The Rockies don’t have a starting pitcher listed for Friday’s game against the Rangers yet, as the team’s rotation has been decimated by injuries through the first quarter of the season. MLB.com’s Thomas Harding tweets that 25-year-old righty Karl Kauffmann was scratched from his most recent Triple-A start, however, and is expected to make his big league debut Friday. He’d need to be added to the 40-man roster, though the Rockies could easily accommodate that by moving German Marquez to the 60-day injured list.
Colorado entered the 2023 season with one of the weakest starting pitching groups in all of baseball, and they’ve quickly been stretched even thinner. Marquez is done for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Antonio Senzatela returned from last year’s ACL tear but pitched just 7 2/3 innings before heading back to the IL with an elbow strain. The Rox are also without Ryan Feltner, who suffered a concussion and small fracture in his skull over the weekend when he was hit in the head by a comebacker. Righty Noah Davis is on the shelf with elbow inflammation, and the Rockies already released one member of their Opening Day rotation, Jose Urena, after a dismal start to the season.
That sequence has already prompted the Rockies to claim Chase Anderson following his DFA with the Rays — Anderson was excellent in last night’s team debut — and it’ll now ostensibly set the stage for Kauffmann’s MLB debut. He’ll join Anderson, Kyle Freeland, Austin Gomber and Connor Seabold if he indeed is called up and given a legitimate run in the rotation.
Kauffmann was the Rockies’ Competitive Balance (Round B) pick in the 2019 draft, coming off the board with the No. 77 overall selection. The right-hander had a decent showing in Double-A last year, posting a 4.06 ERA with more impressive strikeout and ground-ball rates (25.6% and 46.3%, respectively), but he’s been hit hard since moving up to Triple-A midway through that ’22 campaign. In 101 Triple-A frames dating back to last year, Kauffmann has a 6.68 ERA with an 18% strikeout rate against an 11.9% walk rate. The Rockies’ Albuquerque affiliate plays in a notoriously hitter-friendly setting, but it’s still been a rough showing.
That said, Kauffmann’s most recent start was sharp (six innings, seven hits, two runs, no walks, five punchouts), and the Rockies are thin on alternatives. General manager Bill Schmidt recently told Danielle Allentuck of the Denver Gazette that the…