ROCKIES

Rockies rid themselves of worst starting pitcher in Major League Baseball

Apr 25, 2023, 8:05 PM | Updated: 8:05 pm

Germán Márquez returned to the Rockies’ 25-man roster Tuesday. He will start the team’s series finale in Cleveland on Wednesday.

That meant someone had to go: Jose Ureña.

The Rockies designated the ex-Marlins starter for assignment after a rough opening month in which he allowed as many home runs as strikeouts recorded — nine apiece.

But it’s possible that Ureña might still be in the rotation if not for the recent emergence of Noah Davis. The 26-year-old made the first start of his career in Seattle on April 16 and delivered five scoreless innings in a 1-0 series-ending defeat. Five days later, Davis didn’t last as long, going 4 2/3 innings at Philadelphia, but held the Phillies to 1 run in a 4-3 loss.

While Davis showed promise, Ureña floundered.

Among 127 MLB pitchers with at least four starts coming into Tuesday, Ureña’s rankings in five key metrics were abysmal, including two in which he ranked dead last.

  • ERA: 9.82, 123rd
  • HR allowed/9 innings: 4.4, 127th
  • WAR: minus-0.6, T-119th
  • WHIP: 2.236, 124th
  • FIP (fielding-independent pitching): 11.01, 127th

Ureña wasn’t the only member of the Rockies’ rotation in a season-opening funk. Austin Gomber’s 9.28 ERA is 122nd among those afore-mentioned 127 starters.

But Gomber showed signs of progress in his five-inning start Monday at Cleveland, scattering three walks and three hits over five shutout innings in a 6-0 win.

Ureña’s form offered no such indication of progress. Just one of his five starts saw him make it through the fifth inning. He allowed two home runs in each of his last four starts, leading to that calamitous home-run rate of 4.4 per nine innings.

The Rockies signed Ureña to a $3.5 million contract last November that included a team option for 2024. He started 17 games last year, but appeared to be trending in the right direction in the final month of the season, leading the Rockies to re-sign him.

Colorado hoped he could recapture the promise he showed for the Marlins during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He posted sub-4.00 ERAs and sub-1.30 WHIPs in those seasons. But he came back to earth in 2019, posting the first of four consecutive seasons with 5.00-plus ERAs.

Nevertheless, the Rockies gave him a shot to start the season. But after five starts, they’d seen enough.

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