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November 7, 2010

Analyze This

Dark Horse Free Agents: Jorge De La Rosa

by Jesse Behr

He might not be Cliff Lee, but Jorge De La Rosa has as much value as any other starting pitcher on the free-agent market beside the Rangers left-hander. After being traded from the Royals to the Rockies in 2008, De La Rosa has dominated National League hitters. Here's how he's pitched over the last three seasons in Colorado:

YR

GS

IP

W-L

ERA

BB

SO

SNLVAR

SNWP

SIERA

2008

23 (28 G)

130.0

10-8

4.92

62

128

2.0

.470

3.89

2009

32 (33 G)

185.0

16-9

4.38

83

193

3.2

.513

3.63

2010

20

121.2

8-7

4.22

55

113

2.1

.494

3.75

De La Rosa only made 20 starts in 2010 because of a torn flexor tendon band in a finger of his pitching hand, which put him on the disabled list for almost two months. In 2009, he was eighth in the NL with 9.39 SO/9 (min. 100 IP), helping the Rockies capture the NL wild card.

Here's what De la Rosa has thrown during his time in the Mile-High City:

YR

FB% (MPH)

SL% (MPH)

CB% (MPH)

CH% (MPH)

2008

56.6% (92.8)

16.1% (84.0)

9.3% (73.3)

18.0% (83.5)

2009

59.6% (93.3)

15.3% (84.8)

8.1% (75.9)

17.0% (84.5)

2010

53.5% (93.4)

15.9% (85.6)

3.6% (74.6)

27.0% (84.8)

Career avg.

58.7% (92.8)

12.1% (84.3)

9.2% (74.5)

19.9% (83.6)

The break on De La Rosa's slider is devastating and his changeup is very deceptive. He's a strikeout machine but can get wild at times. De La Rosa's career averages in strikeouts (146) and walks (83) are almost identical to Giants southpaw Jonathan Sanchez's career averages (170 SO, 83 BB).

Here are the teams that could both use De la Rosa's services and fulfill his contractual needs:

Team

ERA (rank)

SO9 (rank)

CHN

4.18 (21st)

6.94 (4th)

HOU

4.09 (17th)

7.57 (8th)

NYN

3.70 (7th)

6.85 (19th)

WAS

4.13 (19th)

6.70 (23rd)

DET

4.30 (24th)

6.58 (24th)

NYA

4.06 (15th)

7.20 (15th)

TEX

3.93 (9th)

7.30 (14th)

If the Rangers fail to re-sign Lee, they're going to need a replacement. De La Rosa probably wouldn't be able to fill Lee's Texas-sized shoes but he might come closer than you think. De La Rosa is no ace, but he's arguably the second best free agent pitcher on the market.

Let's hear your opinions on the value of De La Rosa. And how about some guesses on where he might land this offseason?

Jesse Behr is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jesse's other articles. You can contact Jesse by clicking here

Related Content:  Jorge De La Rosa

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