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Three rookies earn spots on Rockies pitching staff

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Colorado brings Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, and Antonio Senzatela up north

MLB: Spring Training-Milwaukee Brewers at Colorado Rockies
Kyle Freeland
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Like every team the Colorado Rockies are always on the lookout for talented young pitching, a desire that takes on a special emphasis due to the difficult nature of Coors Field. Three rookie pitchers made the trek north with the Rockies out of spring training. Let’s take a look at what they offer.

Kyle Freeland, LHP: Age 23, first round pick in 2014 from University of Evansville; 3.89 ERA with 108/44 K/BB in 162 innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2016, 165 hits; got healthy after struggling with arm problems in ’15; 90-94 fastball with deceptive arm action; solid slider, curve and change aren’t as good but they exist; throws strikes; number four starter type.

Freeland was impressive in camp, posting a 3.48 ERA in 20.2 innings with a 19/6 K/BB. He has been named to the starting rotation and will make his debut on Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

German Marquez, RHP: Age 22, signed by Tampa Bay Rays out of Venezuela in 2011, traded to Rockies in Jake McGee/Corey Dickerson deal; posted 3.13 ERA with 155/39 K/BB in 167 innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2016, then 5.23 ERA with 15/6 K/BB in 21 major league innings; breakout season; fastball 92-96, along with above-average curve and improved change-up, throws strikes; seems like he deserves more attention than he’s received although Coors effect will compromise his fantasy value;

Marquez wasn’t as sharp as Freeland this spring, posting a 6.00 ERA in 18 innings with a 15/7 K/BB, but he’s locked down a spot in the bullpen and would be on the short list to make any necessary spot starts.

Antonio Senzatela, RHP: Age 22, signed out of Venezuela in 2011; posted 1.82 ERA with 27/9 K/BB in 35 innings in Double-A in 2016 until season was cut short by sore shoulder. When healthy, throws fastball up to 97 with a good slider and workable change-up but lots of questions about health/durability/future role, as some scouts view him more as a future reliever.

Senzatela was healthy and effective this spring, posting a 4.61 ERA in 27 innings with an excellent 21/3 K/BB ratio. The Rockies are comfortable enough with his maturity and mound presence to insert him into the rotation immediately: he’ll make his first start tomorrow against the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s making the jump from Double-A so it will be interesting to see how long the Rockies stick with him if he struggles. If he avoids more health problems, he may be the best pitcher on this list in the long run.