2011 Rockies Player Reviews: Huston Street

Fair or not, when I conjure up an image of Huston Street, I don't think of him saving a game for the Rockies, which he did 84 times (3rd in franchise history) in the three seasons he was with the team, only blowing 11 (88 save %). I don't think of him striking someone out, though he struck out a little more than a batter an inning with Colorado (170 Ks in167.2).

No, when the name Huston Street is mentioned, I think about him giving up a game tying double to Ryan Howard in the 2009 playoffs when Jim Tracy should have gone to the bullpen and gotten Joe Beimel. I think of him giving up a home run, which he did at a rate (1.54 HR/9 innings) that was the 4th highest for a reliever in the majors in 2011. In other words, my visions of Street are of failure.

I don't know why it is I have mostly negative memories of Street's tenure with the Rockies. After all, Street was a good relief pitcher for Colorado who by most accounts pitched very well in high leverage situations. Maybe it's because a higher salary (at $7.3 million in 2011, Street was the 4th highest paid player on the team and was paid roughly twice as much as the next highest reliever) created expectations of a player more valuable than Street was capable of being given that he only threw 58.1 innings in 2011.

But that's the way things go with closers. Street had the problem of getting paid more than I thought he was worth at the same time of not fitting my mental image of what a dominant closer should look like. I mean, he's short, he looks like a model, his stuff is low 90s, and he's not intimidating (unless you count being intimidated by his wondrous visage). He was getting paid twice as much as a superior reliever (Rafael Betancourt) to come in for one inning and get three outs. For his time in Colorado, Street received $20 million (including $1 million for 2012) and produced 3.4 rWAR in 167.2 IP.

There I go again, getting negative. I'm sorry guys -- Street was an above average reliever for Colorado, but there's a reason that his trade return ended up being salary relief and a pitching prospect from a division rival that was passed over in the Rule 5 Draft (Nick Schmidt). Rating and 2012 past the fold.

Rating: Since we've been asked to rate based upon performance relative to peers, I'd give Street a C+ for 2011. He accrued only 1 rWAR in a relief role, gave up a bunch of homers and lost his closing job -- but he did pitch pretty well for Colorado in 2011 on a rate basis (91 FIP-, 6.11 K/BB). I just wish that he had pitched more innings for us.

2012: For better or worse, Street is San Diego's problem now. His flyball tendencies should be neutralized somewhat in Petco, so I would expect a good season for Street in a contract year. Hopefully he isn't the piece that pushes them into the playoffs (or us out).

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