Friday Rockpile: Razing Arizona

Tonight the Rockies begin their final series of NL West play until after interleague play is completed at the end of the month. This will be their first visit to Arizona this season, and their third series against the Diamondbacks so far this year, the previous one having been the first sweep of the year for the Rockies early last week. With the Rockies having gone 6 of 9 over the past three series against the division, Arizona has been razed to the ground for the time being, sitting now tied with the Houston Astros for the worst record in the league. Dontrelle Willis better be a master carpenter. Of course, I doubt anyone expects him to be any sort of fix for the team, and I don't fault them for making the move. I just assume they're thinking forward here and hoping they can use the rest of this year to turn help him around. Willis is scheduled to make his Diamondbacks debut against the Rockies tomorrow, the 5th.

The news on the Rockies is a little slow today, after coming off of an off day (now officially tabbed "Crestfallen Days"), and also because everyone in the media is more interested in opining about Jim Joyce's tragic thievery of Detroit Tigers stater Armando Galarraga's perfect game on Wednesday. A quick look at the Denver Post Rockies homepage shows more storied about this issue than about the Rockies (though that may have changed by the time this article is posted).

I'll touch around some links on that fiasco after the jump, but first, the Rockies news.

Steve Foster at Inside the Rockies informed us Wednesday that Huston Street will be headed to the Sky Sox today to begin his second attempt at rehabbing. Manuel Corpas has been an adequate replacement so far in the 9th inning role, but we all miss Street. Once Street is ready to return, the bullpen is going to start looking a lot different.

MLB.com's Thomas Harding takes a look in summation of some of the Rockies recent draft choices. The First-Year Player (Rule 4) Draft is taking place next week, Monday-Wednesday. Though the article doesn't suggest any likely pick for the Rockies organization, he does offer this intriguing quote on drafting philosophy.

"We're taking the best player available. It's not anything any more complicated than that. We have holes, but if you go into the Draft trying to fill those holes, then you're trying to predict what's going to happen four or five years down the road. None of us are that good. So many things change. We've learned a lot of lessons over the years, and that's one of them." - Dan O'Dowd.

Some of us believe it would be advantageous to consider drafting a position player this year, helping to fill out a couple lower levels with more depth. The Rockies have not selected a position player with their first pick since 2005, when Troy Tulowitzki was taken. The Rockies did select outfielder Tim Wheeler in the first round last season, but Tyler Matzek was their first overall. This quote suggests that we shouldn't be jumping to any conclusions here, and we may be in line for another pitching prospect in Round 1. The Rockies have to wait until pick #26 to make a selection this year. They also have pick #47 in the unusually full supplemental round, compensation for losing Jason Marquis.

As far as I know, PR will probably have a Draft thread like last season for live discussion of the event. Here's a full draft order of the first three rounds, thanks to My MLB Draft.

Transactions notes and umpire insanity after the jump.

This week in minor league transactions from Baseball America's Matt Eddy, no real surprises. It's hard to believe any of our regular readers missed the signing of Kazuo Matsui or the release of Paul Lo Duca. Also, in case you missed it, Shane Lindsay was claimed off waivers for the second time in as many weeks, this time by the Cleveland Indians. As has already been pointed out by several, Cleveland represents a more likely opportunity for Lindsay to make the majors than do the Rockies or Yankees.

Beyond the Boxscore put up a very interesting article on umpire bias Wednesday. Author Jeff Zimmerman highlights some of the differences between various umpires in certain situations, with an emphasis on the differences between lefty and righty batters. Just the other day I was talking with someone about how it seemed left handed batters ad a couple more inches on the outside part of the zone than the righties do, and these graphs seem to support that observation. A good read.

Speaking of umpires, the Joyce/Galarraga imperfect perfect game scenario has divided the community in half, especially now that Bud Selig has agreed to uphold Joyce's original erroneous safe call with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Denver Post writer Patrick Saunders would have preferred Selig gave Galarraga the perfect game, and provides a lengthy argument in favor of such a decision. Saunders' Post comrade Troy Renck disagrees via Twitter.

"Selig made right decision not to overturn call. It sets terrible precedent for past and future blown calls. But should lead to more replay" - Troy Renck

Saunders argues that this particular situations would be different than, say, asking to overturn something like the Matt Holliday call in Game 163 of 2007, since there were no irreversible consequences to doing so (well, except a few ticks off of Jason Donald's batting average). I am, however, inclined to agree with Renck here. The precedent scares me, and I probably would have made the same call in Selig's shoes. This argument got heated between Rowbots yesterday morning, so to ensure a positive transition out of the Rockpile text and into the comments section, I leave you with the video of Jim Joyce meeting with Armando Galarraga at the mound before Thursday's game. It should make everyone feel a lot better about the situation.

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