Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
The 23-year-old lefty made his big league camp debut in spring training
The Rockies starting rotation started off really well, helping steer the team to a hot 11-3 start. Germán Márquez, Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland, and Antonio Senzatela combined for 12 of the team’s first 14 starts and during that time, they combined for a 7-2 record and 2.54 ERA in 71 innings. They allowed 20 earned runs (23 total runs), 20 walks, and 55 strikeouts.
Since the torrid 11-3 start, the Rockies have gone just 9-19 and now sit at 20-22. Since August 9, the “four horsemen” have combined for a 5.55 ERA in 121 2⁄3 innings. Antonio Senzatela is the only starter with an ERA under 4 in that stretch. Jon Gray has also landed on the Injured List with right shoulder inflammation. Kyle Freeland is the only left-handed pitcher left on the Rockies active roster.
Ryan Castellani made his MLB debut on August 8 and has been up-and-down. After pitching four no-hit innings to start his major league career, he now sits with a 5.34 ERA in six starts. Chi Chi González has made four starts (he was on the IL from August 7-29 with right biceps tendonitis), and hasn’t pitched past the fourth inning in any of them. Most recently, he only recorded one out against the Padres on Tuesday and was tagged for four earned runs.
With the rotation struggling and limited left-handed pitching options anywhere on the team, perhaps it’s time to call upon another top prospect to make his MLB debut in 2020: Ryan Rolison.
Rolison was the Rockies first round pick in 2018 and has since turned heads. In Rookie Grand Junction, he posted a 1.86 ERA in nine starts. He was then moved up to Low-A Asheville where he was so dominant that he was bumped up to High-A Lancaster after only three starts. He was poised to make the Double-A Hartford roster, especially with a spring training that saw him not allow an earned run in two relief appearances during his first year in big league camp (you can read Zach Wilson’s thoughts on Rolison here). However, like everything else, 2020 changed those plans.
Rolison is on the Rockies 60-man roster and is currently at Metro State University working out at the alternate training site. Nick Groke reported that Rolison is pitching well at satellite camp, but the Rockies don’t have any current plans to call him up unless there is an emergency.
Phillip Diehl and James Pazos were with the Rockies earlier this year, but they were optioned to satellite camp. Ben Bowden is also a top option at satellite camp, but he has been dealing with injuries since spring training and will likely not pitch this year. Zac Rosscup and Helcris Olivarez are also lefties in the 60-man player pool.
With the rotation hitting all sorts of road bumps and the bullpen struggling, perhaps it’s time to bring in Ryan Rolison in some capacity. Best case scenario, he’s the spark that the rotation or the bullpen needs down the stretch. Worst case scenario, he gets some major league experience to take with him into next year.