Thursday Morning Rockpile:

Omar Quintanilla seems the most likely to stay at the MLB level  when Tulo and Barmes return later this week, that would mean Ian Stewart and Doug Bernier would get optioned back to Colorado Springs. Stewart's shown power, but some pretty glaring inconsistencies in his contact abilities, while Bernier is a great story, but not a great fit at the MLB level for a team with competitive aspirations. Quintanilla lacks Stewart's offensive upside, but would provide more defensive versatility, which could be important if Tulowitzki struggles at the plate like he had been in April. Quintanilla and Jeff Baker on the bench have been huge assets in June, a big part of why we won last night and have won five straight series.

 

Baker's hot streak certainly has some strong elements of good luck involved, his underlying stats (K%, BB%, GB/FB/LD rates) are almost exactly what they were in April when he hit .194 with a .478 OPS. That said, it's clear now that there was also certainly some considerable bad luck involved with what he did then. The one major difference between now and then is the re-emergence of power in his contact. Baker's ISO in April was an anemic .064, while in June it's at .433. The warmer weather is probably helping, but it's very odd to see such a dramatic spike like that and it's most certainly unsustainable at this rate, as is his .474 BABIP. While the power is not likely to drop back to his April levels, we should enjoy this new found authority while it lasts. Once he levels off we'll probably have a clearer picture of his true talent level, which is somewhere between the Bruce Banner of April and the green hulking giant he is today. I really don't know if I buy that this is a result or proof of his value with regular playing time, or just the same type of swing to great promise we've seen him get into at various points throughout his professional and collegiate career before an inevitable fall back to normalcy -playing time or no playing time.


Speaking of luck, I didwatch the replay of the Rockies game this morning, and I'm still worried about Jeff Francis, but I'm glad we're catching more breaks in his starts than we seem to when he starts against the D-backs. He still just isn't looking sharp at the beginning, and it's taking time for him to consistently spot his pitches where his catcher sets up. Hopefully the confidence that comes with good results helps him improve in this area next time out.

 

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