Sunday, March 29, 2009

Franklin Morales To Be Colorado Rockies Fifth Starter...By Default

The Colorado Rockies have some finality for the regular season. Entering camp there was a plethora of potential fifth starters, ranging from Josh Fogg and Matt Belisle to newly acquired Greg Smith.
It looks as if the field has narrowed itself to one, with Franklin Morales emerging as the winner.
Some players quickly showed that they were not up to the task and were quickly eliminated. One of those was Greg Reynolds who struggled in his debut last year. Fogg quickly seemed more of a candidate for long relief, Smith dealt with sickness and Belisle dealt with an injury.
Smith battled a long bout of the flu, but was still in the derby. He showed promise with the A's last season despite what his record showed.
Once Smith was given the opportunity to show what he is able to do, he reemerged as one of the final candidates, along with Franklin Morales.
However, Smith has recently come up with a case of dead arm, which means that he will need substantial rest and probably require a stint in extended spring training before having a chance to show what he can do for the Rockies.
The Rockies know that the final decision for the rotation is a big one. Last season the Rockies struggled out of the gate due to horrible outings by the likes of Mark Redman, Morales and Kip Wells.
That exact thought is one of the reasons that there is still cause for concern with the rotation as of right now.
With Jason Marquis, Jorge De La Rosa, and Morales as the three through five starters in the rotation, the question has to be asked if the Rockies are looking at repeating the same mistakes they made last year.
Marquis has struggled mightily this spring. He has an ERA over 14.00. He has been working hard on a new set of mechanics and the first few bad outings were easily forgotten. Unfortunatley, that trend has not changed. He continues to get rocked and does not seem comfortable with the new way of throwing.
De La Rosa, who seemed to find his groove in the second half of the season last year, is struggling with the inner-demons that have held up his progress in the big leagues. He seems to have every tool available to him, but he cannot get past the mental aspect of being able to get out of trouble.
Morales has shown promise, but last week was tagged in a minor league game for ten runs, not exactly the outing that would show he is ready for the fifth spot.
The depth that the Rockies have would suggest that the season will not crumble like the '08 campaign, however there is a definite level of concern this late in spring training.

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