Last week I alluded to the thought that these Rockies reminded me quite a bit of the 1993 expansion squad. The first and most obvious parallel is that both teams were/are terrible, having the worst two records in franchise history through this point in the season. But beyond that, I'm seeing some other interesting things.
Through 114 games, the expansion team was 40-74. After a 13 game losing streak (something 2012 thankfully hasn't endured) pushed them to 38 games below .500 (36-74), the team started putting it together, winning 6 in a row and finishing with an amazing 31-21 kick. This recent stretch for the 2012 team could very well signal a similar decent finish. Last night's win not only clinched Colorado's first home series win since June 1st - 3rd, it represented the first time since early June in which Colorado had a winning record over an 8 game stretch.
Outside of these points, the 1993 Rockies used 25 pitchers and 21 position players. The 2012 Rockies have used 25 pitchers and 20 position players. The 1993 Rockies had Eric Young. The 2012 Rockies have Eric Young. Outside of Armando Reynoso, the 1993 squad didn't have any pitcher break 100 innings pitched (though 2 relievers who started part-time did). The 2012 team might have Jeff Francis, Alex White, or a reliever break the mark. Both teams had a pitcher who was 49 in 2012 pitch during the season. Okay, so Gary Wayne was 30 at the time, but still. Jamie Moyer is old.
Here's the icing on the cake for me: in 1993, the pitching staff had an ERA+ of 88, ERA of 5.41, and WHIP of 1.59. The much maligned 2012 staff's numbers are eerily similar: ERA+ is 87, ERA is 5.45, WHIP is 1.56.
The 1993 team's batting line was .273/.323/.422 -- and 2012's batting line is .271/.330/.441. Fortunately, this year's team is better when adjusting for park, putting up a 94 OPS+ vs. 1993's 87. Then again, the single year park factors were pretty similar (both at 120 for hitters).
I'm sure that if you look at the 2012 BR page and the 1993 BR page like I did for a while, you'll find many other parallels. Here's my question though -- does it seem to you that the future of this year's team is any brighter than that team's was (if you didn't know what was going to happen after 1993)?
In terms of young position players entering their prime, 1993 had 7 out of 8 position players with the most plate appearances in their 20s vs. 5 for 2012. Then again, 2012 has two superstar level players in Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, so we'll give the edge to 2012 going forward.
You might not remember this (I didn't), but 3 members of the 1993 rotation were just 24 at the time (and all 5 starters with the most innings were in their 20s). None of them turned out well, but there's no guarantee that any of the 2012 young guns will do so either.
In all, 15 pitchers started a game for the expansion team while 13 have started for the 2012 team. This year's team has Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa to look forward to next year, but I will say that Reynoso was really good in 1993, David Nied showed a lot of promise, and several of the bullpen pieces were excellent. The presence of Drew Pomeranz et al give this year's team the edge, but only barely.
However, the general excitement surrounding real major league baseball being played in Denver would have had me much more excited about the 1993 team's chances in the near future than the 2012 team. What do you think?
Tyler Chatwood is suddenly looking like a keeper with his second straight strong performance, improving his stats as a starter this year to 2-1 with a 1.26 ERA...and a 4.42 FIP. That's still better than pretty much any of the other Colorado starters.
Finally, this was from a little while ago but in case you haven't read it, this is a hilarious scenario in which a baseball is pitched at 90% of the speed of light. Long story short, the batter is awarded 1st base.