It's a strange time to be a Colorado Rockies fan. Ubaldo Jimenez is the hot trade commodity and the team seems to be stuck in neutral, unable to get any traction in the standings. During these turbulent times, one of the strangest stories of the year takes front stage this evening in Asheville, North Carolina, as 2009 first round selection Tyler Matzek returns to the mound hoping to regain his top prospect status.
Matzek was drafted as a quick rising high school pitcher who was the future ace of the Rockies' rotation. Instead, he has struggled mightily due to inconsistent mechanics and a complete loss of control. Earlier this summer (after an unsuccessful demotion from Modesto), Matzek took the bold step of asking the Rockies front office if he could leave the team to work with his high school pitching instructor. The team acquiesced, mostly because they were out of solutions.
After three weeks in California, Matzek is back on the mound tonight, and all eyes will be on him. Will this break get his career on track? Will he continue to show the frustrating loss of control that has plagued his career? Tonight is not a make-or-break game, but a display of confidence (or at least flashes of control) would certainly help his case.
With Ubaldo Jimenez a hot trade target, the Rockies would love to know that they have another future ace in the system. Tonight's start may go a long way towards determining that hazy future.
It may just be another minor league game, but it certainly feels more significant.