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Rockies pitching prospects: three different ones

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Tyler Matzek
Tyler Matzek
Doug Pensinger

You may think you have it all figured out, but this game will kick you in the ass. Every time.

Haha, charade you are.

Ten days ago, the pecking order among Colorado Rockies pitching prospects was clear. At the top you have Jon Gray, 2013 first-round pick, currently performing reasonably well for Double-A Tulsa. And that much is still true. But the order beneath him has been scrambled.

Number Two was Eddie Butler, also pitching well at Tulsa and generating strong scouting reports for his mid-90s sinker, plus slider, and excellent changeup. When the Rockies needed someone to start on June 6th, Butler got the call.

Imagine if H.P. Lovecraft were a Colorado Rockies fan and you have some idea of the result. Nightmare. 5.1 innings isn't too bad, but 10 hits, three walks, and six runs are another matter and, worst of all, he hurt his shoulder while doing it. Right rotator cuff inflammation. Disabled list. No structural damage says the MRI. But, you know, "rotator cuff inflammation" is a phrase pregnant with eldritch, daemonic insinuation.

Down in Tulsa there's another pitcher named Dan Winkler. He doesn't have the stuff or pedigree of Gray or Butler, but he's out-pitched them and has, indeed, dominated every level of the minor leagues. He has a 1.41 ERA this year and a 71/17 K/BB in 70 innings and has allowed, get this, just 33 hits and a .139 average. Rockies fans have been clamoring for this guy to get a chance.

Winkler will finish the year with 33 hits allowed, too, since he hurt his elbow in his last start and needs Tommy John surgery.

The Rockies needed someone to start this past Wednesday. The guy who got the call was Tyler Matzek, a former first round draft pick who has had a very checkered minor league career. I think there are actually two guys named Tyler Matzek, clones or evil alternate universe duplicates or some other ludicrous plot twist from a J.J. Abrams TV production.

Because depending on what day you see him, Tyler Matzek can pitch like Clayton Kershaw, Cy Young Winner, or he can pitch like Kershaw Clayton, who in my imagination is an 87-year-old former Wall Street banker hiding from the IRS in the Cayman Islands, who flew down south to hide his head in the sand, all alone, dying of cancer and dementia. Kershaw Clayton hasn't thrown a baseball since his older brother left home to join the Marines the day after Pearl Harbor, and even then he still has better control than Bad Tyler Matzek.

Good Tyler Matzek showed up for his MLB debut: seven innings, seven strikeouts, zero walks.

What happens now? Hell, I don't know.

You think you understand this game? Haha, charade you are.