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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

14 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

dstritt1

The Yanks are my best bet - if they either miss on Lee or if Pettitte calls it quits, they're going to need an arm (or two) to go with CC, Hughes, Burnett, and maybe Nova. Ideal situation for them is getting two arms for the rotation so that Nova can start as a 'pen arm and spot start.

Pavano is an obvious non-option. Westbrook doesn't have great AL stuff. JDLR does have AL stuff. To sum it up, the list of who fills those slots by Yankees' preference: Lee, Pettitte, JDLR, Kuroda, Westbrook, everyone else, Pavano.

So if one of those two first options doesn't pan out, JDLR is going to find himself vastly overpaid this off-season.

Nov 07, 2010 10:52 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jesse Behr
BP staff

Carl Pavano may be next on the list for "Dark Horse Free Agents." He had one helluva season with the Twins (17 wins, 221 IP, 4.15 SIERA).

Nov 07, 2010 11:27 AM
 
Scribbler

Why not include the Dodgers on the list of teams that could sorely use De La Rosa's services? Is the divorce mess THAT crippling?

Nov 07, 2010 11:30 AM
rating: 0
 
I75Titans

The Dodgers signed Ted Lilly already. DLRosa's agent will be using that deal to value his client's contract, since he's several years younger and has had similar performance in the past two years.

Nov 08, 2010 07:10 AM
rating: 0
 
amazin_mess

I think the Mets are a great fit, but I can't see Sandy Alderson spending on anyone this winter.

Nov 07, 2010 14:06 PM
rating: 0
 
lesmash

I don't see the Nationals getting Cliff Lee, so look for them to swoop in and make a bid. They need a solid starter to be out front of the rotation in 2011, and a guy who can help out Strasburg and Zimmermann as they mature in 2012 and beyond.

With the dough the Nats save by not keeping Dunn, I see JDLR as a nice fallback option.

Nov 07, 2010 16:11 PM
rating: 0
 
lesmash

For what it's worth, I don't trust Carl Pavano to repeat anything close to his 2010 numbers. Expect a fairly steep regression from him, especially if he goes to a team with poor defense.

Nov 07, 2010 16:13 PM
rating: 0
 
FLeghorn

I think the Rox would really like to keep De La Rosa, but there's some question as to how out of control the bidding will get. He's only ever been good here, and seems to be in a comfort zone with the Rockies coaches, et al, but all that being said, I think he'll end up with, I dunno, the Angels or something? He's got value, but somebody's gonna pay way too much for him. He can be maddeningly inconsistent, lose focus, and walk guys like crazy, but he can also be really dominant. I hope the Rox keep him, but I bet that he goes somewhere else.

Nov 07, 2010 17:22 PM
rating: 1
 
rdierkers

can he pitch 200 innings?

Nov 08, 2010 06:30 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jesse Behr
BP staff

When healthy (and given the chance to start 32 games), De La Rosa could throw just under 200 innings.
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=DELAROSA19810405A

Nov 08, 2010 07:07 AM
 
I75Titans

The Rockies got DLRosa off the virtual scrap heap, then got him in a good place mentally. He always had good stuff, but tended to melt down on the mound when things did not go his way.

As a Rockies fan, I've seen DLR pitch a bunch, and often times, he still needs to be reminded in-game to focus on doing his job and not blowing his stack. One hopes that this is a lesson he's learned now. But it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure of a high-dollar, multi-year deal, especially if it's to a big-market team.

I think he has a decent chance to go all Javier Vazquez on a team like the Yankees.

Nov 08, 2010 07:20 AM
rating: 1
 
FLeghorn

I agree with Titans on this 100%. I think Jorge has a lot of talent, but when he loses his way on the mound, he really melts down ( Sanchez of the Giants seems to have this same issue ), and it's more of a story when he gets his stuff together and finishes an inning than when he gets the hook. Don't get me wrong, I hope the Rox can keep him, but I also think he's benefitted from pitching for a team with relatively low pressure ( media-wise, and fan-wise--we're usually pretty content with the team when they do well, and the 'expectations' thing is only recent ), and I think in New York or Chicago he'd really struggle with what comes with the price tag and heavier media presence.

Nov 08, 2010 21:17 PM
rating: 0
 
mstinebrink

How 'bout the Brewers? They have a need, have shown a willingness to spend, and Doug Melvin may have a desire to right a wrong, when he traded De la Rosa for Tony Graffanino. Sign De la Rosa, trade Prince Fielder for another SP, and you might have an MLB-caliber rotation.

Nov 09, 2010 04:47 AM
rating: 0
 
FLeghorn

I think that makes a lot of sense for the Brewers. I do think he needs to stay in the NL, and a low-maintenance spot like Milwaukee could be a good fit.

Nov 09, 2010 17:31 PM
rating: 0
 
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