You should love him more.
With a full team effort win last night against the scorching Dodgers, led by Juan Nicasio, the Rockies secured an 11-11 April, good for .500. Not great, not bad. Truly, the team performed about as expected. The starting pitching was very inconsistent. The bullpen was fantastic but crumbled a bit late from assuming a large inning load. The offense was inconsistent but overall a definite plus. Third base has been a rotation of slop.
So while there are glaring weaknesses in the rotation, it has been a decent April. In fact, only six Rockies teams ever have performed better by May 1, and one of those teams played just five games. Due to weather and a heavy road schedule, the Rockies never fare well in April. Series losses to the Pirates, Mets and Astros do sour the mediocre record, as does the BRef strength of schedule ranking the Rockies 14th in the NL. At this point, 11-11 is acceptable, especially when the track records of the teams in 2011, 2009 and 2007 are considered.
Todd Helton - All Star?
Todd Helton has not made an All-Star team since 2005. For some, that is all they need to know to label him a failure. It would be a nice story for him to secure an All-Star spot this season, and he has a legitimate chance. Helton ranks 3rd in fWAR among NL first-basemen, behind Adam LaRoche and Joey Votto. This is despite having the third worst BABIP on the list, besting only Ike Davis and James Loney. Mass exodus of big name first basemen or not, Helton is on pace to legitimately deserve an All-Star selection at 38 years old.
This is a big deal. That's not an age that makes All-Stars anymore. 38yo Bobby Abreu was released. 38yo Jim Thome was a 1.0 fWAR player in 2009, a level Helton is poised to surpass by June. 37yo Vladimir Guerrero, 38 yo Miguel Tejada and 38yo Magglio Ordonez are unemployed. Last year, Mike Cameron had an awful season at age 38 before retiring. However much you are appreciating Todd Helton, you ought to be appreciating him much, much more. Not only is he performing like a buy low fantasy candidate at age 38, he's performing like a legitimate All-Star.
More Rockies Links
Rockies Mailbag: Is pitching help coming to Colorado? - The Denver Post Troy Renck answered questions this time, and I give him credit for defending Dexter Fowler as a top-of-the-lineup bat.
Herrera makes good as third option at third - The Denver Post Herrera actually has a BABIP only 8 points above his career line. So his .296 average is mostly legitimate. His 112 wRC+ so far is buoyed by two extra base hits in 8 hits, plus getting on base three times without getting a hit or walk. In 30 plate appearances, he has reached via two HBP and one catcher's interference. Those events are solely responsible for pushing his OBP from .296 to .345. Of course, whoever plays third is really just a placeholder.
Live Player Stats! | FanGraphs Baseball ESPN has had this, sort of, for a while. But starting last night, you can go to player pages on Fangraphs and see a separate box of statistics for their current running game, along with a season stat line including the current game. In the past, we had to wait until the wee hours of the morning for stat line updates.
Orioles: Demotion to Rockies bullpen helped Jason Hammel fine-tune focus - Baltimore Sun - Jason Hammel allowed a two run home run to Eric Chavez last night. Between he and the Oriole bullpen, Baltimore held the Yankees to 2 runs on 5 hits at Yankee Stadium last night. New York won. Hammel is doing well, and he claims his issue in the past was....wait for it....lack of focus.
"Basically, it was a change of focus while I was on the mound," Hammel said. "I worked on it when I was down in the 'pen on my [side sessions], just focusing on the glove. Before, I was kind of seeing too much, which was kind of making me think about too much. I was seeing the hitter in there, the umpire, looking at the catcher. I really did some drills just to focus on seeing only the glove.
"That's the only thing I really needed to work on. That was my cue on what to do. If I was starting to think about, 'Oh, if I make this mistake, what is the hitter going to do with it?' Instead, it's like, 'Here's the glove, here's the pitch I'm throwing. Execute it.' I was thinking about too many what-ifs."
Outman set for another rehab outing | ColoradoRockies.com: News - Josh Outman pitched a clean inning for Colorado Springs last night, throwing 12 pitches, 7 for strikes.
Baseball America | Blog | Baseball America Prospects Blog | Edwar Cabrera Continues Doing His Thing In Double-A Edwar Cabrera is getting write-ups at Baseball America now. He also made the list of top pitching performances over the weekend.
Baseball Prospectus | Prospectus Hit and Run: The Hate List, Part II Jay Jaffe has a rather strange project going at Baseball Prospectus, where he goes s few teams at a time and lists all the things he hates about that organization. Sounds helpful, right? For the Rockies, he hates purple, home runs, and of course, Jim Tracy (he's a Dodgers fan).