Despite performing above most pre-season expectations and hovering right around .500, the Colorado Rockies are being aggressive in their efforts to improve a lackluster starting rotation and will promote one of their top prospects later this week. Eddie Butler will be promoted from Double-A to make his MLB Debut on Friday, according to Thomas Harding at MLB.com.
Butler will take the mound against the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 23 year old Butler was the 46th overall selection in the 2012 Draft by the Rockies and had a truly impressive season a year ago. He made 28 starts across three levels, finishing with a 1.80 ERA and 0.989 WHIP in 149.2 IP. It was enough to boost him up the team’s prospect lists and even into the Top 100 rankings prior to the 2014 season that were released by Baseball America (#24), Baseball Prospectus (#26), and MLB.com (#41).
At Double-A Tulsa on the year he’s made 11 starts, throwing 68.2 IP with a 2.49 ERA and 1.180 WHIP. Butler has seen a dip in his strikeout rate (down to 5.2 K/9) but has still been largely effective against tougher competition than he’d faced a year ago. While Colorado’s top pitching prospect, Jon Gray, also resides at Tulsa the general belief is that Butler is considered more MLB-ready now than his teammate.
Franklin Morales will be pushed out of the Rockies’ rotation to make room for Butler’s arrival. The 28 year old left-hander had been thrust into the rotation once Brett Anderson was lost to injury, but he’s ultimately better suited pitching out of the bullpen by most accounts. Morales had made 11 starts for Colorado on the year, going 3-4 with a 6.03 ERA in 62.2 innings of work. As a starter in his career he’s held opponents to a .261/.337/.456 line with 6.5 K/9. Those numbers improve to .243/.354/.370 and 8.5 K/9 out of the bullpen.