Tuesday Rockpile: Rockies Need Road Weapons

Where does he fit? - Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Much has been made this offseason about the necessity of winning back the home field advantage at Coors Field, deservedly so. No successful Rockies team in the past crafted their success without dominance at 20th and Blake. Less has been made about a potentially bigger issue - performance on the road.

These issues are very difficult to separate for any team, but particularly for the Rockies. Colorado spends 3-12 games at the unique environment in LoDo, then play their game of inches in a completely different physical environment for an roughly equal amount of time. The rapid adjustment is something Colorado hitters have failed to conquer for decades, so it should not be surprising that most Rockies rank poorly in Bill Petti's batter volatility ratings from yesterday.

From day to day, Rockies hitters are very inconsistent. Carlos Gonzalez was roughly average, Jordan Pacheco was the 25th most consistent, and Tyler Colvin was the 11th least consistent. Only Gonzalez and Pacheco (among qualified hitters) came up on the positive side of the ledger. This partially captures the difficulty of going from Coors Field to the road, where Colorado was particularly bad on offense in 2012.

2012 Rockies on the road
Runs Average wRC+ HR K BB OBP BABIP
272 .241 64 66 667 191 .291 .292
t-Last 26th Last 28th 24th Last 28th 17th

The only area where Colorado was respectable was BABIP, which actually makes the rest of their offensive numbers look worse. And yes, the entire team had a worse on base percentage than BABIP. They had no punch, no made little contact and rarely took a free pass.

The whole "dominating at home and playing .500 on the road breeds a winner" canard still requires winning on the road half the time. While capturing magic at Coors Field would be a plus, there will still be 81 games on the road that Dante Bichette needs to prep his hitters for. Or maybe they should use players whose approach is clipped the least by the transition from Coors to the road. Jordan Pacheco comes to mind, but while Pacheco scored well in Petti's volatility rating, it wasn't due to consistency between home and road: Pacheco had a 125 home wRC+ and a 63 road wRC+.

I present the only hitter (other than Troy Tulowitzki) who was above league average for the Rockies on the road last season:

Avg OBP SLG wRC+ BABIP HR SB CS
Home .323 .380 .465 119 .380 2 7 1
Road .307 .373 .427 109 .350 2 7 1

Now, if only the Rockies can figure out how to use him.

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Links

Baseball Prospectus | Western Front: An Almost Defense of Kevin Towers - Geoff Young has been a Padres fan for decades, which means he witnessed a lot of Kevin Towers. Young does not so much defend the Bauer trade at all - he simply recounts certain trades of Padres past that had him livid....only to see the Padres come out on the better end.

Baseball Prospectus | Scouting the Draft: College Left-Handed Pitchers - Sean Manaea, Boras client and likely top ten pick, is one of five profiled here (subscription required).

The Art Of The Knuckleball - sportsnet.ca - Alan Nathan, professor emeritus of physics (and @pobguy), talks about the knuckler in light of the final consummation of the Dickey trade.

Remember this ridiculous video from last year? That hero of Rockies lore appealed his suspension, citing his Constitutional rights were violated, and won.

Aneury Rodriguez signs in Korea - the last time the Rockies acquired a starting pitcher from a different team and came out looking brilliant was almost four years ago, right before the 2009 season. That was when Dan O'Dowd took Jason Hammel from Tampa Bay in exchange for AA pitcher Aneury Rodriguez, who has now pitched through the minors, gone to Houston in Rule 5, and is now out of the league. He will pitch for the Samsung Lions.

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