Archive for the ‘Colorado Rockies’ Category

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants

The Rockies received some potentially disastrous news in camp this Sunday, as starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin has been shut down indefinitely due to right shoulder inflammation. Chacin has been scheduled for an MRI. It’s unclear how long the righty will be out, but the outlook is apparently shaky enough for the Rockies to check in on free agent pitcher Ervin Santana, although CBS Sports’s Jon Heyman reported “Rockies people remain hopeful Chacin is OK.”

This injury might not seem like huge news — the Rockies aren’t considered much of a contender this year, and the 25-year-old Chacin has slid under the radar for much of his five-year career. But Chacin deserved to be an All-Star in 2013: he tossed 197 1/3 innings with a 3.47 ERA and an equal FIP. He won’t be a fantasy star because he doesn’t strike batters out (just 5.75 K/9) and playing in Coors Field half the time puts a hard floor on his ERA. But a 3.47 ERA (and comparable defense-independent stats) are brilliant numbers in context. Chacin is just the fourth pitcher to manage a sub-3.50 ERA in Coors Field while qualifying for the ERA title (Ubaldo Jimenez in 2009 and 2010; Jorge De La Rosa in 2013; Marvin Freeman in 1994).

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MLB: Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels

The Colorado Rockies made a few questionable decisions this winter, loading up the bullpen of a rebuilding team with expensive toys when the rest of the roster is in dire need of upgrade.

Shipping out one of those relievers – lefty specialist Josh Outman, made superfluous by the Boone Logan acquisition – in exchange for a highly useful outfielder like Drew Stubbs is not a questionable decision. It is a fine decision. A good decision, even.

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MLB: ALCS-Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees

That Boone Logan just signed a three-year, $16.5 million contract with the Colorado Rockies is proof of two things. Number one: we continually need to adjust our expectations for what makes a bad contract. Number two: this is a bad contract.

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MLB: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners

There is more than one way to skin a cat, a famous sadist once told me. There is more than one way in which an also-ran ballclub can change its fortunes. Rarely does it happen overnight and if anybody knows a good shortcut, I’m sure 25 or so professional baseball teams would love to hear it.

In order to turn around a middling baseball club, it takes more just cashing a winning lottery ticket during the June amateur draft. Major League Baseball is not the NBA, where smaller rosters and the ability to funnel big moments to the best talent permit one player to remake a franchise overnight.

When the Tampa Bay Rays reversed their fortunes and reached the World Series in 2008, they were derided as a team that simply drafted high in the first round year after year, even though they owed their success to more than just high picks. (Reminder that Tampa Bay squandered a great many of their top picks aside from Evan Longoria.)

The Astros choice to strip their big league club to the wood and gun for the first pick in the draft four years in a row is unique only represents a small part of their total farm rebuild. Depth is the key and the Astros, for all their faults, have a clear plan in place. They will build their club from the inside out.

The Mariners and Rockies aren’t quite as enterprising. The Mariners struggles are well documented, becoming the first team in baseball history to lose 100 games with a $100MM payroll in 2008. After a promising 2009, the M’s promptly lost 100 games once again in 2010. All the while, Chuck Armstrong served as the team’s president, until now. On January 31st, Armstrong retires from his duties with the Mariners.

Now is the time for the Mariners to reshuffle the deck. Perhaps they can take a page from the Colorado Rockies book, as the Rox begin a new development system in which they throw out everything they ever knew about producing big league players.

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Washington Nationals v Colorado Rockies

Todd Helton reached a milestone in the 7th inning Sunday in Colorado, when he slapped the hustlest of hustle doubles into left field for his 2500th career hit. I tend not to think these milestones have any cosmic significance — even relative to other baseball events — but you can’t watch the scene in Denver and not acknowledge something bigger than a simple hit in a 7-2 September ballgame happened here.

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MLB: San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies

Every Friday, the Getting Blanked crew makes a prop bet of sorts with one another having something to do with baseball games over the weekend. Of the four competitors, whoever wins the prop bet is able to dole out a punishment on the colleague of their choice – UNLESS ELVIS ANDRUS AND SOME DOPE’S WEDDING TOSS A MONKEYWRENCH IN THE WHOLE ARRANGEMENT. This week’s punishment was watching and recapping Tuesday night’s San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies game in Denver. Because of #PropHate, I watched this game on purpose.

The Narrative

Webster’s defines “déjà vu” as…”a feeling that one has seen or heard something before”. Webster’s also defines “hacky lede” as “using the Webster’s defines device.” But last night’s Rockies/Padres matchup was déjà vu for Prop Hate/I Watched This On Purpose.

The most recent entry before this one also featured the Rockies and Padres. In fact, we were one day away from witnessing the very same pitching matchup two IWTOP in row (Jorge De La Rosa and Andrew Cashner start today’s Rockies/Padres tilt). You could accuse the Getting Blanked crew of East Coast bias or you could face facts: these two teams are awful.

This narrative (these two teams stink) is, well, it’s pretty much true. The Rox and Pods sit side by side in the NL West standings, comfortably below .500 and comfortably free of any lingering stakes or meaning in their respective seasons.

Despite similar lots in life, these two teams are striking in their contrast. The Rockies have one star (Troy Tulowitzki), two really good players (Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez, currently out injured) and a whole lot of God-fearing bros of various levels of replacement. As they are the Rockies, they have no pitching of which to speak. None. No, no, he doesn’t count. Nope, neither does he.

Take Colorado’s starter, Jeff Manship, for example. That’s it. Jeff Manship. That’s the joke.

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mclouth bunt

This may be hard to believe, but I am sometimes wrong. Not just occasionally, but pretty often. It comes with the territory of being, uh, whatever I am. Really, though, anyone who reads baseball blogs shouldn’t be surprised by this. One need not descend to the banality of “can’t predict ball” sloganeering to understand the situation. The name of this column was inspired by Bill James‘ phrase “measuring the fog,” which he coined in the context of discussing the task of sabermetrics. That is, the job of sabermetrics (“the search for objective knowledge about baseball”) is not just to figure out what we know about baseball, but to delineate what we do not know: “the fog.”

So I am accustomed to being wrong, even if admitting it is not necessarily fun. I pay a lot of attention to projections (and make no apologies for doing so) while keeping in mind that they are more reliable than personal intuition as a whole, on an individual level they will still miss a fair bit. Those who produce respected projections understand this, and those who use them should, too. If a player does much better or worse than he is projected to do, whether by a respected projection or by my own projection or analysis, it is not big deal. Win some, lose some. Sometimes, I go out of my way to praise or mock a player, and he does pretty much the opposite. Sometimes it is predictable, sometimes it is not. But some of them just sting.

If I wrote a post for everything I was wrong about prior to the season, I would never post anything else. For today, I will just take three cases in which things went very differently than I thought they would, three players that I (somewhat publicly, in two cases) singled out prior to the season as likely to be very good or bad, and have gone the other way, making me look, well, just like any other fallible human being. Or an idiot, depending on hour perspective.

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