From the Rockies' perspective, Alex White and Drew Pomeranz, the top two pitchers they landed from the Cleveland Indians, have to be better than one Ubaldo Jimenez. After all, Joe Gardner and Matt McBride, the other two players the Rockies received, aren't guaranteed to make a meaningful contribution in the majors.
So how have White and Pomeranz fared so far?
They've been an odd mixed bag of injuries, excellence and mediocrity!
The most meaningful step either has taken occurred last night when White made his major league debut at home against the Houston Astros. White could hardly ask for an easier transition from Double-A, as the Astros are only nominally a major league club right now.
White had started three games in the majors for the Indians, but this was his first time pitching at altitude. His performance can be described as "good enough," as in good enough to not lose to the worst team in baseball.
He lasted six innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and striking out four while walking one. He received a no-decision in a game the Rockies would go on to win 8-6 on the strength of Jonathan Herrera's seventh inning, two-run homer, his first in 156 at-bats.
White gave up two home runs, and it's apparent he doesn't have the kind of electric stuff Jimenez does. But he has efficient control -- through his two seasons in the minors, he has a three-to-one strikeout to walk ratio. His split-finger fastball averages in the low nineties but has good sink, which is a vital tool at Coors Field. Another aspect to consider: White is coming off a finger injury and his hand likely won't be at full strength until next year.
Some of the runs scored against White were due to bad luck, as the Astros got two infield singles in the third. They scored two runs that inning, but White induced an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. A collective "We'll take it" from Rockies management would be appropriate after last night.
As for Pomeranz, who is expected to be the better of the two, he made his Rockies debut with a lot more flash. After pitching nothing but simulated games and side sessions since being traded to Colorado -- he couldn't be announced as part of the trade until August 15, a year from when he was signed by the Indians -- he took the mound for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers last Wednesday. He promptly retired the first nineteen batters he faced.
Pomeranz needed only 78 pitches to breeze through seven innings in which he allowed only two hits. His short minor league career indicates he's everything the Rockies need him to be. Through 98 innings, he has struck out 116 batters and owns a 1.84 ERA.
On Saturday, he followed that sterling debut just how you think he would -- with an emergency appendectomy. He is likely done for the season, eliminating any hope he would have for making a start in the majors this season.
For whatever mixed results White and Pomeranz are providing, Jimenez is not making the Rockies immediately feel remorseful about the trade. After tossing a gem against Detroit in his second outing for the Indians, he has gotten shelled in his last two starts. He gave up eight runs on nine hits in 3.1 innings on Sunday against Detroit and lasted only 4.2 innings while surrendering five runs in the game before that.
As Cleveland falls out of the playoff race, it becomes more apparent that a winner and loser in this trade won't be decided until next season, assuming everyone's appendixes hold up.
More from our Baseball archive: "Rockies' Mike Jacobs becomes first U.S. professional athlete to test positive for HGH."
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