Colorado Rockies rookie pitchers Antonio Senzatela and Kyle Freeland carried the rotation through the first month of the season. Both have very strong 3-1 records and ERAs below 3.00 through five starts.
The National League was supposed to have a great class of rookies this season. Things haven’t worked out so well for many. Dansby Swanson has been horrendous, Alex Reyes is out for the year, and Tyler Glasnow hasn’t been able to find the strike zone. For Antonio Senzatela and Kyle Freeland, the Rookie of the Year Award looks a lot more attainable. First, they will look to continue to help the Colorado Rockies stay atop the division.
All of the work Colorado put into the offseason to build a better team seemed like it may have been for nothing. The presence of rookies Senzatela and Freeland, along with an amazing bullpen, have helped save the Rockies from falling out early. In fact, it has helped keep them afloat as one of the best teams in baseball.
Senzatela seemed to come from out of nowhere. As an amateur free agent signed back in 2012, he received very little hype coming up through the minors. The 22-year-old is now in the big leagues after a successful season in 2016 pitching no higher than Double-A. The Rockies’ new stud pitcher began the year as only the eighth best prospect in the team’s system. Now, he’s the best pitcher on the big league roster.
Freeland made his way to the big leagues with a little more hype. The former first-round draft pick began the 2017 campaign as the seventh best prospect. The 23-year-old southpaw wasn’t exactly amazing last season at Triple-A. It was still good enough to land him an opportunity with Colorado this year. Clearly, it was the right decision.
A sign of change in the National League West, Senzatela recently defeated the San Francisco Giants in back-to-back starts. The first took place at AT&T Park when he earned the victory against Jeff Samardzija. The latest was a win at home versus Matt Moore. The Rockies’ offense helped him a lot more in this start as they pummeled the Giants’ pitchers all day.
Freeland has also managed to beat up on NL West opponents. He has wins against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Giants at home already. Recently, he helped the Rockies defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks in the desert. With the exception of his loss against the San Diego Padres, Freeland has not allowed more than a single run through each start this season.
These early starts hardly tell the full career stories of either rookie. They do, however, share a glimpse of what we can expect from other young Rockies pitchers the team is putting its faith in. Guys like Jon Gray, Jeff Hoffman and Riley Pint have a legitimate opportunity to become success stories in MLB without worrying about the Coors Field effect.