Franklin Morales is in his second-stint with the Colorado Rockies after being acquired in the offseason from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for utility infielder Jonathan Herrera. Morales was brought in to be a long reliever or a lefty specialist if you may, but he was put in the starting rotation to fill in for the injured Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood.
No one knew what Colorado would get out of him as we knew he has had command issues throughout his career. However, he has pitched deep into a couple of games and has given the Rockies a chance to win, but in others he has struggled, dealing with the same command issues.
Morales pitched very well against the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants in back-to-back starts on April 17th and April 22nd respectfully. In those two games combined, Morales would throw 13.0 innings, giving up nine hits, two runs, two earned, three walks, and 13 strikeouts. But he hasn’t found that same confidence or rhythm since.
In Franklin’s last four starts combined against the Diamondbacks, Mets, Rangers, and Royals, he has given up a combined 17 earned runs (19 total runs) in just 21.0 innings pitched. Not to mention he gave up 10 walks in those 21 innings pitched. Colorado can’t expect to keep winning ballgames with Morales pitching every fifth day as it’s time to start looking at some arms in the system who can come up and make an impact; especially if Colorado believes they can win this season.
Starting with the Triple A affiliate Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
Christian Bergman: After a slow start to the 2014 campaign in the Springs, Bergman has come on of late. He brought a 16.1 innings pitched scoreless streak into the Sky Sox game Tuesday afternoon and the streak would get snapped after 21.2 innings after a solo shot. During that stretch, he gave up just 10 hits in 24.0 innings, striking out 15 batters. He currently sits with a record of 3-2 on the season with a 3.75 ERA, walking just nine batters.
Tyler Matzek: This one could be a bit of a stretch but the southpaw who was picked in the first-round, 11th overall in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft has made strides this season. He had one bad outing that sky-rocketed his ERA back on May 5th as he gave up 13 hits, 11 runs, 8 of which were earned in just five innings of work. Other than that he has pitched well, collecting a record of 2-2 with a 4.19 ERA as the walks have stayed low for the most part. He bounced back on May 11th against Oklahoma City, throwing seven strong innings giving up six hits, one run, one earned, walking three and striking out four.
Now to look at the Double-A affiliate Tulsa Drillers.
Tyler Anderson: Anderson was another first-round selection by the Colorado Rockies back in 2011 chosen 20th overall. He has pitched very well this season with the Drillers, supporting a record of 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA. He has only had one hiccup this season back on April 17th against Northwest Arkansas, giving up four earned runs in four innings of work. The only problem with Tyler is that he hasn’t pitched as deep as you would like him to. He has pitched past the fifth inning only one time while compiling five starts consisting of five innings pitched.
Daniel Winkler: Winkler has kind of been the surprise, unknown guy in the system that is making his name known this season. The guy has been nearly unhittable, sitting at a record of 5-1 with a dismal 1.07 ERA. He has accumulated 46 strikeouts in a span of 42 innings, while only giving up 18 hits. He had a dominant performance back on April 22nd against Arkansas, collecting a one-hitter in seven scoreless innings while striking out 10 batters.
Eddie Butler: Butler has been a guy clamored by the fans along with teammate Jon Gray as they respectfully sit at one and two in the Rockies top prospects. Butler has had his ups and downs in his first year at the Double-A level but has pitched better of late. In today’s victory over Springfield, he would toss seven innings, giving up six hits, one walk, while striking out four. After the game, Butler lowered his ERA to 2.98 on the season, allowing just 17 runs in 51.3 innings.
I know a lot of people may say, “Where’s Jon Gray on this list”. Well, I think he is further down the line then these candidates. Gray still needs some time in the minors to develop a changeup which he has improved drastically with.
In conclusion, if we saw someone called up within the next two weeks my best guess would be either Sky Sox pitcher Christian Bergman or Drillers pitcher Dan Winkler. Those guys seemingly give you the best chance to win now which the Rockies should be thinking.