Thursday Rockpile: Rockies winning, but is it sustainable?

The Rockies two biggest contributors of late celebrate after yesterday's walk-off win. Two other players are crashing the party.

The Rockies have been allowing runs at a faster clip in August than in any previous month. While the team's been lucky in the distribution of those runs, and while the overall poor showing might be masking some individual improvement, with a 6.16 team ERA for the month, it's easy to say that it hasn't been the pitching that's been fueling this renaissance. So if it's not the pitching that's been driving the Rockies back to mediocrity in August, then it's been the offense? Well, yes, and that offense has been coming from some pretty unlikely sources. To summarize the chart:

Wilin Rosario has been patient and prodigious...

Eric Young Jr. hasn't had to add much to his line on the basepaths...

DJ LeMahieu has been what everybody thinks Jordan Pacheco could be...

Jordan Pacheco, well, actually he's been what everybody thinks he could be lately too...

Tyler Colvin, slugging hero

Chris Nelson, yeah, he's contributing too...

The Rockies have also seen some help from pitchers, but if anything, everybody else on the team has been mediocre to disappointing lately at the plate. That six-pack above, however, has been pulling the weight of the team's sweep of Milwaukee and the .500 road trip against NL West front-runners Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Now, as to whether the run is sustainable in its current form, in a word, the answer is "no". Put simply, there's no way that Young, LeMahieu, Pacheco, Colvin or Nelson can continue to perform as they have month to date, as their BABIP's for August are all higher than any regular Rockies player in franchise history has had for their career. Players like Josh Rutledge and Carlos Gonzalez should rebound from current BABIP lows (Cargo has already over the last two days) but the overall regression for this offense as currently constructed points downward. That said, I don't know if we should rule out that any of the above overachievers save Nelson can continue to be above league average offensive players going forward, even after their BABIP's stabilize.

The player who has been most intriguing to me of late would be Rosario. Rosario has drawn as many walks in August as he had in April through June combined, and has not lost any of his power while bumping up his average to boot. This without seeing any sort of spike in the BABIP, making his value surge seem more "real" in comparison to the other five players producing in August. For the month, he's become a Mike Napoli/Mike Piazza level force at the plate, and it's simultaneously making him valuable enough to keep at catcher despite his defensive deficiencies, and good enough offensively to move to first base if need be. If his patience continues to develop, Rosario will certainly be worth keeping for a long time for the Rockies.

With Troy Tulowitzki coming back in early September, the Rockies may have a difficult decision to make for second base. Josh Rutledge appears to be the long term answer, but LeMahieu's been making a case for more playing time both with his bat and his glove. Rutledge, meanwhile, has been solid offensively in Tulo's stead, but shaky on defense. Will a move to second give him enough of a defensive bump to push DJLM back out of the picture, or will we see more of a traditional September rookie split between the two?

Guillermo Moscoso was recalled from Colorado Springs yesterday, and his start against the Brewers recalled much of the rest of his season. In better times, the trade of Seth Smith for Moscoso and Josh Outman could very well have been the worst outcome of an off-season's preparations, but the two pitchers can thank Jeremy Guthrie for not having to bear the full weight of our crushed hopes as fans. At least the Ian Stewart trade continues to pay off.

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