he shown better control (over the past three seasons his BB/9 have been 3.33, 3.27 and 3.93), but he saw his strikeout rate rise (8.09 K/9) and has also become a groundball machine (51.6% and 52.0% over the past two seasons).
A change of approach has certainly led to the change in results, as he’s incorporated a cutter over the past two seasons. Is it a coincidence that, with that pitch in his repertoire, he has suddenly started generating more groundballs?
As for the strikeout rate, he has always possessed a wipe out split finger fastball, and his reduced rate over the past few seasons was more surprising than anything. He posted an 11.7% SwStr% in ’15 and owns a career mark of 10.2%. Those numbers certainly support the improved mark, something that he had displayed over his first few years in Colorado:
- 2008 – 8.86
- 2009 – 9.39
- 2010 – 8.36
Couple that with the groundballs and the solid control and there is a lot to like. He does need to figure out how to get the job done at home, after posting a 5.40 ERA at Coors Field in ’15 (3.26 on the road). Of course a lot of his struggles there were due to his control (4.83 BB/9), something that isn’t park specific. Yes he allowed more home runs (1.28 HR/9) and also had poor luck (69.4% strand rate), but the control alone would change things dramatically.
Is De La Rosa going to be a fantasy superstar? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t provide value. Don’t simply write him off based on his home ballpark or his bloated career ERA. There is more here than meets the eye, and that should benefit the savvy owner.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball